Are ‘Beertails’ a Good Way to Introduce Your Brands to Consumers?

Most of the time, your typical consumer walking into your taproom is there for the beer. But those typical consumers do bring friends along and catering to their drink choices can open up a new avenue for growth. Some breweries look to bridge that gap by creating in-house drinks that also use their own products, hence you see more and more ‘beertails’ on menus for breweries that have a full liquor license.

​”Our guests are growing more and more curious and adventurous, and we are racing to keep up with them,” said members from New Glory Craft Brewery. The Sacramento brewery pointed out that beer-based cocktails are on the rise with new ideas and twists.

“The classic beer drinks of a black and tan, a Red Beer, and beermosas are still popular choices but we are now extending our menu to include beer slushies, beer floats, and house-made micheladas and radlers.”

​In Kentucky, Abettor Brewing started making ​beertails because ​Taproom GM, John Howard, said they wanted to offer the full gamut of drink options.

​”​While we are a brewery and beer comes first, we are still a business and want to offer options to our guests, even the ones who don’t like beer,​” he said.​ “If we could integrate our products across all menus​,​ then why wouldn’t we? We like having a diverse range of products.

​”​Plus, if someone likes a beer cocktail then maybe we’ll convert them to drinking that beer! Not only are we expanding people’s horizons we would be creating a talking point among our guests that our options are both diverse and delicious, possibly bringing in their friends who may have been previously hesitant to check out a brewery, especially in a small rural town like Winchester​.”​

Ivanhoe Park Brewing does​n’t actually use spirits, but one of ​the Florida brewery’s more popular beer concoctions is using ​its Guavacation Berliner Weisse with Raspberry and Guaca and a topper for mimosas.

​”​We offer a split of prosecco and a can of Guavacation and they mix perfectly to give a nice brunch flavor profile that has been very popular​,” ​said co-founder Glenn Closson.

Since moving to ​a new 10,000 sq/ft, 10​-​bbl location ​Howard said they have just been focusing on beer​, but they do offer traditional cocktails via a full bar ​with top​-​shelf bourbon options.

​”Previously we had one regular beer cocktail on our everyday cocktail menu and a few that would rotate for special events​,” he said. “We found that people who like beer just drank beer and when curiosity struck, they would try one and go back to beer. Our cocktail drinkers are generally tag-a-longs that came with friends and those guests just drink traditional cocktails.”

Here were some of the favorites, Howard said:

  • ​​We have taken our Raspberry Wheat Shandy and reduced it with fresh raspberries into a simple syrup, pairing it with fresh lime, tonic & a high-quality gin to make a summer patio pounder​,​ Raspberry Gin & Tonic.​
  • ​​Orion’s Belt​ (a NEIPA with Galaxy hops)​ pairs really well with fresh grapefruit juice, gin, and orange blossom honey syrup.​​
  • By far our most popular two cocktails are ​Stout based. In the winter we see a huge increase in both our Coffee Old Fashioned and “The Dude” White Russian. We take one of ​our ​stouts and reduce it with coffee and sugar into a syrup. ​ The Coffee Old Fashioned we pair with spiced cherry bitters, lemon peel, and a quality bourbon. This one is my personal and many patrons’ favorites. In the summer we don’t produce as many ​S​touts, so we lean on a traditional coffee simple syrup which people love just as much. This is the most ordered menu item we have.
  • Using the same syrup we made from our ​Stouts for the Coffee Old Fashioned paired with heavy whipping cream and vodka, shaken vigorously gives you “The Dude​,​” an almost boozy milkshake. We have a variant with ​Chai tea syrup too that is very popular.

​Howard added that they have found a pretty good medium​ in price points​ that fit within ​a budget.

​”We have​,​ in a way​,​ ‘price lined’ all our cocktails​,” he said. “All the cocktails cost the same (unless upgrading to a higher quality liquor of course)​. Using our products as ingredients does lower the cost of the cocktail some but not significantly when you take into account raw material, utilities, labor, etc.​”​

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