Beer

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Are You Ready for Oktoberfest 2022?

Are You Ready for Oktoberfest 2022?

by David Klemt

Glass of Augustiner beer

Oktoberfest, one of the single best beer events and promotions operators can program for, kicks off on September 17 and goes through October 3.

Impressively, this year represents the 187th Oktoberfest. Of course, this would be the 189th Oktoberfest if Covid-19 hadn’t forced Munich to hit pause on the celebration.

At noon Central European Summer Time, Orktoberfest will tap the first keg. Then, Munich’s Lord Mayor Dieter Reiter will declare, “O’Zapft is!” The Bavarian phrase translates to, “It is tapped!” (For you linguistics nerds out there, the phrase is, “Es ist angezapft!” in German.)

In America, that means Oktoberfest will kick off at 1 AM HAST, 2 AM AKDT, 3 AM PT, 4 AM MT, 5 AM CT, 6 AM ET or 7 AM AST.

For Canada, those times are 3 AM PT, 4 AM MT, 5 AM CT, 6 AM ET, 7:30 AM NT.

Clearly, that’s pretty early for most people to start drinking beer. But hey, if you’re in a market like Las Vegas there may be people who want to kick off Oktoberfest at your bar at 3:00 in the morning.

The Official Oktoberfest Breweries

You may have heard that there are rules about which breweries can actually be at Oktoberfest. Well, that’s not a rumor.

To clarify, just six breweries in Munich can serve beer at this world-famous event. Those six breweries are:

  • Augustiner
  • Hacker-Pschorr
  • Hofbräu
  • Löwenbräu
  • Paulaner
  • Spaten

So, why does Oktoberfest limit the event to just these breweries? Essentially, this move is to ensure that this Munich-based event remains a Munich-based event.

Luckily, it’s not too difficult for operators to get their hands on Hacker-Pschorr, Hofbräu, Löwenbräu, and Spaten. Really, it just depends on the relationship an operator has with distributors the region in which they operate.

Oktoberfest Outside of Munich

Of course, an operator need not serve only the official Munich beers to celebrate Oktoberfest wherever they’re located.

Plenty of brewers outside of Munich brew seasonal Oktoberfest (or Octoberfest, as it were) beers. For example:

  • Bell’s
  • Brooklyn Brewery
  • Founders
  • Great Lakes
  • Jack’s Abby
  • Sam Adams
  • Sierra Nevada
  • Summit Brewing
  • Warsteiner

And when it comes to food programming, the Munich event serves some delicious bites. It should go without saying that yes, the following pair well with beer:

  • Roast chicken
  • Roast pork
  • Pounded, breaded thin cuts of meat (schnitzel)
  • Sausages
  • Brats
  • Pretzels
  • Tarte flambée (flammkuchen)
  • Potato pancakes (kartoffelpuffer)
  • German potato salad
  • German “cottage fries” or fried potatoes (bratkartoffeln)
  • Sauerkraut
  • German beer cheese spread (obatzda)
  • German red cabbage (rotkohl/blaukraut)

Truly, this is an amazing time of year. Just over two weeks of great beer and delicious comfort food.

To learn more about this annual celebration of beer, visit the official Oktoberfest website.

Image: Kurt Liebhaeuser on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

5 Books to Read this Month: September 2022

5 Books to Read this Month: September 2022

by David Klemt

Flipping through an open book

This month’s engaging and informative book selections will help you develop next-level leadership skills and dial in your drink menu.

To review August’s book recommendations, click here.

Let’s jump in!

Your Restaurant Culture Sucks!: Stop surviving. Start thriving. Escape mediocrity

Donald Burns, the Restaurant Coach and friend of KRG Hospitality, completes his Your Restaurant Sucks! trilogy. For the third book in the self-improvement and hospitality industry leadership series, Burns tackles culture.

In Your Restaurant Culture Sucks!, Burns helps owners, operators, and leadership team members understand the importance of workplace and company culture. Instead of complaining that “nobody wants to work anymore,” look inside and find out why perhaps nobody wants to work for you. That kind of honesty helps implement real change, change that sets you apart and improves recruitment, hiring, and retention.

“All restaurants can buy from the same vendors and hire from the same labor pool. What separates the good, from the great to the outstanding is culture!”

Subtract

Sometimes changing our outlook and improving our leadership skills is about streamlining.

“We pile on ‘to-dos’ but don’t consider ‘stop-doings.’ We create incentives for good behavior, but don’t get rid of obstacles to it. We collect new-and-improved ideas, but don’t prune the outdated ones. Every day, across challenges big and small, we neglect a basic way to make things better: we don’t subtract.”

With Subtract, Leidy Klotz explains how changing how we approach solutions can be life changing. Maybe we need to stop adding and start subtracting to improve our strategies.

Cure: New Orleans Drinks and How to Mix ’Em from the Award-Winning Bar

If you travel to New Orleans and you’re in this industry, you probably make sure to include Cure on your itinerary. For more than a decade this 2018 James Beard Award winner (Outstanding Bar Program) has been integral to the city’s craft cocktail scene.

Whether you’re after a deceptively simple beer and shot or a cocktail made with a rare, allocated bourbon, Cure is there to elevate your French Quarter visit. And soon you’ll be able to bring Cure home with you, and to your restaurant or bar as well. Available now for preorder, Cure includes 100 cocktail recipes that tell the tale of NOLA from past, present, and future.

Craft Beer Design: The Design, Illustration and Branding of Contemporary Breweries

Anyone who pauses to consider beer can design knows that it’s becoming nearly as important as the liquid. With thousands of breweries all over the US alone, how does a brewer stand out? How does a small, independent craft brewer grab a potential new customer’s attention in a sea of options? In part, through their can designs. Of course the beer itself is crucial and the most important element. However, a consumer has to be motivated to try a beer before they learn how good it tastes.

Craft Beer Design dives deep into craft beer design, featuring real-world examples and interviews with the designers themselves.

Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don’t Know

Curiosity keeps us learning. The pursuit of knowledge keeps us sharp. Learning helps us improve ourselves, our leadership, and our operations. The belief that we’ve learned all there is to know, however, prevents us from learning to our own detriment.

Much like Subtract teaches us how to remove rather than add, Think Again proposes a new approach: unlearning and rethinking. Why do we get defensive when we’re wrong? Why are we so afraid of challenges to long-held beliefs? Admitting when we’re wrong and seeking facts is a strength, not a weakness.

Image: Mikołaj on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Stand Out with Weird Holidays: Sept. 2022

Stand Out with Weird Holidays: September 2022

by David Klemt

Stay Weird neon sign with purple background

Want to stand out from from other restaurants and bars in your area? Then commit to keeping it weird.

Several “holidays” are set against every date on the calendar, and September is no exception. These holidays range from mainstream to “weird.”

Pay attention to the latter to raise eyebrows, carve out a niche for your restaurant or bar, and attract more guests. Why do what everyone else is already doing?

Of course, you shouldn’t try to celebrate every holiday, weird or otherwise. And this month’s list in no way includes every odd holiday.

Focus on the days that are authentic to your brand; resonate with your guests; and help you grab attention on social media.

For August’s list, click here.

September 5: Be Late for Something Day

You know what’s a great reason to be late from something? Enjoying an awesome meal or some great drinks with friends. Your bar or restaurant can provide that awesome meal and great drinks.

September 6: National Read a Book Day

As you know if you’ve been visiting KRG Hospitality throughout the week or subscribe to our newsletter, we love recommending good books. Cookbooks, cocktail books, hospitality industry history books, leadership books… We’re all about learning.

This is an excellent day to promote swapping books, recommending books, sharing books, etc.

September 8: National Ampersand Day

If there was ever a day that demands food/and or drink combos, it’s National Ampersand Day. For example, this is the perfect bar holiday to create a beer and shot limited-time offer menu.

September 13: National Positive Thinking Day

Restaurants and bars are the cornerstsones of their communities. One way operators and their teams can support their community is by ensuring they provide a positive experience.

On this day, encourage your community to stop in for a bite, a drink, a chat, and an overall happy, healthy time.

September 14: National Eat a Hoagie Day

No, hoagies aren’t weird…in Philadelphia. Everywhere else, it can sometimes be a “weird” thing to call a submarine sandwich. At any rate, guess what food you should create an LTO around on this holiday.

September 17: National Monte Cristo Day

You don’t have to agree with me, but this weird sandwich is my favorite. Sure, burgers are cool. But have you ever dipped a ham’n’cheese or turkey’n’cheese in egg, fried it, then dusted it with powdered sugar? Even weirder, have you used corn flakes as breading and then fried it? Put a few Monte Cristos on your menu to celebrate this glorious sandwich holiday.

September 22: Car Free Day

This one’s pretty simple: Encourage and incentivize your guests to use any mode of travel that isn’t a car/truck/SUV to come to your restaurant or bar. I, for one, will be opting for my motorcycle, which I don’t need to mention here but I’m going to anyway because I love it.

September 24: Innergize Day

First, a disclaimer: This isn’t a day celebrating a “performance” drink brand. Rather, Innergize Day is about relaxing and recouping. I’m sure you can see where your restaurant, bar or hotel fits in with this holiday.

September 25: National One-hit Wonder Day

This one’s simple: Commit to playing only one-hit wonders. People love nostalgia, particularly when it comes to music. Either create a playlist or hire a DJ, and if you’re feeling creative, put some themed drinks on your menu.

September 27: National Crush a Can Day

You don’t have to encourage your guests to literally crush cans to celebrate this day. Really, this is a great way to make people aware of your craft beers, RTDs, canned wines, and other canned beverages on your menu.

Image: Dan Parlante on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

2022 World Beer Cup Winners

2022 World Beer Cup Winners

by David Klemt

Person pouring draught beer

The Brewers Association‘s 2022 World Beer Cup identifies the top three beers across a staggering 103 separate categories.

If you enjoy multiplication, that’s 309 medals in a single competition. And that’s just the winners; there can be more than 200 entries in a single category.

So, yes—I envy the World Beer Cup judges. I mean, what beer fan wouldn’t want to taste all the entries into the Olympics of Beer?

This competition, developed by the Brewers Association, has been going strong since 1996. Next year’s competition, if you happen to brew beer and want to enter it, will take place in Nashville in May.

Okay, you may be wondering why I’m talking about this beer competition. The reason is simple: To get your ready for September.

There are three beer holidays to program for and celebrate next month:

  • National Beer Lover’s Day (September 7)
  • National Crush a Can Day (September 27)
  • Drink Beer Day (September 28)

Oh, and there’s this little event—Oktoberfest—that takes place from September 17 to October 3.

Below you’ll find 48 medal winners from 16 categories to give you a taste of the 2022 World Beer Cup results. For the full list, click here, then click the “2022 Winners” button.

Cheers!

Category 1: American Wheat Beer (68 entries)

  • Gold: For-scythe, Cherry Street Brewpub at Halcyon (Alpharetta, GA)
  • Silver: Hefe, Widmer Brothers Brewing (Portland, OR)
  • Bronze: American Wheat, Cerveceria Principia (Monterrey, Nuevo León, Mexico)

Category 2: Fruit Beer (134 entries)

  • Gold: Yuzu KSA, Fort Point Beer Co. (San Francisco, CA)
  • Silver: Berry, Berry, Quite Contrary, Territorial Brewing Co. (Springfield, MI)
  • Bronze: Grape Fruit Session IPA, Mahanine Brewing (Hohhot, People’s Republic of China)

Category 5: Pumpkin Beer (40 entries)

  • Gold: 5 Phantoms, Philipsburg Brewing Co. (Philipsburg, MT)
  • Silver: Ryes of the Pumpkin King, Sound2Summit Brewery (Snohomish, WA)
  • Bronze: Pumpkin Paddy, Launch Pad Brewery (Aurora, CO)

Category 9: Coffee Beer (79 entries)

  • Gold: Gusto Crema Coffee Ale, Georgetown Brewing Co. (Seattle, WA)
  • Silver: Daybreak, Wolf’s Ridge Brewing – Production Operations (Columbus, OH)
  • Bronze: Double Cream Coffee Dream, Dangerous Man Brewing Co. (Minneapolis, MN)

Category 10: Coffee Stout or Porter (112 entries)

  • Gold: Dusk til Dawn, Pizza Port San Clemente (San Clemente, CA)
  • Silver: Mocha Porter, Bend Brewing Co. (Bend, OR)
  • Bronze: Mocha Machine, Beachwood Brewing (Huntington Beach, CA)

Category 11: Specialty Beer (56 entries)

  • Gold: KURI KURO – Dark Chestnuts Ale, Miyazaki Hideji-Beer Co. (Nobeoka, Japan)
  • Silver: Agavemente, SouthNorte Beer Co. (Chula Vista, CA)
  • Bronze: Graham Cracker Porter, Denver Beer Co. (Denver, CO)

Category 14: Non-Alcohol Beer (123 entries)

  • Gold: Golden Lager, Grüvi (Denver, CO)
  • Silver: Non-Alcoholic Black Butte, Deschutes Brewery (Bend, OR)
  • Bronze: Parallel, Southern Grist Brewing Co. (Nashville, TN)

Category 15: Session Beer (43 entries)

  • Gold: Swift Half, Station 26 Brewing Co. (Denver, CO)
  • Silver: Peacekeeper, Launch Pad Brewery (Aurora, CO)
  • Bronze: Bucketty’s Pale Ale No. 2, Bucketty’s Brewing Co. (Brookvale, New South Wales, Australia)

Category 16: Session India Pale Ale (107 entries)

  • Gold: Trump Hands, Cannonball Creek Brewing Co. (Golden, CO)
  • Silver: Moon Rocks, Mickey Finn’s Brewery (Libertyville, IL)
  • Bronze: Tiny Juicy IPA, Five Boroughs Brewing Co. (Brooklyn, NY)

Category 22: Gluten-Free Beer (66 entries)

  • Gold: La Gosa Rita, Lakefront Brewery (Milwaukee, WI)
  • Silver: Little Brown Job, Lucky Pigeon Brewing Co. (Biddeford, ME)
  • Bronze: Glutenberg Session IPA, Glutenberg (Montréal, Québec, Canada)

Category 91: American-Style Pale Ale (160 entries)

  • Gold: Figueroa Mountain Mosaic, Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co. (Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, CA)
  • Silver: Cruisin’, Pizza Port Bressi Ranch (Carlsbad, CA)
  • Bronze: Somewhere Golden, Institution Ale Co. (Camarillo, CA)

Category 92: Juicy or Hazy Pale Ale (141 entries)

  • Gold: Hazealicious, Reuben’s Brews – The Taproom (Seattle, WA)
  • Silver: Baby Azacca, 33 Brewing Experiment (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada)
  • Bronze: Haze in the Park, Kings & Convicts Brewing Co. (San Diego, CA)

Category 95: Imperial India Pale Ale (174 entries)

  • Gold: Space Lettuce, Monday Night Brewing (Atlanta, GA)
  • Silver: Cali Boy, No Label Brewing Co. (Katy, TX)
  • Bronze: Devil’s Pool, Wissahickon Brewing Co. (Philadelphia, PA)

Category 96: Juicy or Hazy Imperial India Pale Ale (171 entries)

  • Gold: Pantless Thunder Goose, Mast Landing Brewing Co. (Westbrook, ME)
  • Silver: Houblon Deluxe, Pure Project (Vista, CA)
  • Bronze: Citra Powered Jetpack, Barebottle Brewing Co. (San Francisco, CA)

Category 102: American-Style India Pale Ale (384 entries)

  • Gold: Hop-Fu!, North Park Beer Co. (San Diego, CA)
  • Silver: Super Slap, Brewery X (Anaheim, CA)
  • Bronze: Aurora Hoppyalis IPA, Karl Strauss Brewing Co. (San Diego, CA)

Category 103: Juicy or Hazy India Pale Ale (343 entries)

  • Gold: Rhymes Like Dimes, Xül Beer Co. (Knoxville, TN)
  • Silver: Blue Comet, Widowmaker Brewing (Braintree, MA)
  • Bronze: Tasty Jams, Brix City Brewing (Little Ferry, NJ)

Image: Josh Olalde on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

iPourIt Releases Fourth Annual Pour Report

iPourIt Releases Fourth Annual Pour Report

by David Klemt

Black and white beer taps

Self-serve beverage platform iPourIt’s informative fourth annual Pour Report identifies their top beer and wine pours from 2021.

iPourIt is a pioneer in the self-serve space, enhancing the guest experience and boosting revenue. However, their annual reports are another key reason operators should consider this platform.

Unlike other industry platforms, iPourIt doesn’t limit their resources to clients. Nor do they place resources like their annual Pour Report behind a pay wall. So, this is a transparent company that clearly views their relationships with clients as partnerships.

You can check out their resources for yourself by following this link. To download a copy of the 2021 Annual Pour Report, click here.

Below you’ll find key datapoints from the latest iPourIt report. I encourage you to download and review the report in its entirety.

Key Demographic Information

When it comes to men and women using iPourIt self-serve systems, men are respsonsible for 64 percent of total ounces poured.

On average, men served themselves 6.4 ounces per pour and spent $14.21 on iPourIt per visit. For men, the top pours were IPA, Lager, Cider, Hefeweizen, and Sour.

Conversely, women served themselves nearly 11 million ounces via iPourIt systems. That’s 36 percent of total ounces poured.

On average, women served themselves 5.3 ounces per pour and spent $11.95 per visit. For women, the top pours were Cider, IPA, Sour, Lager, and Hefeweizen.

Interestingly, the top pour for both men and women was Michelob Ultra.

Key Beer Takeaways

The 2021 Pour Report analyzes data from more than 300 iPourIt systems, over 8,800 taps, and 49 million total ounces of beer and wine poured.

In total, patrons consumed nearly 14,600 total products. Further, the data above represents 1.9 million guests served 3.1 million pints. Compellingly, that’s $26.2 million in revenue generated by iPourIt systems.

In terms of iPourIt systems and patrons, cider claimed the number two slot for the top 15 poured beer styles. Perhaps unsurprisingly, IPA claims the top spot. In fact, iPourIt systems served more than 10 million ounces of IPA.

As far as beer styles that are growing in popularity, three styles are on the rise. These climbers are Belgian, Cream Ale, and fruit beer. Conversely, Lager, Red Ale, and Witbier slipped down the list. Interestingly, Witbier slid four slots on iPourIt’s top 15 beer styles list. For the first time since iPourIt has been releasing reports, Seltzer made it onto the list, claiming the 11 spot.

Another interesting bit of data concerns consumer preferences. IPA may be the beer style seeing the most pours but domestic Lagers and light Ales are the top-selling products across iPourIt systems. The platforms interprets this as consumers trying small samples of IPA but going with Lagers and Ales for full serves.

Top Beer Pours by Category

Helpfully, iPourIt breaks down their Pour Report into several categories. So, let’s take a look at the top five from several of their lists.

As for the top products poured overall, Michelob Ultra claims the top spot. In descending order, it’s followed by Bud Light, Golden Road Mango Cart, Ace Pineapple Cider, and Modelo Especial.

For domestic pours, numbers one and two are the same as above. However, Coors Light, Miller Lite, and Pabst Blue Ribbon. The top five import products are Modelo Especial, Delirium Tremens, Rekorderlig Strawberry-Lime, Stella Artois, and Dos Equis Lager Especial.

Switching gears to craft and microbrew, Mango Cart claims the number one spot. Numbers two through five are Space Dust, 805, Kona Big Wave, and Big Storm Oak & Stone Snowbird Pilsner.

Of course, the report goes much deeper than just those four categories. There’s also the top 25 IPAs, and the top 15 Lagers, Ciders, Hefeweizens, Sours, Stouts, Blonde Ales, Pilsners, and Pale Ales.

New for the annual Pour Report are the top 15 fruit beers and Seltzers.

Key Wine Takeaways

Before we proceed, iPourIt systems aren’t limited to beer and wine. If it’s a beverage without pulp or sediment intended to be poured cold, iPourIt can handle it.

So, cold brew coffee, kombucha, sodas…these are all revenue-generating serves to pour alongside beer and wine.

Now, onto the 2021 report. The key wine takeaway focuses on sparkling wine. In short, sparking wines have proven popular with iPourIt patrons. So, the platform suggests using their systems to offer guests build-your-own Mimosas, as well as promoting self-serve as an enhancement to brunch.

Addressing the top-performing wines for iPourIt systems, the top five overall in descending order are:

  1. Boca Barrel Boca Frizzante
  2. Starborough Sauvignon Blanc
  3. Carletto Prosecco (up two spots)
  4. Stemmari Pinot Grigio
  5. Archer Roose Bubbly

Boca Frizzante is a “Prosecco-style” white wine sparkler. Archer Roose Bubbly is also a Prosecco-style white. An actual Prosecco climbed the top 10 to reach spot number three. Essentially, three Proseccos are among the top five most-poured wine products for iPourIt patrons.

Interestingly, the top five are all white wines. In fact, there are only two reds among the top ten, both of them Cabernet Sauvignons.

Image: Josh Olalde on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

5 Self-serve Beverage Brands to Know

5 Self-serve Beverage Brands to Know

by David Klemt

Neon beer mug sign

If you’re an operator who wants to leverage the popularity of self-serve beverages, these are the brands you should consider.

There are several reasons to invest in self-serve beverage solutions:

  • Reducing costs
  • Reduction in waste
  • Guest convenience
  • Guest experience
  • System customization
  • Real-time system management and reports
  • Security

Truthfully, had I been told ten years ago that guests would want to serve themselves beer, wine, and other drinks, I would have raised an eyebrow. It’s possible, sure, but I would’ve been skeptical.

Well, it turns out that I would’ve been wrong. Indeed, today’s guest seems to enjoy pouring their own drinks from self-serve systems.

From convenience to control over their experience, these platforms are proving popular with consumers. An appealing factor appears to be the ability to sample a range of beverages to discover new favorites. And, of course, they can do so without having to purchase full drinks or asking a bartender or server for a sample.

So, below are some of the brands in the self-serve beverage world that operators need to know and consider.

Operator Benefits

In terms of P&L, your bottom line will thank you for embracing self-serve solutions.

First, the popularity of these systems increases sales. Guests can sample an array of drinks easily, choose a favorite or two, and serve themselves at their convenience. Additionally, guests tend to view self-serve systems in a positive light due to perceived value.

Second, an impressive self-serve beverage wall can be a sight to behold. There are venues with 100 self-serve taps and screens, which is an impressive sight. There are also all manner of designs not dependent on a wall. One great example is the rotating self-serve beer system at the Famous Foods Center Bar inside Resort World Las Vegas.

In other words, self-serve beverage systems help concepts stand out among competitors.

Third, self-serve systems allow operators to streamline operations and reduce costs. For example, labor costs can be reduced, as can waste.

And fourth, these solutions can lead to improvements in the guest experience. Not having to wait in line and being able to engage more with front-of-house staff aids in guest perception.

iPourIt

According to the brand itself, iPourIt installed the world’s very first beer wall. Since then, the platform has worked tirelessly to improve their solutions.

One way they’ve improved involves the security and usability of their system. As you’ll see with most self-serve brands that pour alcohol, guests are locked out of these systems without RFID access.

IPourIt offers several types of RFID solutions, from bracelets to fobs. Of course, other systems use similar tech. However, iPourIt prides themselves in offering touch-free RFID access and eschewing the need to leave cards in slots when pouring.

Another benefit is that as long as the beverage isn’t meant to be poured hot or doesn’t have pulp/sediment, iPourIt can handle it.

PourMyBeer

This company is iPourIt’s main rival. When you review how they can improve an operators’s bottom line, it’s not hard to see why.

PourMyBeer claims some impressive stats:

  • 45 percent sales increase
  • 50 percent increase in profits
  • 20 percent reduction to labor costs
  • Less than three percent waste

Like other systems, PourMyBeer can help operators leverage wall space. In addition, a single PourMyBeer screen can control four taps, so a wall doesn’t haven’t to be overloaded with screens.

Impressively, this platform also boasts the most POS integrations among the self-serve systems. Obviously, this is beneficial to the vast array of operators.

Table Tap

For operators looking for both a pioneer in the self-serve space, Table Tap may be the perfect partner. In particular, the use of “underage cards” by underage guests to access non-alcohol drinks is a nice feature. So, children up to early college-age students can get in on the fun.

Standing out from other platforms, Table Tap offers wall systems and table-mounted systems. Truly, offering a self-serve wall and a number of tables with the same tech is impressive.

In fact, if I were to install both solutions I would consider the tables a self-service take on VIP seating. And, I’d charge accordingly. Just something operators may want to consider.

Another cool feature relates to Table Tap’s software. While not the most mind-blowing functionality, guests can control an operator’s sound system via the TableTab ordering platform. Better yet, if an operator charges fees to select songs on their jukebox, TabelTab adds them to guest tabs.

To learn more about Table Tap, give episode 22 of Bar Hacks a listen.

Drink Command

“We do everything self pour, and more,” proclaims the Drink Command website.

Is an operator looking for a killer self-pour wall? Done. Table-mounted taps? Check. What about a self-serve tower, self-serve mobile kegerator, or a heavy-duty, mobile, self-serve counter? Drink Command has all three.

In other words, Drink Command makes it easy for operators to get creative and implement a range of self-pour solutions. Additionally, with mobile solutions, operators who want to expand into catering, pop-ups, and special events can do so easily.

For a list of other benefits—including foam-free beer pours, advertising interstitials, and consumption limits—click here.

Napa Technology

Makers of the TapStation, Napa Technology promises a boost to the guest experience. In part, this is because guests don’t have to wait in long lines at the bar.

Additionally, as stated prior, today’s guest enjoys using self-serve beverage systems.

Unlike other platforms, the Napa Technology TapStation doesn’t rely on wall installations. Instead, TapStation dispensers are available in two- and four-keg systems. These stations can be placed anywhere on the floor rather than a wall.

The TapStation can serve beer, wine, kombucha, and cold-brew coffee, ensuring it’s as versatile as the systems above.

Image: Brad on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Cheese Pairings: Wine, Beer, Spirits

Cheese Pairings: Wine, Beer, Spirits

by David Klemt

Wine glasses and cheese board

National Wine and Cheese Day is Monday, July 25, so let’s take a look at pairings that will get mouths watering.

According to historians, people have been pairing wine with cheese for several centuries. And per scientists, this legendary pairing makes a lot of sense.

Cheese is, obviously, fatty. Further, fat is oily. Then we have alcohol, which is astringement. When we eat cheese or other fatty/oily foods, they coat the mouth. As we also know, alcohol tends to dry out our mouths.

So, the theory as to why pairing cheese with wine works comes down to balance. Of course, there’s a term for this balance you likely know: mouthfeel.

However, science has an additional theory about wine and cheese. For this theory, we look at the “flavor spectrum.” Flavors that are far apart from one another are often pleasant to us.

As an example, not many of us would appreciate a slice of cheddar cheese on top of a cheddar cheese-flavored cracker dipped in cheddar cheese sauce. That would be monotonous and boring.

Wine Pairings

  • Chardonnay and Camembert
  • Riesling and Raclette
  • Gewürztraminer and Edam
  • Pinot Grigio/Gris and Parmigiano Reggiano
  • Chenin Blanc and Chèvre
  • Sauvignon Blanc and Gouda
  • Champagne and Brie
  • Prosecco and Asiago
  • Rosé and Havarti or Fontina
  • Pinot Noir and Gruyère
  • Merlot and Camembert or Gorgonzola
  • Shiraz (Australian-style varietal) and sharp Cheddar or smoked Gouda
  • Syrah (French-style varietal) and Pecorino or Roquefort
  • Malbec and Manchego
  • Sangiovese and Fontina or Parmigiano Reggiano

Beer Pairings

Perhaps your guests would prefer to celebrate National Wine and Cheese Day with a substitution. Like, for instance, swapping out wine for beer.

Well, it turns out cheese goes great with many styles of beer.

  • American Pale Ale and American Cheddar
  • Amber Ale and Gouda or Brie
  • Witbier and goat cheese
  • Hefeweisen and Feta
  • American Lager and Mozzarella
  • American Pilsner and Chèvre
  • IPA and Parmigiano Reggiano or Blue Cheese
  • Brown Ale and Gouda
  • Porter and Muenster or Gruyère
  • Stout and Blue Cheese

Spirits Pairings

Hey, beer isn’t the only beverage that we can swap with wine. Interestingly, several categories of spirit pair well with cheese.

As with wine and beer, it’s crucial to try pairings with specific spirits before offering them to guests.

  • Vodka and Cheddar or Blue Cheese
  • Gin: London Dry and Pecorino; Genever and Triple Cream Brie; Plymouth and Époisses de Bourgogne
  • Brandy and Butterkäse
  • Rum and Fontina
  • Mezcal and aged Cheddar or Pecorino
  • Tequila: Blanco and Brie or Feta; Reposado and Manchego; Añejo and Parmigiano Reggiano
  • Bourbon and Parmigiano Reggiano
  • Rye and Gouda
  • Irish whiskey and Brie or Camembert
  • Scotch: Light-bodied and Comté; Full-bodied and Stilton. For a deeper dive into pairing Scotch with cheese, click here.

Image: Allison Kettlety on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Brutal: These Drinks are Heavy

Brutal: These Drinks are Heavy

by David Klemt

Marshall amplifier closeup

Several legendary and iconic heavy metal bands are stepping into the arena of the drinks industry, from beer to whiskey, and more.

You won’t find a celebrity rosé wine or mezcal on this list. Instead, you’ll find bourbon and rye blends, unique processes, full beer lineups, and small-batch releases.

Most importantly, these are products that deserve a place on your menus. These aren’t spirits and beers that rely on band names and their global recognition. Each of these can stand on their own.

In fact, one whiskey from Slipknot and an Iowa distillery won an award from Fred Minnick in 2019.

Metallica

You may familiar with Blackened, a rye and bourbon blend that finishes in brandy casks. This limited-edition, super-premium whiskey is also subjected to the proprietary Black Noise process.

In short, each batch of Blackened is enhanced by the frequencies of curated Metallica playlists. This whiskey is a true collaboration. Legendary Master Distiller Dave Pickerell partnered with Metallica and Meyer Sound for the recipe and process.

However, Master Distiller and Blender Rob Dietrich has crafted a rye expression. Rye the Lightning is, as you can likely tell from the name, a rye whiskey. This expression also undergoes a very specific Black Noise process.

To craft Rye the Lightning, the live recording of Ride the Lightning in its entirety from Metallica’s Orion Music + More set is played to enhance the liquid. Taking things a step further, Rye the Lightning is finished in Madeira and rum casks.

Not content with just two expressions, there are also the Master of Whiskey Series and limited edition whiskeys available.

Iron Maiden

Iconic English heavy metal band Iron Maiden has steered heavily into the beer business. You won’t find a limited-release Lager here and a Pilsner there. No, Iron Maiden has a full lineup of beers in several styles.

Trooper, named for their song “The Trooper,” is the name under which the band crafts their beers in partnership with brewers like Bodebrown and Robinsons. You’ll find many beer styles under the Trooper label: Strong Bitter, English Extra Special, Porter, Golden, IPA, and more.

 

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Of course, there are limited editions. And why shouldn’t there be? Iron Maiden and there brewer partners want to have rock out, like they did with the Number of the Beast, a Bitter.

Motörhead

Since there’s a bourbon and a beer carrying the Motörhead name, you can create a Boilermaker honoring the heavy band. And as you may imagine, one-half of the Boilermaker is named after the song “Ace of Spades.”

In this case, Ace of Spades is a bourbon crafted in Fargo, North Dakota, by Proof Artisan Distillers. This distillery produced North Dakota’s first-ever bourbon, Crooked Furrow. Ace of Spades is a full-bodied, 90-proof high-rye bourbon with warm, sweet notes and a cinnamon finish.

For the beer, Motörhead tapped Madison, Wisconsin, brewers Ale Asylum. Röad Crew is a crisp, hoppy American Pale Ale with citrus notes.

Cannibal Corpse

This whiskey, Golden Blood, is actually the inspiration for this article and product roundup. Golden Blood by Cannibal Corpse, one of the heaviest bands on this list, is crafted in collaboration with Three Floyds Distilling.

Since opening their doors in 2017, Three Floyds has been known for doing things differently. In fact, the distillery itself says their approach is “not normal.” So, this collaboration with Cannibal Corpse makes a lot of sense.

According to Three Floyds, the band itself selected the liquid. A single barrel straight malt whiskey, Golden Blood was aged four years in new, charred oak. And the label is sure to draw attention on your back bar.

GWAR

As the story goes, GWAR is not of this planet. Rather, GWAR is an intergalactic rock band that arrived on Earth via comet.

Well, when you have an origin mythology that incredible, you can’t phone in products tied to your name. I promise that you’ve never encountered a whiskey-crafting process like the one that produces Catoctin Creek Ragnarök Rye:

“The mad scientists at Catoctin Creek conducted experiments on aging the blood of GWAR in barrels made from the different types of wood scorched by the comet’s blast. They used the rarest of grains and watered their mash bill with the melted Antarctic ice to create a 92 strength rye whisky, pot stilled and then aged in charred new white oak. Members of GWAR then hurled the whiskey barrels into the orbit of the moon, causing contraction to take place as the barrels spun under the influence of the deathly coldness of space and the life-giving heat of the sun.”

Well, that’s different.

Slipknot

Cedar Creek Distillery in Iowa crafts two whiskey expressions for Slipknot. The first expression is Slipknot No.9, a four-year-old blend of straight bourbon and straight rye whiskeys.

Then there’s Slipknot No. 9 Reserve. For this special release, award-winning Cedar Creek bottles the same bourbon and rye blend at 99 proof. Fred Minnick named Slipknot No. 9 Reserve the Best Celebrity Whiskey in 2019. That’s no small feat.

 

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An equally daunting feat? Getting your hands on Slipknot co-founder and percussionist Clown’s Iowa Shine. If you can find it, this bottle is Clown’s very own moonshine.

Honorable Mentions

The Deftones have partnered with Belching Beaver to craft an IPA called Deftones Phantom Bride. This IPA, a collaboration between head brewer Thomas Peters and the Deftones’ Chino Moreno, is made using Amarillo, Citra, Simcoe and Mosaic hops.

And then there’s Bay Shore, New York’s Great South Bay Brewery. The brewery has honored Pantera with a limited edition beer called Vulgar Display of Lager. Obviously, this is intended to honor the 30th anniversary of the thrash metal band’s brutal 1992 Vulgar Display of Power album.

Image: Alexander Kampmann from Pixabay

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

TOTC 2022 Agenda and Tickets Now Live

Tales of the Cocktail 2022 Conference Agenda and Tickets Now Available

by David Klemt

Greetings from NOLA artwork

The time is now to grab your Tales of the Cocktail tickets and plan your trip to New Orleans for the last week of July.

Not only are tickets available for purchase via this link right now, you can also check out the schedule here.

Of particular note is the amount of complimentary programming available to 20th anniversary TOTC attendees.

Free to Attend

Attendees will have access to several activations and workshops that are free to attend.

Beginning Sunday, complimentary programming is available throughout the week. For example, the Day of Service on Sunday, July 24 is free attend and a way to give back.

Also on Sunday, the 11th annual Pig & Punch Volunteer Day of Service. This is another opportunity for those in the industry to do some good in the NOLA community.

The return of Pig & Punch was mentioned by an excited Lola Thomas on episode 72 of the Bar Hacks podcast.

On Monday, all attendees can attend the keynote address; Diversity Distilled Career Fair; the Welcome to Wellness! therapeutic stretch and self-massage session; and “#FromTheBarToTheFarm” sustainability workshop.

There are several more workshops—such as “Safe Bars: Crafting a New Culture of Safety and Respect” and the immersive “Mind Full” experience—that are free to attend on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Incredible Activations

More reasons to plan your trip around an action-packed Sunday? Speed Rack Redemption, the National Tequila Day Pool Party at the Royal Sonesta, and Ode to the Bowl.

The rest of the week is absolutely packed. From workshops to seminars, cocktail tours to tasting rooms, and all manner of activations, parties, and events in between, the 20th anniversary celebration of Tales of the Cocktail will be an experience to remember.

On the subject of cocktail tours, there are eight such experiences available during this year’s Tales. For example, attendees can register and secure tickets for Hunting Down the Sazerac, Downriver: Bars Beyond the French Quarter, the Big Gay Bar Tour, and Bourbon Street and How it Got that Way.

Learn More

To be honest, there’s simply too much going on at this year’s TOTC to list here. The sheer number of workshops, seminars, and activations must be checked out online.

And that’s to say nothing of the industry icons that will be presenting seminars and workshops, and hosting activations and special events.

Simply put, there’s programming for everyone. Health and wellness? Yes. Furthering your career? Absolutely. Perfecting technique and tasting new products? Of course. Business, culture, advocacy, diversity, inclusion, equity… Check, check, check, check, check, check!

We hope to see you at Tales of the Cocktail 2022! Be sure to check out the agenda and grab your tickets today.

Image: mana5280 on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Forward Progress: Trends by Venue Type

Forward Progress: Trends by Venue Type

by David Klemt

High contrast image of blue cocktail with lemon zest

One notable difficulty with considering new trends is that they’re not all necessarily a universal fit for all venue types.

For example, what may work well in an upscale restaurant perhaps won’t perform as well in a sports bar. Pursuing a trend that isn’t a good fit, obviously.

As any operator with experience knows, chasing fads and trends just to chase them can be costly. Doing so costs money (inventory, training, labor hours) and time deserving of better allocation.

However, failing to embrace any trends can also be costly. Watching a lucrative trend pass by can cost an operator guest engagement, perception, and traffic.

Take, for instance, the success of White Claw. Plenty of operators and consumers scoffed at the hard seltzer category as a whole at first.

Then, some people decided it was a drink category “for women.” As it exploded in popularity, hard seltzers proved immensely popular with men.

Basically, it’s an incredibly strong beverage alcohol category that resonates with a wide range of consumers. On some menus, hard seltzers are listed alongside beers.

So, hard seltzer, led largely by White Claw, showed itself to be a worthwhile trend to adopt.

Clearly, however, hard seltzer doesn’t resonate with all guests on all occasions in all types of hospitality venue types. For instance, generally speaking, a bucket of White Claws likely to be a top seller in a high-end restaurant specializing in seven- to nine-course meals.

Drink Trends by Venue

During Bar & Restaurant Expo in March of this year, Amanda Torgerson of Datassential presented 2022 drink trends operators should know.

One trend has essentially proliferated the industry. Really, it’s likely wise for us to all view this trend—hard seltzer—as mainstream now.

In the context of Torgerson’s presentation, Datassential is saying that hard seltzers are here to stay.

Among other trends, Torgerson shared Datassential’s data-backed view of drink trends segmented by venue category.

While every venue is unique and not every trend will work for every bar or restaurant in a given category, the results are no less intriguing.

Pubs: Dry-hopped beers, pastry stouts, and hard or spiked coffee.

Sports Bars: Mini-beers, hard seltzer, and reusable growlers.

Casual Bars: Seltzers with unique flavors, hard tea, hard lemonade, and drinks featuring local ingredients.

Upscale Bars: Negroni, wine-barrel-aged spirits, and flaming cocktails.

Nightclubs: Hard seltzers served with spirits, cocktails and punch bowls served with dry ice, and flaming cocktails.

Casual Restaurants: Wine cocktails, elevated brunch cocktails, and tea-based alcohol beverages.

Upscale Restaurants: Flaming cocktails (smoked may be better), all-natural wines, and made-to-order cocktail cart presentations.

Hotels, Resorts and Casinos: Made-to-order cocktail carts, alcohol vending machines, and drinks made with cold-pressed juices.

Interestingly, a few of the above trends identified by Datassential appear in multiple venue types.

The main things for an operator to keep in mind is what will resonate with their guests and what’s authentic to their brand. When it comes to trends, one size doesn’t fit all and an individual venue’s mileage will vary.

However, the above list should at least show operators what Datassential sees resonating with guests in an array of venues.

Image: Ozge Karabal on Pexels

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