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Behind the Bar: Time to Recommit to Beer

In an increasingly competitive environment awash with beverage variety, craft beer can win by recommitting to what made it great in the first place.

Greg Engert Jan 13, 2023 - 8 min read

Behind the Bar: Time to Recommit to Beer Primary Image

Photo: Matt Graves

In my last column, I urged the expansion of experiential offerings at taprooms, brewpubs, beer bars, and retail shops across the country.

Pandemic-related shifts in consumer behavior, coupled with increased competition for guest dollars, have made it necessary for everyone in the hospitality industry to reconsider the experiences they provide. From focusing on innovative events and activities to booking private parties and collaborating with competitors, everything is on the table to broaden our audience and encourage repeat visits from guests new and old.

Consumer research supports the need for such shifts in focus. Survey after survey tells us that younger drinkers are less committed to craft beer than they once were. Because many of them also enjoy RTDs, hard seltzers, kombuchas, and mixed drinks, brewers are deepening their on-premise offerings while simultaneously brewing intensely flavored ales that mimic the character of these other beverages.

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Greg Engert is beer director of the Neighborhood Restaurant Group, whose bars and restaurants include ChurchKey, Rustico, and the Bluejacket brewery, among others.