It may be early April with the rain still be keeping you down, and Easter might just be getting here, but if you run a beer program for a pub or restaurant, it’s time to start thinking summer beers.
It may sound crazy, but the shift in mindset has to happen now to allow for any delays, planning, and ultimately promotion and rollout of summer plans for your beer list. Breweries are already starting to brew and release their classic summer beers – Radlers, Lagers, Hefeweizens – and leaving it for a few more weeks might leave you in the dust of those willing to take a chance.
This is especially important if you offer a patio at your establishment. You might be dealing with cool temperatures and rain 6 days of the week, but if that 7th hits with sunshine and warm temperatures and your beer lineup is still full of stouts and winter warmers, you’re looking at missed opportunities, and a potential loss of customers when summer is in full swing.
Also, don’t just change up your beers, but look at your menu to go along with it. Make sure you have dishes that pair well with the bright flavours that brewers have made available to you. Swap steaks for seafood, soups for salads, and consider more share plates to go along with the pitchers that patios seem to scream for.
Finally, don’t be afraid to try out some beer cocktails. Some beers, like Cervezas and Lagers, are great on their own, but can also add approachability when mixed with light and fruity liqueurs and bases.
P.S. Never assume the customer wants a citrus wedge with their beer, it’s an easy way to reduce some costs, and most craft beer drinkers won’t use it anyway.