How to Make Gourmet Popcorn Work for Your Craft Beer Business
Gourmet Popcorn: Your Brewery's Next Profitmaker
Growth in the craft beer business isn’t quite what it used to be just a few years ago. With new breweries cannibalizing the keg market, space and production limits, and high rents, there are plenty of challenges in the industry, even though it’s still generally a fun and steady business to be in. You do it for the passion and creativity of your craft, but unfortunately you still have to think about profits.
Continue generating revenue for your microbrewery by focusing closely on customer experience and creating loyalty to your brand. If you have what everyone wants, the competition won’t be as fierce. One surprising way to make more money? Gourmet popcorn! Here’s how:
- Offer salty snacks to make beer go down easier. You know the peanuts trick, but how about offering customers something more fun to munch on than nuts? Popcorn is easy to prepare, and customers will ask for seconds, meaning they’ll be thirstier and thirstier. Offer a complimentary scoop with each purchase. A small investment in a popcorn machine can mean big payoffs for your brewpub.
- Make the craft brewery experience more interesting with pairings. There’s a unique popcorn flavor for every type of beer. Start with these suggestions and sell popcorn-paired flights for a slightly higher price than your regular samples. A fun way to serve a 4-beer paired flight could be to place the samples in the center row of a muffin tin, with the outer rows filled with the appropriate popcorn flavor.
- Use gourmet popcorn as a test before adding more menu items. Often having a full kitchen can draw in more business and create loyal customers, since not everyone wants to stop in for just a drink, but many more people prefer to eat and drink together. However, adding a restaurant or even a limited kitchen to your brewery is no small undertaking, so you need to be as certain as possible that it will be a step in the right direction for you. Gourmet popcorn flavors can help you start gauging the interest your customers have in a more robust menu, and you can begin adding more substantial options based on your findings.
- Take advantage of retail opportunities. When customers love your products, they want to take them home. In addition to bottling or canning your beers, you can package your popcorn and private label it. Place your logo prominently on the packaging and give the popcorn flavors fun and unique names related to your beer or your business. You can sell it individually and also display a few gift baskets with beer and popcorn pairings, as well as t-shirts or other merchandise, so that customers can share their love of your brewery with others and spread the word.
Whatever growth strategies you decide to implement, be sure you don’t lose focus on what matters most: producing great-tasting quality beer for your customers. And remember that even the best bar snacks in the world can’t take the place of good service, so hire outstanding staff and train them to go above and beyond to make your customers’ experiences memorable.