How Craft Beer Makes Pizzerias Profitable

by Bryce Patterson

Craft beer is in the middle of a renaissance right now, with over 7,300 craft breweries currently operating in the US in 2018. And it’s not surprising. From IPAs to lagers, brown ales, pilsners, porters, and stouts, craft beer opens up an enormous range of flavors and different experiences.

 

The industry is resilient too- even when overall beer sales dropped by .8% in 2018, craft beer saw a growth of nearly 4%. So as craft brew approaches a quarter of the overall market share for beer, it’s a great time to think about the ways that bringing craft brews to your pizzeria can drive sales and help your business stand out from the crowd.

 

Let’s talk about some of the ways that craft beer can make a pizzeria profitable and dig into best practices for getting the most bang for your buck.

 

Craft Beer Brings in a Younger Crowd

Why should you target a younger crowd, you ask? Millennial and Gen Z customers are more likely to attend events, and generally go out to eat and drink more regularly. On average, millennial beer drinkers spend between $50 and $66 per month on beer and more than half drink a beer at least once a week. In a nutshell, convincing these younger customers to check your pizzeria out can be a huge revenue driver.

 

So why does craft beer impact these customers in particular? We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: millennials and Gen Zs are all about unique experiences.

 

Craft brews offer a much broader range of flavors and styles than traditional market-leaders like Budweiser and Pabst Blue Ribbon. New taps, guest brews, seasonal options, and more are great ways to encourage interest in this customer base and drive more sales.

 

Draw in this younger set of patrons by using technology to your advantage. A digital menu makes it easy to showcase the different beers you offer, and you can quickly make updates when you run out of specific items. Adding new seasonal options and limited time offers is a snap, but the same process can be a nightmare with print menus alone.

 

And you don’t have to stop there. Try recommending specific food-drink pairings from your menu, complete with high-res images to really drive the point home.

 

Craft Beer Has a Higher Price Point

While younger patrons are particularly experience-based, consumers as a whole are willing to pay more for unique flavors and experiences. Three-quarters of American drinkers will pay extra for their favorite craft beers.

 

While not every customer will go for the pricier options, craft beers can easily run $10 a pop depending on a range of factors. ABV, the length of the aging process, specific ingredients, and more can impact the overall cost of a beer.

 

Thing is, offering some craft options doesn’t mean you have to lose any of your existing beers. Instead, craft beers can be a great way to provide a broader price range for different customers. By introducing some craft options, your pizzeria can cater to both patrons looking for a cheap bite and a drink after work, and high-rollers celebrating a special occasion.

 

Of course, you can showcase more than just craft beer. Cider, wines, cocktails, and non-alcoholic options are all on the table as well. 

 

Pro-tip: use your craft options as an upsell. Consider offering a slightly pricier upgrade to your meal deal that switches out a beer from a major manufacturer for a craft option.

 

Craft Beer Ties Your Pizzeria Into the Community

Craft beer consumers care a lot about the story behind the brew. They want to know where their beer comes from, how it’s made, and are really excited to support smaller, local businesses.

 

Keep in mind that the beer you serve is only part of a broader branding conversation. Launching some new beer options can be a great time to bring other aspects of your brand to the forefront.

 

Here are some questions to help you dig into your messaging:

  • What was the inspiration behind your specific pizzeria? 
  • How long has your business been a part of the local community?
  • Are there processes you can showcase on a screen (i.e. making your killer sauce or tossing your fresh-made dough)?
  • Does your restaurant have eco-friendly or sustainability practices in place?
  • Do you use local ingredients or work with other local vendors?

 

Your customers will love the new options, but the connections you can build with local breweries can be great in other ways as well. Working with smaller brewers provides great opportunities for partnerships. Look into ways to do cross-promotion with the brewers you source from so you can grow together.

 

Overall, you’re building a better small business climate focused around your local area- something your patrons and your bottom line can both appreciate.

 

Ready to take the plunge? Craft beers require a little more from your restaurant in terms of messaging. Keep your menus current and flexible by going digital. Evergreen is simple to use and makes it easy to update your digital menu boards, website, Facebook, and print menus all from a single dashboard. Learn more here.

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