Like Craft Beer?

Want to open a craft beer bar or just sell more craft beer?

You’re about to embark on an amazing journey and one which will, we hope, see you fulfil your ambitions to establish a business based on a passion for great beer – not a bad aspiration to have!

Craft Beer Bar shot

Whether you’re an existing bar owner looking to add Craft to your list or you’re looking to find your new premises, chances are you’ve already done initial research to make sure there’s an audience for your new venture. We can also be pretty certain that you have a wishlist of the beers you want to stock in your head.

It all sounds perfect, we can’t wait to drop in and join you for a drink, but here are a few pointers to help ensure you get off to the best possible start and keep your bar performing to its potential.


Telling Stories

You and your staff are an extension of the breweries you stock: the way you represent, promote and serve the beers – remember, it’s the hospitality industry! How good does it feel to be served a beer by someone who knows about the style, the brewery, maybe even the brewer?

Andrew Lawton (New Business Director at Inn Express) comment:

“Behind every great beer is a great story, the breweries story is a key selection criterion for the beers we’ve introduced to our Craft beer selection at Inn express.  This has been the case even since the early Brewdog ‘Trashy Blonde’ days right up to the modern day Micro and it’s Brut IPA’s etc. You can’t expect everyone to be a walking beer encyclopaedia, but you’d be surprised at how a little knowledge can go a long way to creating a great drinking experience”.

 Craft Beer is at the forefront of beer creativity, constantly evolving and bringing flavour, style and an attitude to the beer world.


Know Your Customers

Sure, there will be people just like you who know their beers, who have an opinion on what “craft beer” is, who have tried beers from breweries you’ve never even heard of and have posted their comments on Ratebeer or untappd, but there will also be customers who are just looking for a good beer, something which has more flavour going on than the beers in the local pub down the road. Be careful not to alienate your core customers on an elusive quest to serve the rarest beer in the land. Whatever style you shoose a must have style is the Pale Ale.

For more info into this ever evolving category why not read our guide here


Don’t be a Beer Snob!

Historically beer was the drink of the working man, the drink which has no heirs and graces yet can excite the palette of every man and woman, regardless of class or nobility. The world’s greatest beers can be enjoyed for a fraction of the wine equivalent; it’s an affordable luxury so please don’t try to make it elitist. Remember the beer which got you excited and started you on your journey to where you are today? The one when you discovered something new? There are still a lot of people yet to have that same discovery: it may not be the same beer as you had your epiphany from but, when it happens, they’ll know it. It’s a one-way journey and you can open the door.

Service is Always King.. No matter what beer you’re selling!

Now, this may sound like an obvious tip but with consumers now spending more but drinking less, reasons to visit drinking venues are changing. It is important to provide more reasons to visit other than the beer on the bar. Consumer demands for a high-quality experience and better engagement has never been higher. With that, staff knowledge has never been more important. With more categories, brands, and beers to navigate on the bar, guidance from the “expert” behind the bar can make each consumer feel comfortable and engaged.


Avoid Crowding the Bar

It depends on where your bar is and the footfall you can expect but despite the current trend, a good piece of commercial advice is not to crowd the bar with too many fonts or taps. As a rule of thumb if you’re not getting through at least one keg per week on each line then your large choice is at the expense of quality. It’s far better to reduce your range and think about a couple of rotating taps to keep your offering fresh and exciting. We can help you create a very profitable and varied range and host staff training to help sell.


The Right beer in the Right Glass

7/10 say that glassware is important when drinking in a bar

 It not only helps provide the desired pour and nucleation of the beer but can also act as a fashion statement for the drinker and, knowing that “other drinkers” are the second thing that people look at when entering a bar, entice new drinkers into drinking the product. Check out our Perfect Serve blog here as a guide to which glasses are best suited to which beer.


Let bottles & cans be Seen!

All too commonly premium beers are hidden away in under-counter fridges at the back of a bar with customers having to strain to see past bar staff to see what’s available. In the modern world, more customers are choosing by design so these beers could be some of your highest margins. Why relegate them to a second-rate location?

Try Before You Buy?

You’ve got your row of brilliant looking fonts lined up along your bar but there’s a few names, breweries and beers that aren’t familiar to the average Joe Public. It can be intimidating. If there’s hesitancy, why not offer a sample to try? And don’t limit yourself to pints and halves – remember that 2/3rd pint (schooner) is now a legal measure and can be a great size for stronger beers that take a bit more time to drink and are best sipped!

Let’s Get Social

Pubs and bars are the original social interaction hubs, places where old friends met, and new friends are made. Social media has taken on much of this mantel, but the winning combination is surely when the two worlds embrace? Twitter, Facebook, Untappd, Instagram, Pinterest – when they’re not in your bar, that’s where your customers are meeting and discussing and sharing and advocating. Today’s discerning customer is much more likely to be influenced by word of mouth (including social media) than traditional marketing, so if your bar isn’t social, you’re missing out.

Be Eventful

Throughout the year there are obvious milestones and seasons for your customers to celebrate: Oktoberfest, Halloween, Christmas, St Patrick’s Day and American holidays like Thanksgiving and 4th of July. Add to this your own micro beer festival, meet the brewer, tap takeovers, food pairings and new beer launches and you’ve soon got a calendar packed with reasons for customers to keep coming back for more and bringing their friends.

OK, where do I start?

f you are thinking about setting up your own craft beer bar or even looking to add some craft beers to your lists why not drop us a line? Inn Express has over 14 years’ experience in the field of specialist and craft beers, we’ve run pubs and bars ourselves and we work with bars, hotels, taphouses & restaurants the length and breadth of our trading area, and we’re always happy to help. Make sure you sign up to our weekly craft beer email too by using the form below


Images courtesy of The Wild Beer Co

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