As consumer awareness of craft beer and food pairings continues to evolve, the Boston Beer Company has partnered with two restaurant chains in an effort to present its brews to a broader base of customers.
Last week, the maker of Samuel Adams unveiled a partnership with a Northborough, Mass.-based Italian restaurant chain, Bertucci’s, which specializes in brick oven pizzas. The menu pairs four seasonal and specialty pizzas with four different Samuel Adams brews and is being offered at all 92 Bertucci’s locations along the eastern seaboard.
“We’ve been working for years to elevate craft beer and give it a rightful place at the dinner table, both locally in Boston and across the country,” said Jessica Paar, a senior public relations manager for Boston Beer. “When Bertucci’s approached us and asked for our help pairing Samuel Adams beers with their new specialty pizza menu, our brewers couldn’t wait to jump in and lend their expertise.”
Bertucci’s hadn’t initially planned to offer Samuel Adams beers exclusively. The new pairing menu was originally an effort to extend a recently-introduced craft beer program that launched this past summer.
But the pairing of the two organizations also illustrates one of the problems that chains — with their group buying practices across widespread locations — can have when they try to incorporate craft beer chain-wide.
“The concept wasn’t ‘let’s find a beer company to partner with’,” said Skip Weldon, Bertucci’s Chief Marketing Officer. “We sought out to find the best beers to pair with our pizzas, and the more we got to know the Samuel Adams brand and their approach to beer making, the more it made sense to create an entire promotion with them.”
Weldon said it was also important to find a partner that could not only fill the orders Bertucci’s placed but also meet the challenge of distributing to all of its locations – something some smaller craft players couldn’t do.
“We wanted to have one fully integrated promotion,” he said. “We knew we could get promotional awareness by focusing on beers that can be distributed throughout the entire system as opposed to creating it restaurant by restaurant.”
To help promote the new pairing menu, Bertucci’s has created radio commercials and a series of digital videos – available on the company’s youtube page – that speak to the partnership with Boston Beer.
The Bertucci’s promotion isn’t the only restaurant-focused marketing partnership Boston Beer has explored in 2012. They recently partnered with nationwide casual dining chain Red Robin to offer a “21 and over” milkshake made with Samuel Adams Octoberfest. The brewing company has also entered into a number of additional co-branding opportunities this year, including partnerships with the Boston Athletic Association on 26.2 Brew, wedding web site TheKnot.com on a Brewlywed Ale and Berkshire Mountain Distillers to co-produce a whiskey from Samuel Adams Boston Lager and Cinder Bock brands. Those offerings will be ready for release by 2015.
The pairing menu is currently available at all Bertucci’s locations through the end of November.