Brewery Calendars • Craft Beer Restaurant


Beer Release Calendar


eighteen seasonal releases scheduled

Goose Island Brewing

expect ten or more seasonal releases

Sierra Nevada Brewing ten seasonal and limited-period releases this year

Troëgs Brewery nine regular seasonal releases

Great Divide Brewing at least a dozen seasonal releases each year.

Great Lakes Brewing nine seasonal releases this year

Heavy Seas Brewing  six seasonal releases

Saint Arnold Brewing  seven seasonal releases

Firestone Walker Brewing  seven    seasonal releases

Three Floyds   Brewing   twelve seasonal releases

The Bruery seven seasonal releases

Captain Lawrence Brewing thirteen seasonals listed

SweetWater Brewing  five seasonal releases

Stone Brewing
five special release beers

Shmaltz Brewing nine seasonal beers

Dogfish Head Brewery many seasonal releases

Lagunitas Brewing eight seasonal beers


Beer release calendars found on craft brewery websites are an incredibly useful tool in improving your Seasonal beer sales strategy. Seasonals spice up any restaurant beer list.

Seasonals are limited-production beers that are released in a specific calendar period during the year. A craft brewery typically offers between four and six seasonals. Taken as a group, seasonals are the most popular craft beer style today.

The start of a new year is a good time to explore and plan a number of ideas for improving the uses of seasonal beers on your craft beer list.

Knowing when a brewery plans to release its seasonal and special beer selections helps you map out a better annual beer list plan for your restaurant. Seasonal and special release beers are in high demand by your customers and your competitors. Using brewery release calendars to pencil in a monthly strategy at the beginning of the year is a useful exercise that will help you stay on top of the opportunities.

Two good examples of 2012 calendars from popular craft breweries are the ones of Lagunitas Brewing Co. of Petaluma, California and Dogfish Head Craft Brewery of Milton, Delaware. (Click to view calendar at brewery website.)

Both of these breweries produce excellent specialty beers and seasonal selections that pair well with the menus of casual and fine dining restaurants.

Lagunitas will release eight seasonal selections this year to go with its eight year-round beers. Dogfish Head releases over 20 beers at various times throughout year from its Milton, Delaware brewery. With so many beers coming out at different times, you can see why brewery release calendars are so handy.

Breweries also push information out to interested parties through blogs, Twitter, Facebook and the like. While you can use these social media to keep up to date year round, we still recommend sitting down quarterly to take a close look at your seasonal beer menu plans. This way you will be more in control of your list, and its selections will be more appropriate and attractive.

Lack of advance planning has left more than one restaurant

excluded from a popular seasonal release it wanted. Don’t let that happen to you.

Coordinating with your distributor

Because ordering and shipping seasonal beer into your distributor is not a spur of the moment process, planning your beer buys well ahead of time is important.

As soon as you have written down the list of upcoming seasonal and special-release beers that you are interested in, sit down with your distributor sales reps and go over the list with them. Since special beers and seasonals are limited production and often in short supply, let your distributors know well in advance which labels you want. If you want them only in draught or in bottles, be specific. Ask the distributor for a commitment to a specific allocation for the harder to get items. A little advance planning will go a long way toward eliminating future disappointments and lost sales opportunities.

Tips for boosting seasonal beer sales

  1. BulletBookmark the Beer Calendar or Beer-Release page of your favorite breweries' websites and check them at least quarterly.

  2. BulletPlan your seasonal beer buys at least three months in advance.

  3. BulletIf offered, subscribe to your favorite breweries’ Calendars, RSS feed, Facebook page, Twitter feeds, etc. This is often the best/only way to obtain their latest beer release data.

  4. BulletCall your distributor sales rep as soon as you get interested in a new seasonal or one-off specialty beer. Many special-release beers are on strict allocation by the breweries, so getting in line first won't hurt.

  5. BulletUse your daily/weekly specials menus to pair entrees with your special seasonal beers. Offer a 3- or 4-course prix fixe dinner featuring beer pairings.

  6. BulletLet your customers know you have limited-release beers by posting their availability on your website, Facebook, Twitter and daily specials menu. Some special release beers create quite a stir among the public. They are a really big deal, and your customers will seek them out.

Shmaltz Brewing Company
produces this (on left) extremely well-organized beer release calendar
that is very easy to use. Their Holiday Focus Calendar (right) gives ideas for using their beers as seasonal specialties.


Beer release calendars help spice up a restaurant beer list

American Craft Beer Week

One week each May

American Craft Beer Week is the time we Americans, from coast to coast, celebrate our craft beer heritage by raising a toast to the great artisan beers that bless every state in the Union. Promoted by the Brewers Association, the week is the perfect time for restaurants to crank up profits from craft beer sales.