Are Food Trucks Your Brewery’s Best Option?

Some grub to go with your suds seems to be a staple. First it was the brewpub model. But now, as one grizzled vet of the brewing industry described it to me: you can buy a warehouse, stick some equipment in it, have some tables and food trucks and you are all set now. That’s all they (meaning consumers … most of the Millennial variety) desire.

And for many breweries, the food business is not something they want to get into. So food trucks can save the day. For others, the brewpub model still works. Others like to be a restaurant with a brewing license. In craft beer, all are welcomed.

For Missoula, Montana’s KettleHouse Brewing, the trucks are out at the brewery every Wednesday through Sunday in the summer for about three hours.

“[We] love the food trucks,” said co-founder Suzy Rizza, who has developed a relationship with ‘Wally & Buck,’ a burger truck. “We don’t want to get into food.

KettleHouse Outside 800x300

“We are committed to each other,” she added about the 14,500-barrel facility’s relationship with the food truck. “They have a good stream of business from our brewery customers and our customers love their burgers.”

Champion Brewing in Charlottesville, Virginia just flipped the script, opening a kitchen recently after having food trucks on site five days a week since opening in 2012.

“We opened a kitchen to offer on-site comfort food and consistency, removing the need to scramble and make sure we have food trucks booked,” said Hunter Smith, the brewery’s president and head brewer.

Smith said nearly five years ago when the brewery opened, there were only four or five food trucks in the community, so it was a struggle to get them scheduled.

“Now, there’s quite a variety but we’ve learned what our customer base wants most,” Smith said. “The ceiling price point for a food truck entrée is $10. More than that, and our customer is going to leave and go have dinner somewhere else.

“We know people want to eat a little something after a couple of beers, and we want them to be safe and stick around, so it just made sense to begin offering food on site.”

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