Few beer-focused restaurants have come as far as Yard House while sticking to their guns all the while. In fact, it’s easy to argue that Yard House has been leading the charge in beverage innovation for the industry at large. Led by Beverage Director, Kip Snider, Yard House takes in more than $110,000,000 in beverage sales from 42 restaurant locations, only two of the reasons for the chain winning the 2013 VIBE Vista Award.
Collectively, Yard House manages more than 800 brands and 5,000 rotating handles across the country. While beer is the hook for Yard House, chain execs remember what all those brewpubs learned at the turn of the century: beer brings them in; food keeps them in the seats.
At the heart of every Yard House is a center island bar showcasing a seemingly countless array of tap handles featuring imported, craft and specialty ales and lagers. Each Yard House location features between 100 and 250 handles, with the chain’s model at 130 handles and 110 brands. Yard House is known for its unique beer system featuring a glass-enclosed keg room that stores as much as 5,000 gallons of beer at a time. The beer is transported from this location through a web of overhead steel and nylon tubing. Maintained at a constant temperature of 34-36 degrees, the keg room keeps the beer consistently fresh and chilled. A team of draft specialists manages the customized system for storing and dispensing.
The beer menu typically lists more than 110 selections depending on the location and accounts for 25 percent of total sales at Yard House. With such a varied beer portfolio, each region has its own unique beer selection with brands of every style including handles dedicated to locally brewed beers. To keep even the most eclectic beer lovers enticed, Yard House keeps the beer selection current by conducting company-wide beer reviews twice annually, and has rolled out the Chalkboard Series. A digital chalkboard is prominently displayed at the center island bar and features a selection of limited-edition seasonal and regional beer offerings, mostly from craft brewers, allowing for frequent rotation and small batch releases that keep the selection fresh. Five unique draft offerings rotate every month and large format bottle selections rotate every three months.
In addition to the diverse beer selection, Yard House smartly features various size options; guests can sip the draft beer of their choice from the half yard, traditional pint, goblet, shorty or six-pack samplers, a sort of flight program – Belgian-brewed beers, for instance – or customizable by guests. A savvy way to introduce new beers and allow customers to sample many of the brews the chain works so hard to keep current.