Four Ways to Capitalize on Beer

Employees’ passion about beer makes guests excited about the brews on tap, as well.
Employees’ passion about beer makes guests excited about the brews on tap, as well. Brixx

Beverage specials drive business, but they can also train guests to follow the dollar. Jeff Van Dyke, managing partner and co-founder of beer specialist Brixx Wood Fired Pizza, offers tips to differentiate any beer program.

Brixx has been serving craft beer since it opened its first location in 1998 in a tiny space in Charlotte, North Carolina. Now with 25 locations, we work hard on using fun and a little education to encourage our guests to try beers that delight them and showcase our food. That way, we introduce guests to their new favorite beer—and they think of us first when they’re ready to sip it again or pair it with food.

1. Populate With Your Passions

Craft beer has been with Brixx since we opened our first location. Managing partner Eric Horsley and I were big fans of emerging craft beer brands, and that presented an opportunity.

On our personal time, we hunted for new, exciting beers to try and sampled the first wave of microbrews bubbling up around Charlotte. As we developed the concept that would become Brixx, instead of populating the beer list with known domestics, we figured a craft beer focus would help us stand out from the competition—or, at the very least, be a lot of fun. We were right.

Although many guests were unfamiliar with the names on the beer list when Brixx started, the enthusiasm with which we as well as our managers talked about these unknown beers was infectious. Guests loved feeling like they’d discovered beers their friends hadn’t. Little by little, they encouraged exploration and built the reputation of Brixx as a place to try new things, and that paired well with our spin on gourmet pizza. Without their palpable passion, it may not have worked. This goes for any restaurant: get spirited about your beverages. Our guests were excited because we were excited.

2. Empower Your Staff

We have 25 locations in North and South Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, and Tennessee, but our beer lists are not centrally controlled. While every Brixx has a few of the same breweries on tap at all times, managers have plenty of open taps to try out local and regional brews or other beers. I’ve found that freedom invigorates managers’ passion about the beverages they’re serving. And, it gives them a vehicle to continue looking for the next, great, strangely named craft beer that will blow their minds—and those of their guests.


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