Elevating the Food & Beer Experience
The Anheuser-Busch brewmaster and Grant MacPherson, principal of and chef for Scotch Myst, want you to elevate the food and beer experience. To help you achieve this goal they presented the four prongs of selling beer: the story, the name, the glass, and the food. Let’s take a look at these prongs more closely.
The story of the beer refers not to the brand but the style. American Lager, Pilsner, Belgian Ale, Kölsch, Bock, Porter… Every style of beer has its own unique history, color (or color range), aromas, flavors, and other characteristics. You can leverage the history and characteristics of each style to entice and impress guests, create innovative food pairings, and make beer as sexy as wine and cocktails.
Every beer style has a history, just like every brewer has a story to tell. Using Stella Artois as an example, you can wow your guests and lure them in by telling these stories. “Stella” is the Latin word for “star” and Artois is a reference to the brand’s brewmaster. The brand’s heritage can be traced all the way back to 1366, and it got its start as a brewing and hunting pub called Brewery de Hoorn. It’s the number one selling Belgian beer in the world. Now, that’s a lot more intriguing than just saying it’s a Belgian lager. Get to know the stories behind the brands you sell to sell them better.
Glassware, as George and Grant stated, sets the stage. It should engage the senses and have great eye appeal, and the proper glassware should fit in the hand, have correct thickness, and allow the aroma to reach the nose. Take beer style, drinking occasion, and your setting into account when choosing your beer glassware. You also need to understand that the shape and size of the glass impacts the beer's taste and aroma. Because the glass is the vessel that delivers the fresh brew to the drinker, the glass choice is second only to the beer choice. Some common glass styles are pub, tumbler, Weiss and chalice.
Set the stage correctly and elevate the experience (and your guests’ enjoyment) by rinsing the glass right before it goes out to the table; you'll sell more beer. George and Grant believe that when a guest says they don't like a beer, it's very likely there's sanitizer in the glass. To avoid disappointed guests, don’t freeze a glass after cleaning it if you have heavily chlorinated water or you’ll freeze the chlorine and serve that along with the beer.
Food and beer go together. It’s a natural combination, in large part because beer is natural: it’s made up of barley, hops, water and yeast. Just like there are many styles of cuisine, there are hundreds of types of beers to complement food. Consider that there are more than 60 styles of ale and over 30 styles of lager. Beer is acts as a bridge, an accent, and as a form of contrast. Clean and crisp beer pairs well with sweet foods, sweet beer with rich foods, rich beer goes with tart and acidic food, and hoppy and spicy beer goes well with spicy/hot food and charred/smoky food.
To pair your food and beer, consider using beer in your kitchen: making Balsamic vinegar, steaming vegetables, marinating meat, poultry and fish for barbecuing, and even cooking pasta (of course, you’ll want to simmer the beer until the carbonation is gone before boiling it). Beer makes a fantastic recipe ingredient, unique seasoning, wet rub, basting liquid, and reduction. Keep in mind that cooking with beer requires an understanding of the beer’s appearance, aroma, and taste, knowledge of the beer’s ingredients and how it was made, and the ability to predict how the flavor of the beer will impact the food item.
As you can see, committing to the four prongs of beer selling can boost your beer and food sales while elevating your guest experience. It simply takes research, experimentation, planning and execution. For tips on gaining menu feature and creating beer flights to pique guest interest, see the slides below. Be sure to save the date now for the 2017 Nightclub & Bar Show in Las Vegas to learn more about beer, pairings, and menu development.