Maximize the Taps

Saturday night when Stella and I went to Boozefish to drink some Chocolate Ale on draft (this isn't going to be about Chocolate Ale) I noticed something that really annoyed me. For those that don't know Boozefish, it's primarily a wine bar with wines by the glass and bottle available. They also have several taps of good beer available, including on that night the highly coveted Chocolate Ale. Yet, I see this guy, a couple of tables over, drinking a Bud Light in the bottle and hitting on a couple of fine looking young ladies that each had a glass of wine. I don't want to be snobby or anything, but I can think of nothing less appealing than someone who will spend $3 or $4 for a bottle of an inferior product. I was just amazed the girls were entertaining him and his friend (who was at least drinking a draft Bud Light or other macro beer).

I don't mean to pick on Boozefish, but I'm going to. I see no reason for a place that focuses on good wine and has good taps, to even offer Bud Light on draft or even in the bottle. I can understand not wanting to alienate those who have no taste, but I don't see any reason to give those same people valuable real estate and giving them a tap handle. That tap could be used for a higher priced craft beer that a discerning consumer can appreciate. And if you must, sell them a Bud Light bottle.

We're lucky enough to live in a town with a great brewery with beers available on tap at many price points. A bar could have 4 taps, sell Boulevard Pilsner, Pale Ale, Wheat and Tank 7 and satisfy 95% of their customers and squeeze more money out of their taps than your typical Bud, Bud Light, PBR and Miller Lite 4 tapper. I don't mean to be a homer and mention only Boulevard products, but it's pretty easy to sell Boulevard in town, if you prefer, sell some Free State, Great Divide, Tallgrass or New Belgium. The average Bud drinker doesn't really care if he's drinking a draft beer or bottle, why give him a choice when you could make more selling craft beers on tap? Tank 7 is perfect because even Bud Light drinkers would love it if given a glass and you can charge an even bigger premium for that tap.

Greg Koch, from Stone Brewing, makes similar points in the video below. He makes an assumption that bars can sell through craft beer kegs faster than macro beer kegs that I don't think holds up that well, but otherwise, it's a fairly honest accounting of the increased profitability of selling craft beer. This is a must watch video for bar owners, hopefully after watching they'll make a call to their distributor and ask to put some Tank 7 on tap replacing that pesky Bud Light keg that only brings in riffraff.

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