Limited time offer

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Celebrating the Baltic Porter

Celebrating the Baltic Porter

by David Klemt

Closeup of dark beer with foamy head

In just over two weeks we celebrate a rich, dark beer style with sweet malty characteristics that traces its history back to the 18th century.

Once a favorite among the working class in London, Baltic Porter is seeing a resurgence. This is, unsurprisingly, driven largely by interest from the craft beer world.

Tracing its own history to 2016, Baltic Porter Day celebrates its namesake beer. The beer holiday takes place every third Saturday in January. So, this year we celebrate Baltic Porter Day on January 21.

That should give operators enough time to prepare. One of the best ways to drive interest in this holiday—and beer style in general—is to look into local breweries. Craft breweries, brewpubs, and microbreweries around the world release Baltic Porters to celebrate this holiday.

Locality and hyper-locality are, as we know, important to many guests. That makes it a smart move to develop relationships with local brewers, distillers, farmers, vintners, etc.

Operators who don’t yet have those relationships need to commit to changing that this year. And, hey, Baltic Porter Day is an excellent reason to begin that change and approach local brewers.

What’s Baltic Porter?

In the 1700s, high-hop Pale Ale wore the beer crown in England. However, some small breweries made a run at the throne. They wanted to see a dark beer on top.

So, according to some beer historians, brewers looking to take on Pale Ale began with sweet brown beer. The beer was higher-hopped, dark, and higher alcohol with cocoa, chocolate, and coffee notes.

Porter was born, named for the working class people who embraced it: dock and street workers.

Eventually, the production and reach of Porter of small brewers was overtaken by larger breweries. This is largely due to maturation time, which translates to higher costs; it can take six to twelve months for a Porter to mature.

Over time, Porter found its way to Northern Europe, including Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. Those three countries are known as the Baltic states.

Brewers in those countries tried their hand at Porter production. Importantly, Baltic state brewers put their own spins on Porter. Notably, they replaced ale yeast with lager yeast.

Additional changes include replacing British hops with Baltic hops, and blending pale and dark malts. Baltic brewers roasted the malts in a drum kiln. The invention, created by Daniel Wheeler, allowed brewers to roast malts without burning them.

The Baltic Porter was born.

Characteristics of Baltic Porter

Curious operators and teams can find the official Beer Judge Certification Program guidelines for the this style here.

As a quick summary, the following are keys to Baltic Porter:

  • Appearance: Opaque dark brown to dark reddish-copper. Not black in appearance.
  • Aroma: Rich, malty sweetness with some dark malt characteristics. No hops on the aroma.
  • Flavor: A roasted but not burnt flavor. Rich, malty sweetness. Caramel, nuttiness, toffee, molasses. Dried fruit and alcohol.
  • Mouthfeel: Medium to medium-high carbonation keeps the beer from feeling “heavy” on the tongue. Smooth but full-bodied.
  • Finish: Licorice or roast coffee.

Since this beer tends to range in ABV from 6.5 to 9.5 percent, it’s wise to serve this beer with food. Think hearty fare, like barbecue, chili, and burgers, and Gouda as a cheese pairing.

Of course, local brewers should be able to offer up their own ideas for food pairings. After all, they know their beer better than anyone else.

As some sources note, people often serve Baltic Porter in a snifter. However, a pint glass is perfectly acceptable for this beer style.

Image: Peter Fischer from Pixabay

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Program for Unique Holidays: January 2023

Program for Unique Holidays: January 2023

by David Klemt

"Think about things differently" neon sign

Do you want to stand out from from other restaurants and bars in your area? Change how you think about holiday promotions.

Several holidays are set against every date on the calendar, and January is no exception. These holidays range from mainstream to esoteric.

Pay attention to the “weird” or unique holidays to raise eyebrows, carve out a niche for your restaurant or bar, and attract more guests. Why do what everyone else is already doing? Why program only around the same holidays as everyone else?

Of course, you shouldn’t try to celebrate every holiday, strange or otherwise. Focus on the days that are authentic to your brand; resonate with your guests; and help you grab attention on social media.

You’ll find suggestions for promotions below. However, the idea behind our monthly holiday promotions roundup is to inspire you and your team to get creative and come up with unique programming ideas.

For our December 2022 holidays list, click here.

January 5: National Whipped Cream Day

There’s a ton you can do with whipped cream when it comes to your F&B. From garnishing shots to piling it on desserts, whipped cream is just a fun time.

This is also the perfect holiday for party spots to offer Whipshots or feature whipped cream-flavored vodkas.

January 6: National Technology Day

There are several ways to approach programming for this day. To focus on one, this would be a great day to highlight your cool bar tech. One item that comes to mind is the Ripple Maker.

For those unfamiliar, this is a device that prints images on top of frothy or foamy drinks via food-safe media. Ripple’s next-gen device, the Ripple Maker Pro II, is available now.

January 7: Old Rock Day

The purpose of this holiday is to celebrate the planet. Earth is an “old rock,” after all. Two programming ideas that come to mind are: celebrating classic rock; showcasing spirits that have been on the market for decades (or even centuries).

January 10: National Cut Your Energy Costs Day

By now we all know that sustainability and responsible business practices matter to many guests. National Cut Your Energy Costs Day is a great time highlight your own eco-friendly policies, potentially raising money for “green” causes.

January 11: Learn Your Name in Morse Code Day

If you want to have some fun with your guests, print an LTO menu with F&B item names in Morse code. Include descriptions that aren’t in Morse code that give guests an idea of what to expect from each item.

There are several Morse code translators online, like this one.

January 17: National Bootlegger’s Day

This is the holiday to celebrate brands or cocktails that:

  • survived prohibition;
  • were created during prohibition; or
  • produce or feature moonshine.

January 20: Penguin Awareness Day

Are you aware of penguins? You’re not? That’s odd.

Anyway, there’s an almost startling amount of cocktails with “penguin” in their name. So, why not create an LTO menu of “penguin” cocktails? Bonus points if some proceeds can go to a penguin-focused charity.

January 21: Squirrel Appreciation Day

Do you appreciate squirrels? Well, you should—it’s believed they plant three billion oak trees every year.

Now, I bet you can guess what I’m going to suggest: celebrating the classic Pink Squirrel. And why not? It has been around since the 1940s and is an icon, after all. If you really want to go all out, slap some foods into a Jell-O mould and get crazy.

January 29: National Puzzle Day

As with other holidays, there are a few ways to celebrate National Puzzle Day. You can provide guests some small puzzles to keep them busy (and keep them at your restaurant or bar for longer). Alternatively, get your hands on a very challenging puzzle, set it up on a card table, and encourage guests to work on it together. Or even ask guests to bring in their own puzzles.

January 31: National Backward Day

Programming for this holiday can be as simple as printing your menu backwards. Of course, you can also get much more immersive—it’s all in the details and recognizing opportunities to help guests walk away with memories.

Image: Ivan Bertolazzi on Pexels

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Stand Out with Weird Holidays: Dec. 2022

Stand Out with Weird Holidays: December 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 December is no exception. These holidays range from mainstream to “weird.” For example, I’m sure you’re familiar with Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, and a little event we call New Year’s Eve.

Pay attention to the “weird” or unique holidays 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 November’s list, click here.

December 5: Bathtub Party Day

So, technically this day is about encouraging people to take a bath rather than a shower. However, this can be a great day for celebrating gin and prohibition-era cocktails.

Why gin in particular? For many, winter is gin season. Additionally, when people think of prohibition they tend to think of “bathtub gin.”

December 6: World Trick Shot Day

This is another holiday that celebrates something specific. In the case of World Trick Shot Day, it’s the basketball trick shot.

However, not every venue has basketball available to their guests. Many eatertainment venues do, but the same can’t be said for every restaurant or bar. But if your business has other bar games on offer, you can certainly adapt this holiday to encourage your guests to take their best shots.

December 8: National Pretend to be a Time Traveler Day

Yes, Halloween is over. That doesn’t mean people won’t dress up and have some fun. From Doctor Who to Marty McFly, there are plenty of characters, movies, and TV shows out there your guests can use as inspiration to celebrate this holiday.

December 11: International Mountain Day

Our mountains are incredible, powerful, and crucial resources. So, on this holiday, highlight brands from mountainous regions and those committed to sustainability efforts.

December 12: Gingerbread House Day

This one can get messy but it can also draw in a lot of guests. There are a few ways to go about celebrating Gingerbread House Day, of course. One way I can think of is to encourage your guests to come by and help decorate a large gingerbread version of your restaurant or bar.

December 16: National Ugly Christmas Sweater Day

Fine, this isn’t exactly the weirdest holiday out there. At this point, the ugly Christmas/holiday sweater is a movie and television show trope. That doesn’t make it any less fun.

Come up with your own twist to bring guests through your doors this National Ugly Christmas Sweater Day. That can mean creating a particular theme for ugly sweaters, for example.

December 21: Phileas Fogg Win A Wager Day

When I came across this holiday I knew I’d be including it on this list. The name of the day is ridiculous, and the specificity is impressive. How could I resist?

This holiday, should you choose to accept celebrating it, is dedicated to Phileas Fogg. Who’s that? Fogg is the character in Around the World in Eighty Days who accepts the challenge referenced in the book’s title.

December 22: National Re-gifting Day

People participate in a lot of holiday gatherings throughout December. Many take place before the start of Hanukkah or Christmas Day.

That means a lot of people get gifts before December 22 that they’d perhaps rather not keep. So, encourage your guests to roll in on National Re-gifting Day for a drink, a bite, and an exchange of gifts.

December 23: National Pfeffernüsse Day

No, this isn’t a weird holiday—it’s mostly a fun word to say: “pfeffernüsse.” For non-German speakers, that’s probably a “weird” word. Most importantly, it’s a delicious, spiced cookie that makes for a great treat or fun interpretation as a holiday season cocktail.

December 30: No Interruptions Day

We all need time to disconnect, to log off and be unreachable. Your restaurant or bar is the perfect place for people to hit “do not disturb” on their devices and escape before New Year’s Eve.

Image: Dan Parlante on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Are You Rewarding Voters Today?

Are You Rewarding Voters Today?

by David Klemt

"I Voted" stickers on a white background

Voting is one of the hallmarks of democracy, a right and privilege so crucial that one can’t overstate or exaggerate the value and importance.

It is, therefore, supremely unfortunate that access to this right has become so acrimoniously political. Of course voting relates to politics—that’s a given. That doesn’t mean the act itself should be disingenuously politicized for twisted means.

For example, far too many people have grown convinced that their vote means nothing. Further, it’s an outrage that voting is made so difficult for so many who know voting matters.

So important is this fundamental right, there are three amendments to the US Constitution protecting it specifically: the Fifteenth, Nineteenth, and Twenty-sixth.

Before going further, I’m not this passionate in support of only those who vote “my way.” I want every American of voting age to have easy access to cast their ballot. Equally as important to me, I want every American to feel like their vote means something.

Of course, that also means accepting results we don’t like. We don’t always get our way in a democracy, after all.

This is all to say the following: Operators can play a role in elections. A simple-yet-important role.

Encourage Voters

I’m not the first to say it: Restaurants and bars are the cornerstones of their communities.

Back in June, I expressed the role our industry plays across the country and globe: “Restaurants and bars are pillars, cornerstones of the communities they serve. These are businesses that welcome people in, treat them like family. They’re there for them as they move through their lives. People who were seemingly at odds with another routinely found common ground over a bite and a sip. More often than not, that’s still the case.”

I still believe this, and that’s why I believe operators can play a role on this Election Day, and those in the future. The role is simple but powerful: Encourage your community to get out there and vote.

Now, one clear way to motivate your community to get out there today is to reward those wearing “I Voted” stickers when they visit your restaurant or bar. It’s commonplace now for operators to offer voters food and drink discounts, free menu items, or other perks on Election Day.

Restaurants and bars around the country routinely execute this type of promotion. From free sides and snacks to discounts on entrees and drinks, operators throughout the US find ways to encourage voting.

Proceed with Caution

Just keep something in mind: Legal scholars say that when federal candidates are on the ballot, such promotions are illegal.

The interpretation of a particular federal statute makes it illegal to pay people to vote. “Paying” includes providing something of value in exchange for voting, such as food or a drink.

One workaround is to ensure anyone who enters your business can participate in your promotion. No “I Voted” sticker? No problem. A guest says they haven’t voted? Not a disqualification.

Another solution is to simply encourage your social media followers to vote and come by for a visit. No reward, necessarily, just encouragement to exercise their right.

In other words, be the supporter and motivator your community needs. And be careful about any promotions you may be offering today.

Image: Element5 Digital on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Stand Out with Weird Holidays: Nov. 2022

Stand Out with Weird Holidays: November 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 November is no exception. These holidays range from mainstream (Thanksgiving, anyone?) 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 October’s list, click here.

November 4: National Candy Day

So, you would think we’d celebrate National Candy Day on Halloween, what with all the trick or treating. But no, we celebrate candy the first week of November.

This could be an excellent day to move any candy-themed menu items that may have somehow survived your Halloween programming. Or, hey, lean into it and garnish a number of cocktails with candy.

November 6: National Nachos Day

I know, I know—nachos aren’t weird. No, they’re one of the most fantastic foods on the planet. In fact, one could argue they’re among the culinary pinnacles of human achievement.

However, that doesn’t mean we can’t get a little weird and creative with nachos. Think outside the box (or platter), get with your back-of-house team, and come up with a unique nacho plating or two.

November 8: National Tongue Twister Day

There are a few ways to approach this holiday: create an LTO menu with tongue-twister descriptions; give menu items tongue-twister names; theme some drinks to well-known tongue twisters; or hold a tongue twister contest. Here’s one to get you started:

“Betty Botter bought some butter / But she said the butter’s bitter / If I put it in my batter, it will make my batter bitter / But a bit of better butter will make my batter better / So ‘twas better Betty Botter bought a bit of better butter.” Good luck.

November 12: National Pizza with the Works Except Anchovies Day

I’m including this because I like how oddly specific this holiday is. No thanks to the humble anchovy, apparently!

November 15: National Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day

Okay, so I’m not sure I’d actually call this holiday Clean Out Your Fridge Day. Instead, consider creating and adding a specific promotion to your programming repertoire.

For example, if you’re a wine bar, consider using this day to move open but unfinished bottles of still and sparkling wine before they oxidize or go flat. I’m not a fan of operators discounting menu items but in this case, doing so is better than the alternative. This can be done once per week, twice per month, once per month, etc.

November 17: Use Less Stuff Day

This is an excellent holiday to commit to a couple different operational changes. One, do whatever is practical to reduce the waste your restaurant, bar, nightclub, or hotel generates. Two, consider reviewing your menu and simplifying where you can.

November 20: National Absurdity Day

I mean…does any day scream “WEIRD HOLIDAY!” more than National Absurdity Day? The sky’s the limit here: get as weird, wacky, and creative as you can in a way that’s authentic to your brand and market.

November 24: Celebrate Your Unique Talent Day

Have a talented team? Boast a group of talented regulars? Encourage them to show off their unique skills talent show style, offering prizes and capturing your event via social media.

November 25: Blasé Day

The holiday season is stressful. It’s go, go, go, family, family, family, friends friends, friends, for several weeks. So, create a “lazy” promotion that provides your guests with a calm escape from their holiday stress. Be the oasis they need as the year closes out.

November 30: National Mason Jar Day

Ah, the mason jar. Its wide mouth and fit in most people’s hands is both rustic and comforting. They’re also perfect for a wide array of garnishes. In fact, consider serving over-the-top Bloody Maries in your mason jars…or moonshine cocktails…or beer cocktails… just great cocktails.

Image: Dan Parlante on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Possess this Scary Spirit for Halloween

Possess this Scary Spirit for Halloween

by David Klemt

Harridan Vodka Paranormal Reserve hero

If you truly want to imbue your cocktails and the guest experience with the otherworldly this Halloween, you need this spirit.

In fact, this bottle likely contains the most “spirit” forward spirit one can possess. It’s also one of the rarest. Oh, and it took a rest for 30 days inside the Occult Museum.

On October 13, Harridan Vodka will launch their Paranormal Reserve officially. And if you’re after a true small-batch vodka, you’ll want to keep an eye the Paranormal Reserve countdown timer.

This is your opportunity to create and host a frighteningly unique Halloween LTO promotion.

Conjuring the Halloween Spirit

Does the Occult Museum sound familiar to you? If so, you’re likely a horror film fan or into the supernatural.

For those who don’t know, the Occult Museum was started in 1952 by Ed and Lorraine Warren. The two paranormal investigators collected a vast array of artifacts that they claimed came into contact with evil.

One of these objects is Annabelle, a cursed Raggedy Ann doll. According to lore, the doll is so dangerous it’s kept inside its own glass case. A sign attached to the case reads, “Warning, Positively Do Not Open.”

So, what could possibly be frightening about a Raggedy Ann doll? Well, this one is said to have an interesting “attachment.” That is, a demon in search of a human host that has attached itself to the doll.

To keep the demon from achieving its goal—which it reportedly began pursuing in 1970—Annabelle’s case has been blessed. The case has inscriptions of the Lord’s Prayer and Saint Michael’s Prayer. Also, it’s said that Ed Warren would recite a binding prayer over the case from time to time to ensure the demon couldn’t escape.

Supposedly, Annabelle nearly killed a priest who mocked it when he visited the Occult Museum to scrutinize the Warren’s claims of its demonic possession.

This story and more are told in The Conjuring movie series. In particular, Annabelle, Annabelle: Creation, and Annabelle Comes Home. Given that it’s October, it’s the perfect time to watch the first installment and doll-focused movies of The Conjuring universe.

In fact, this would be the month to design a promotion around The Conjuring watch parties with themed LTO cocktails.

A Frightful Rest

Okay, so I can already hear some of you asking what this has to do with Harridan Vodka. Well, calm down—I’m getting to it.

The Warren Occult Museum, located in Monroe, Connecticut, closed to the public in 2019. In other words, if you didn’t get to visit prior to its closure, you’ll most likely never have the chance to see Annabelle or the other occult artifacts contained within.

But you can purchase a bottle of 44-percent ABV vodka that rested for 30 days inside the Occult Museum: Harridan Vodka Paranormal Reserve.

Just 666 bottles are available, and 665 took their 30-day slumber right next to Annabelle. These bottles will retail for $199 on Thursday, October 13.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Harridan Vodka (@harridanvodka)

Obviously, that leaves one bottle we need to address. Bottle number 666 was rested inside Annabelle’s case. And while the other 665 bottles are housed inside black Ouija-themed boxes, number 666 is contained within a glass case similar to Annabelle’s.

Of course, this unique bottle comes with an appropriately otherworldly price tag: $13,000. And, hey, the person who makes this bank-balance-slashing purchase might just be in possession of the world’s only vodka infused with evil.

If you’re one of the few who manage to get their hands on these Occult Museum-rested Harridan Vodka bottles, it’s fair to say you can name your price for the opportunity for guests to buy an ounce.

Happy Halloween, ya filthy animals!

Images: Harridan Vodka

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

7 Days Until Old Fashioned Week!

7 Days Until Elijah Craig Old Fashioned Week!

by David Klemt

Old Fashioned cocktail on table

In just seven days operators, their front-of-house teams and guests will have the opportunity to participate in Elijah Craig Old Fashioned Week.

Those who choose to join in on the fun will help generate funds for crucial cause. Further, participation means joining forces with some revered heavy hitters in the industry.

For example, Broken Shaker’s Chicago and Miami locations are taking part, as is Cure in New Orleans. Birdie G’s in Los Angeles, the Denver outpost of Death & Co., and Houston’s Julep are also participating. And then there’s LA Jackson from Nashville, the legendary Leyenda in Brooklyn, DC’s Silver Lyan, and Philly’s R&D all joining the cause.

A Great Cause

As stated, this is more than a cocktail promotion. Elijah Craig Old Fashioned Week supports an important cause and fantastic organization.

The cause is providing F&B professionals who are struggling with financial assistance, and the aide comes from the Southern Smoke Foundation.

Since 2015, Southern Smoke has been dedicated to raising funds to help individuals in the F&B space. The non-profit organization strives to help our industry peers in need persevere through crises.

From raising funds for the MS Society, establishing the Emergency Relief Fund, and providing free mental healthcare, Southern Smoke consistently proves themselves a trustworthy industry partner. By 2021, Southern Smoke had donated more than $5 million in financial aid to industry workers affected by Covid-19.

Take Part

Elijah Craig, the storied small-batch bourbon and rye producer in the Heaven Hill Distillery portfolio, makes participating simple and fun.

Unsurprisingly, we at KRG Hospitality love an activation and promotion that’s easy to execute and fun for everyone in the building. This year, Elijah Craig Old Fashioned Week takes place from October 14 through October 23.

To help raise money for Southern Smoke’s crisis management mission, encourage your bar team and guests to post pictures of their Old Fashioneds to social media. All one has to do is include tag @ElijahCraig and the hashtag #OldFashioned Week. Elijah Craig will take it from there, donating $5 for every post up to $100,000.

I’m confident that over the course of ten days we can all come together and flood social media with 20,000 images of delicious, well-crafted Old Fashioneds.

To learn more about last year’s Old Fashioned week, listen to Bar Hacks episode 52. Our very special guest on this episode is Lynn House, the 2022 Best US Brand Ambassador Spirited Award winner.

Get Creative

Now, I’d normally include the particular drink recipe here but I think—I believe—we all know how to make an Old Fashioned by now. So, I’m going to encourage all participating operators and their bar teams to create a small, signature Old Fashioned LTO menu or Elijah Craig Old Fashioned Week.

Also, to get those creative juices flowing, here’s the recipe for the Elijah Craig Rosemary Old Fashioned:

  • Craft rosemary cinnamon syrup by combining 1 cup of water with 2 cinnamon sticks, 2 rosemary sprigs, and 1 medium navel orange in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, add one cup of Demerara sugar and stir until it dissolves. Strain into a clean, sanitized bottle.
  • Combine 2.5 oz. of Elijah Craig Small Batch Bourbon, a half-ounce of housemade rosemary cinnamon syrup, and three dashes of orange bitters in a mixing glass with ice.
  • Stir and strain into rocks glass over a large ice cube, then garnish with a Maraschino cherry on a rosemary-sprig skewer. If you so choose, light the sprig on fire for a moment to generate some rosemary smoke.

Image: CHUTTERSNAP on Unsplash

by krghospitality krghospitality No Comments

Stand Out with Weird Holidays: Oct. 2022

Stand Out with Weird Holidays: October 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 October is no exception. These holidays range from mainstream (Halloween, anyone?) 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 September’s list, click here.

October 5: Chic Spy Day

Of course, there’s one holiday this month that simply will not allow anyone to ignore it: Halloween. So, why not lean into it early? Encourage guests to show up looking like a chic spy, perfect your Vesper Martini, and show spy movies. In other words, task your guests with really getting into the spy theme, and create a menu that shows off your creativity as well.

October 6: National Orange Wine Day

No, there aren’t any oranges used in the production of orange wine. Rather, it’s white wine with which the grape skins and seeds remain in contact. The result is an orange hue. And as we all know, orange is one of the key colors of October and Halloween. To celebrate National Orange Wine Day, put some orange wines on your menu.

October 7: National LED Light Day

They say there’s a holiday for just about everything. The existence of this holiday points to that sentiment being accurate.

To wow your guests and get them in the mood for your ultimate October promotion, a Halloween bash, drop food-safe, waterproof LEDs into cocktails for a “spooky,” otherworldly effect.

October 13: National Train Your Brain Day

You know what’s an excellent way to train your brain and stay sharp? Trivia! And do you know what a lot of guests like to do at bars? Trivia! Guest what you should plan for National Train Your Brain Day…

October 17: Wear Something Gaudy Day

I mean, it’s Halloween month and people want to dress up. Guide their costume ambitions by encouraging them to get gaudy and tacky on Wear Something Gaudy Day.

October 18: National Chocolate Cupcake Day

Okay, so this isn’t a weird holiday. There’s nothing strange about chocolate cupcakes. What they are is delicious, and your kitchen staff can always decorate chocolate cupcakes with fall and Halloween themes.

October 20: International Sloth Day

Ah, the sloth. It really has the right idea most days: slow down. On this day, encourage your guests to slow down and relax at your restaurant or bar. Comfort food, delicious beer, and classic brunch cocktails are the order of the day.

October 21: National Count Your Buttons Day

There are several ways to celebrate this day. However, I think a good, old-fashioned “Guess How Many Buttons are in This Jar” contest is the way to go. Give away a bottle, a meal, a bar tab, etc. The sky’s the limit.

October 22: National Make a Dog’s Day

Is your business dog-friendly? Can your kitchen come up with dog-safe menu items? Then encourage your guests to come in and pamper their pooches.

October 25: National Greasy Food Day

There’s no point in competing or programming against Halloween. Not for most operators, anyway. So, celebrate this debaucherous, indulgent day with greasy bar and comfort food ahead of your Halloween promotion.

Image: Dan Parlante on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Pumpkin Spice Season Descends Upon Us

Pumpkin Spice Season Descends Upon Us

by David Klemt

Jack o' lantern and smoke

Once again, the unstoppable march of the spooky season is upon us, bringing with it a frightening assortment of pumpkin spice items and expectations.

In the blink of an eye, hordes will descend on your restaurant or bar. “Pumpkin spiiiiiice,” they’ll croak.

Okay, so that’s overly dramatic. For the most part, pumpkin spice season is anything but scary. And really, very few people will transform into singularly focused pumpkin spice zombies.

However, fall is nearly here. So, you do need to finalize your fall/autumn menu. Beginning in September, that really does mean considering offering at least one pumpkin spice LTO item.

Interestingly, though, pumpkin spice may not deserve its perception as the flavor of fall. According to Datassential, there are ten flavors that index high enough to give pumpkin spice a challenge for the fall throne.

What are they? Well, it just so happens that Datassential has those answers, along with a bit of useful advice.

Lord of the LTO

Recently, Datassential released “Food Industry Trend Report: 2022 Pumpkin Spice Season.” As the research firm points out, pumpkin spice seems to be encroaching on summer more each year.

How far away are we, I wonder, from pumpkin spice claiming summer for itself? Will we be subjected to pumpkin spice dry rubs at summer barbecues? Is some intrepid operator going to create a pumpkin spice lemonade?

Those terrifying questons aside, pumpkin spice season coming earlier means more opportunities to benefit from LTOs. Just as it seems that pumpkin spice is descending upon us earlier and earlier, it also seems to dominate the LTO space.

In fact, per Datassential research, major chains executed 174 pumpkin spice LTOs. Now, that’s still with a five-percent drop in menuing for pumpkin space over the past 12 months. Further, that number doesn’t include small, regional chains and independents who also launched pumpkin spice LTOs.

Of course, there are also other fall flavors that deserve a place on operators’ menus. And they’re perfectly cromulent as LTO drivers.

Fall Flavor Favorites

To inspire operators to create LTOs that entice consumers this fall, Datassential has identitied ten flavors on which to focus. Helpfully, they separate them into two main categories.

Top five sweet fall flavors:

  • Vietnamese cinnamon
  • Spicy ginger
  • Allspice
  • Eggnog
  • Pumpkin pie

Top five savory flavors:

  • Coconut milk
  • “Oktoberfest”
  • Mustard cream
  • Turkey gravy
  • Cranberry sauce

Personally, I can see operators and their teams needing to get creative to leverage mustard cream and turkey gravy. Interestingly, Datassential suggests a few flavors not on either list above.

According to their report, Datassential expects apple and blood orange to be popular for LTOs this year. According to the firm, apple was popular last year. When it comes to blood orange, Datassential says 38 percent of consumers like or love the flavor.

Whichever flavors you choose, Datassential has the following advice, which we co-sign: Ensure your LTOs are fresh; make sure they’re easy and quick to make; and don’t discount them. In fact, you should create premium LTOs that come with a premium price.

Image: Colton Sturgeon on Unsplash

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

Top