Rotation nation is alive and well. Popular craft-centric chain Yard House, which operates 63 restaurants across the U.S. and boasts an average of 130 tap handles per location, this week announced plans to evolve its beer program by adding nearly 1,600 new draft offerings.
Beginning March 28, The California-based on-premise retailer, which recently completed its annual “beer review,” said it would tap an average of 20 to 30 new beers per restaurant.
More than 50 percent of those offerings will appear on a Yard House menu for the first time and “local brews played a pivotal role” in the assessment, the company added.
“It’s an intense — yet very thoughtful — process we undergo each year,” beverage manager Gregory Howard said via a statement. “Our Beer Review process takes approximately three months to complete. During this time we talk to local distributors, our own server and bartender teams as well as the brewers themselves to find out what is new and what is being called for in each location.”
Howard said there was “a huge call” for the company to focus more heavily on local and regional craft brands, and Yard House responded by tapping “more local beers than ever before.”
“What you’ll find is a much more interesting and defined beer menu with each location having its own distinct list of the best local, regional and imported brands available,” Howard said in the press release.
The annual review also helped the company identify a few noteworthy style trends. IPA is still one of Yard House most popular styles, but “sour beers are on the rise,” the company said.
Many of the new beers being added to the menu as a result of the beer review will be featured in the company’s “Chalkboard Series,” which is reserved for seasonal and small-batch selections.
“Of course, each Yard House will have a couple of taps that are exclusive to that particular location,” Howard said.
So how did Yard House zero in on all of its new choices? The restaurant’s review process began with feedback from customers, servers and team members from each location — everyone from “dishwashers to general managers” helped compile “wish lists,” the company said.
Armed with suggestions, the corporate beverage team met and tasted more than 1,000 beers from around the world to determine which new beers would get programmed in for 2016.