Kombucha tea and iced coffees are just some of the new beverages flowing from the bar.
From cocktails to wine to coffee, operators are dedicating draft lines to drinks beyond the traditional brew. Beverages on tap remain fresher for longer and offer a unique experience—bold flavors with an eye-catching presentation.
Brewed, a gastropub in Fort Worth, Texas, has seen strong sales of both Kombucha tea and Cuvée Black & Blue Nitrogenated Coffee on tap.
When opening Brewed more than two years ago, owner Joey Turner looked for trends that would set the restaurant apart and generate buzz.“We thought, ‘What can we provide that would be unique and a little quirky?’” he says. “The top of that list was Kombucha on tap.”
Brewed has more than 60 craft beers, so giving up a tap for tea was a risk, Turner says, but it has paid off. “It’s fresher from the tap, like beer,” he says. “It’s bringing people to the pub quite a bit.”
The restaurant offers different flavors of the fermented tea almost every day, including berry and blood orange. Brewed also serves Kombucha to take home in growlers, which has proved popular.
“You’re creating a unique product that has a story behind it,” he says. “People like to try something new that is cutting edge.”
At Dove’s Luncheonette in Chicago, beverage director Kate Lerner says guests become interested when they see iced coffee flowing from a tap at the bar and that presentation starts a conversation.
The retro-style restaurant, which opened in September 2014, goes through one keg of Dark Matter Chocolate City Iced Coffee each week, with sales growing as temperatures climb. Dove’s has one tap line dedicated to coffee in addition to four lines of beer.
“The coffee stays fresh in the kegs, and there is kind of a nice attraction for customers, too,” she says. While the coffee would remain fresh under the bar for up to six months, Dove’s finishes off a keg much quicker than that. Setting up the coffee did not require any additional costs because it uses the same draft lines as beer, Lerner adds.
By receiving pressurized coffee in a keg ready to serve, Dove’s does not need to waste time brewing coffee and then chilling it. With iced coffee on tap, Dove’s reaps the benefits of a high-end coffee program while not taking time away from other aspects of the restaurant. “Not only is it more efficient, but we end up getting a better product,” Lerner says.