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January 27, 2011

You can find us now blogging on our own site.  Change your bookmarks and find us at where you can see all of our new posts and comment on old ones. Thanks and Cheers!


Make The Call

May 15, 2010

So now that we’ve identified the four types of beer consumers, let’s discuss how to cater to them.  Previously, I talked about the correct number of taps you should have. Each of those style line-ups will cater to each type of consumer.

If you only have 4 or less taps, you’ll need some bottled micro products as you don’t have room for a rotating tap.  However, five or more taps, you should have a rotating tap.  Your rotating tap should change monthly.  Every single brewery offers a brand that you can add on as a feature, even the macros have some brands that you could list.  One option is to try and match the style with the season.

  • Wheat beer in the spring
  • Pilsners/lagers in summer
  • Oktoberfests/ambers in the fall
  • Porters and stouts in the winter.

As a bonus, engage your Chef to create a feature dish that pairs well with your rotating tap.  Make sure that the menu item uses no new ingredients (only what you have in-house already) and make sure it has a lower-than-average food cost or a great margin.  Better yet, preferably both.  Get your staff involved.  Ask you Chef to explain to them why it pairs so well.

The rotating tap is completely under-utilized by restaurateurs.  This is an outstanding opportunity to make a point of difference over your competitors, allows some diversity for your regulars and staff, while providing you the opportunity to be creative with new menu items with features and pairings.

If you’re looking for some brewery folks to call to fill in that rotating tap, call anyone from:

If you are a brewery and want to add your contact info in the comments field, please do so.  If you’re not from Ontario and want some suggestions, just email me and I’ll put you on the right path.

You already have the equipment, I’ve given you the how and why, you just need to make the call to the brewery rep to get in some product.  Will you make the call?

The Four Levels of Beer Consumers – The Beer Activist

May 13, 2010

Part four in our series of the four types of beer drinkers, The Beer Activist.

The Activist: Hates, absolutely hates the macro brands.  Calls them “Yellow, fizzy, mass-produced beer that tastes like water”.  They’ll drink water at a bar instead of a macro.  They never miss an opportunity to tell anyone who will listen how the multi-national, mega brewers are destroying the industry with their watery liquid masquerading as beer.  All this despite the fact that brands like Coors Light and Bud Light are the hardest to brew and the best selling beers in the Canada and the US respectively.  This group views beer purely as an art, not a mix of art and business.  They understand the brewing process better than most folks and may have actually dabbled in a bit of home brewing themselves.  They also understand beer and food pairing principles and are willing to share their wealth of knowledge.

This group has the potential to greatly help the entire beer industry as they are known to be beer experts; their friend’s go-to when they have a beer related questions.  In my opinion, this group would be better served embracing big brewer as the macro consumers are the future micro/craft consumers.  If the Activist wants larger micro/craft selection and growth, they’ll need more consumers and these consumers come from macro.

Is your competitor catering to all four of these consumers?  Probably not.  In my next post, find out how you can profit from this.

The Four Levels of Beer Consumers – The Beer Enthusiast

May 11, 2010

Part three in our series, The Beer Enthusiast.

The Beer Enthusiast – Enjoys the occasional macro brand, but it has to be from their premium/craft segment; Rickard’s, Creemore, Keith’s Colour, Moosehead…  At the pub they will order these brands on draught if there are no micros on tap, but prefers something new or different.  Keeps a 6 pack of macro discount/mainstream beer in his fridge for his buddy the Beer Drinker who comes over occasionally, but the rest of the fridge is likely full of a half dozen or so different brands from Canadian and US micros;  Mill Street, Steam Whistle, Anchor, Dogfish Head, and McAuslan.  This group has researched brewing and can tell you the steps in the process, but is still learning to appreciate beer.

This group is the fastest growing segment and everyone knows it.  Big brewers know it because they are developing Transition Brands and buying micros to cater to this segment.  The big brewers are smart, if they’re taking notice, so should you.  I spoke about the rotating tap before in a previous post, this consumer is one of the reasons why.  I’ll cover more of this segment in two posts.  Next post, The Beer Activist.

The Four Levels Of Beer Consumers – The Beer Explorer

May 9, 2010

Part two in our series of the four types of beer drinkers, The Beer Explorer.

The Explorer: Folks who don’t want to drink what their Dad drank.  A former “Beer Drinker”, but in the past few years has experimented with some craft style brands and knows the difference between a Coors Light and a Steam Whistle.  He can’t tell you why or how they are different, but knows that they are.  His friends, who are still “Beer Drinkers”, think he is a beer snob.  After rec hockey he’ll drink a Coors Light, but for the BBQ when the neighbours are coming over, he’ll buy a 12 pack of Coors Light AND a 12 of Steam Whistle or Grasshopper.  They go to the Toronto Festival of Beer, but always end up at the Molson booth.  Again, great for the industry because they introduce Beer Drinkers to Transition Brands; they help expand everyone’s “circle of brands”.

Tough guess on the percentage of the population this segment represents and I believe it varies by region, but just throwing darts, I’ll guess about 40% of consumers fall into this segment.  Just like Beer Drinkers turn into Beer Explorers, Beer Explorers evolve to Beer Enthusiasts who we’ll discuss next.

The Four Levels Of Beer Consumers – The Beer Drinker

May 7, 2010

The first in the series of four different types of beer consumers: The Beer Drinker.

Note: This series will come across as stereotypical.  I’m profiling.  It’s not politically correct, I know. This isn’t a scientific study; it’s just my opinion from spending a lot of time talking beer with different beer consumers.

The Drinker: Drinks whatever he sees the most ads of and drinks whatever is currently on discount.  When he’s at home, he’ll drink value brands (Lucky, Laker, Lakeport, Carling), when he goes out he’ll drink what’s on special (Tallboy’s, house brands, or promotional specials) and he thinks “all beer taste the same”.  They are somewhat brand loyal, but will change as better deals come along.   This segment is large, but shrinking.  It also is the easiest to sell beer to, because if they’re drinking, they’re usually drinking beer.  As an industry who needs volume, we need this group.

By my guess this segment represents 40% of beer consumers and they are up-and-coming Beer Explorers, who we’ll talk about next.

The Four Levels Of Beer Consumers (and which one most bars neglect)

May 5, 2010

There are four different levels of beer consumers:

  • The Drinker
  • The Explorer
  • The Enthusiast
  • The Activist

Over the next few days, I will discuss each and then finally reveal how your bar’s draught line-up can cater to each of them and especially the one that most bars neglect.  Stay tuned…