Craft Beer Week • Craft Beer Restaurant


Restaurants across the country will celebrate American Craft Beer Week, coming up May 11–17, 2015. It is the perfect time to take your artisan beer program up a notch or two. By participating with thousands of on-premise entities nationwide, the promotion can lead to increased beer profits for your restaurant.

The Brewers Association prepared the informational video presented below.

It is not too early to begin planning your craft beer week features. Once you set your event, register it at the American Craft Beer Week website. Use this link: ACBW Event Registration. You will need to Login with, but that is easy to do and you can use your Facebook account to do it.

Here are several promotional ideas that you can adapt to your location.


The Three–for–Two feature sells groups of three beers to tables of two people. It is designed to encourage diners to sample something new. Start by selecting three special bottled craft beers that you don’t normally sell and price them as a group. Serve them with two 8 oz. glasses. The beers should represent three distinct styles and provide a range of flavors. You might start with something light, like a Kolsch, Pils, American Wheat, or Blonde Ale. Second could be a standard Pale Ale, Saison, or Farmhouse Ale. Last you would amp it up a bit more with an Imperial Pilsner, Imperial Stout, Abbey-style Ale, or a big IPA. Encourage the diners to sample each with various parts of the meal, such as starters, entrees and dessert. Provide the customers a tasting sheet for them to note how the beers tasted with the foods they ordered. The 3–4–2 promotion has the benefit of selling three beers in one sale to two people who might normally have ordered only two drinks.

Taste of Our Town

Partner with local craft brewers to present a special list of locally made brews during the week. Ask the brewers to provide training materials for your staff so they can be prepared to talk up the local specialties. For each local beer you feature, be sure to recommend a food pairing or two from your menu that will show the beer well. If you do not have a brewery in your town, use close by breweries or select a few from your state. Customers enjoy hearing the story of local products.It is again on of the hottest trends in the food industry. Put together a few interesting facts about the brewery and the beers that people don’t likely already know. Distribute these facts printed on a half sheet of paper or let the servers relate them to their customers.

American Craft Beer Pairing Dinner

Certainly one of the hottest features today are prix fixe beer–food pairing dinners. Plan yours to occur during American Craft Beer Week and benefit from the background publicity the week receives in the media. Four courses seem to the sweet spot, but you can always do more or less. Once you decide which beers you will use, we suggest calling the breweries directly and asking their marketing departments to provide you with background information and even food pairing suggestions if you want. If you feature beers of a local brewery, you can often get the brewer to come over and present each beer. Whether you have a professional presenter or not, always have a tasting sheet, listing each beer and food in order served, along with ingredient details and tasting notes on each. We recommend introducing each food course and its paired beer. A chef could do the food intro and your bar manager or sommelier could do the beer. Beer dinners are great slow-night features.

Large Bottle-Rama

Feature a few special craft beers in the larger 22 oz or 750 ml sizes to encourage customers at the table to share a beer. For the larger-size bottles, select beers that are among the most popular styles at your restaurant. Although they taste the same out of 12 oz or 22 oz bottles, customers feel beers are more special when poured from the larger bottles at the table. It elevates the dining experience and makes it more social as couples share a bottle. Provide 8 to 10 oz beer glasses with the large bottles.

East–West Throwdown

Regional stylistic differences in American craft beer can be profitably exploited in the restaurant setting by using the East–West Throwdown.  Review your food menu and select maybe two popular craft beer styles that will each pair well with multiple dishes. We recommend IPA as one. the other might be a Belgian-style ale or an Amber Ale. Next, work with your beer experts and distributors to select two beers to represent each style, one from the West Coast and one from the East. (Or it could be North–South, or even two from different brewers in the same region, such as a Midwest Showdown.) All servers should be trained to know which dishes would pair best with each beer style you offer. Sell the two bottle pair as a package and provide smaller tasting glasses for each customer. Encourage guests to sample both beers with the food they order and to tell the server at the end of the meal which beer won the throwdown and why. This is a very conversational and fun promotion—and educational too, especially for those who are normally not beer drinkers.


These American Craft Beer Week activities are great methods to get your customers thinking and talking about better beers paired with food. They are not only easy and fun, but they also lead to increased craft beer sales. They get participating guests expressing their opinions about beer and food. Nearby tables will notice this and want to participate too.

Additional information on American Craft Beer Week can be found at the


Do something profitable for American Craft Beer Week