Drake’s Showcases the Success of Summer

For taprooms, even with the best indoor and outdoor facilities, the summer months can be arduous in terms of patronage. However, it’s those taprooms and restaurants with unique specials and summer-only brews, that overcome the heat.

Kyle Loudermilk, the managing partner at Drake’s St. Matthews in Louisville, Kentucky, said it’s about connecting with guests that helps them persevere through the summer months. They’ve developed special nights throughout the week that draw different demographics – such as a ladies night on Thursday. But what truly keeps the patronage rolling in is the consistent rotating brews.

One of the most popular movements this spring and summer has been the insurgence of New Belgium Brewing into the state of Kentucky. Loudermilk said, “New Belgium just handles themselves a little differently when they enter into a new market.”

In 2009 Loudermilk witnessed New Belgium’s release in Indiana. “I think they do a really good job marketing their product,” said Loudermilk. “The one thing I remember in Indiana was one of my friends was a huge beer connoisseur, and he loved testing new beers. When he found out New Belgium was going to be distributing he told me and I didn’t even know what New Belgium was. I feel like if someone really markets their beer, I’m more apt to try it because they really back their product.”

Even the name Fat Tire stuck with Loudermilk, but just like a lot of other beers, it quickly becomes old hat. However, he said they seemed to just continually bring in new releases to the area, beginning with Snapshot and Ranger, “then all of a sudden they came out with a session IPA that’s not as hoppy, basically a lighter IPA, which they called Slow Ride,” said Loudermilk. “They use things that are unique. We haven’t seen a major drop off [in Kentucky] of Fat Tire yet, but the fact that they keep coming in and saying how the Fat Tire is selling, they definitely are wanting to promote their product – not even promote, but teach people about their beer.”

Loudermilk said he appreciates the connection that New Belgium is willing to make as that’s the same mission Drake’s looks to make regularly. “We’re all about building relationships with the community, so when we have vendors that want to come in and distribute their product with us, that’s just something I’ll always team up with for sure,” he said.

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