​Food​ Menu Issues​? Here’s an Idea​

Although Wild Heaven has been fortunate to have strong raw materials and food vendors throughout the pandemic, Executive VP, Sarah Young told Brewer the Georgia brewery has been having a hard time maintaining consistent food specials due to labor issues.

“Ideally we’d be pairing a food special with our weekly beer releases and that has not been a regular thing,” she said. “Our Executive Chef is very creative and ambitious but is limited by a small staff … hiring and retention have been an issue for our kitchen for sure.”

One way that Wild Heaven has been working to solve this issue is by simplifying its protein mix.

“But [we] also added a focus on vegetarian fare, which can stretch into many dishes,” Young said. “One really cool thing we’ve done is started growing our own ‘Maltcap’ oyster mushrooms, propagating them off spent grain from the brewery.

“We’re able to use those in a variety of dishes … tacos, sandwiches, or just on their own.”

The brewpub model allows you to control your own destiny, said Three Creeks owner Wade Underwood.

“Why build a business to sell beer and let someone else make the money on food,” he pondered. “Having our own kitchen has always been critical to our brewpub success. Providing quality, diverse food options expand the appeal of our brewpub to customers beyond the core craft beer audience.”

READ MORE: Insights in Developing a Food-Pairing Menu

Six Bears & A Goat’s philosophy on controlling the food aspect of the brewery has evolved over time, starting by contracting with a vendor and now planning to expand the kitchen this year to help accommodate more than 200 patrons at one time.

Hiring for those multiple added aspects of business can be tough. Coming from a homebrewer background where Faller only focused on the beer, now being a part of the hospitality industry can be a tough switch and understanding that focusing on the front and back of houses are important and can be the toughest aspect.

“It’s the hardest part, the restaurant,” he said. “Those guys in the back, … you get a good head brewer, you don’t have to worry about it.

​”​In the kitchen, there’s always churn and challenges. It’s just part of the business.”

Manley said to treat food as the main event, and not an afterthought.

“Make sure everything on the menu is as good as your beer,” he said. “Make sure you’re as proud of each item as you are of the latest special release tapping, and you’ll do great.“

​Photo courtesy 6 Bears & A Goat​ Brewing

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