Industry All Access Exclusive

Finding and Managing the Right Food Program for Your Taproom

Most people who operate small breweries don’t want to go into the restaurant business—yet food is an increasingly important way to attract customers and increase beer sales. For small breweries considering what kind of food program might be the best fit, here are some lessons learned.

Courtney Iseman May 16, 2024 - 14 min read

Finding and Managing the Right Food Program for Your Taproom Primary Image

Photo: Joe Stange

Gone are the days when a brewery could simply pour beers in a bare-bones taproom and expect to draw a crowd. In a competitive industry, and with customers choosy about where to spend their time and money, more breweries are learning about how to differentiate themselves and create local gathering places.

That’s why, to many small breweries, adding a food program has never felt more necessary.

Much like offering nonalcoholic options, offering food can help attract a wider array of customers to your taproom—for example, by helping beer drinkers convince nondrinkers to join them. It also helps to keep customers there longer, and point-of-sale data back up the conventional wisdom that guests order more beers when food is available.

However, what kind of food program is best for your brewery’s taproom? Every option has its pros, cons, and special considerations. Here, we share several lessons learned from breweries that have worked with rotating food trucks, formed longer-term vendor partnerships, or even tried running their own kitchens, aiming to help inform your choices if you are still trying to find the best fit.

Access All of the Brewing Industry Guide

Subscribe today to access all of the in-depth brewing stories & advice you won't find anywhere else (including this article). Subscription includes unlimited access to every brewing report, brewing course (60+), article, video (55+), magazine issue (40+), and more.