The craft beer movement may have been founded on a renewed push for quality, but it has been sustained by novelty. Rather than stick to tried-and-true favorites, many consumers relish the opportunity to sample new beers, from fresh iterations of classics to off-the-wall specials that brewers of yesteryear would never dream of concocting.
This consumer demand plus the proliferation of breweries have not only paved the way for beer-centric concepts, they have also encouraged restaurants to beef up their tap selections. But while some subscribe to the more-is-more mentality, a more measured approach could be better for business—especially in the wake of COVID-19.
“The Great Pandemic of 2020–2021 was an absolute draft killer. You had draft-only breweries scramble to start packing their beers in cans so customers could take them home,” says Brian Yaeger, a certified cicerone, author, and former FSR contributor. “Back in spring 2020, thousands of kegs were literally dumped either down the drain or converted to anything from swine feed to hand sanitizer.”