Creating a Proper Price Structure in the Taproom

If you threw a dart at a board full of a wild assortment of craft beers and breweries, Nick Purdy guesses $7 would be the most likely price you’d land on.

“The fact that I’ve got three beers that happened to be very popular all at $6.50? I feel like I’m still in the range of perfectly reasonable,” the co-founder of Wild Heaven Beer in Atlanta recently told Brewer. The brewery has twice had to raise taproom prices since December of 2021 to accommodate raw material price increases along with being more in line with competing bars that were selling the brewery’s beer locally as well.

Creating a price structure is important in the taproom and Wild Heaven has three tiers of prices. It’s not just ABV that sets the price scale, for Purdy, he said the hop bill is a big driver of the overall cost.

“Grain is going to be pretty fungible and it’s reflected in the ABV, but the hops are not,” he said. “So a lower ABV, lower boutique-hopped beer goes in that lower tier.”

English-styled beer, Brown Ales, and such are on the lower tier.

READ MORE: ​How Should You Roll Out a Price Change in the Taproom?

“We have a beer called Emergency Drinking Beer that we’re pretty well known for. That one doesn’t happen to have very expensive hops,” Purdy said. “That’s a flagship, and we’re able to keep in that low tier. Our ATL Easy Ale is the same way. It’s Pale Ale, but the hop bill on that one is not exorbitant, so we’re able to keep it there.”

In the middle tier, Purdy explained, is going to be standard “craft beer.”

“These are going to be your single IPAs, your Saisons,” he said. “We make a Pilsner the proper way, so that takes a lot of time and fairly expensive hops.

“Your good, solid, middle-of-the-road craft beers, 7% Stouts – not your Imperials — American style. So for us right now, that’s a $7.50 pint. An IPA with Galaxy and Citra and all the good hops in it for $7.50. Totally fair, I think.”

For the third tier, Purdy said it’s reserved for anything that came out of wood, is 8% or more, or had some other kind of reason why.

“Maybe the different adjuncts were really special, it just costs more to make,” he said.

For the most part, about 60% of a tap list is going to be that middle tier, probably 30% in the lower tier, and 10% of it’s going to be that higher tier.

For certain beers at that higher ABV level, a “full pour” won’t be a pint and will absolutely be in a goblet with a smaller amount of beer,” Purdy said.

“An 8%, Double IPA? We’re just gonna still throw it in pint and just give you a nice, solid pint glass,” he said. “It’s definitely marked on the menus as full pour. We designate for our front-of-house staff, so they know which ones need to be in stemware versus pints.”

Photo courtesy AdobeStock

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