After completing its annual “beer review,” popular craft beer restaurant chain Yard House said it will tap 427 new beer brands across its more than 70 U.S. locations beginning March 26.
The California-based restaurant chain’s four-month assessment of its beer list concluded with it swapping out about 20 percent of the more than 9,800 tap handle placements.
“Beer review is a great platform for us to ensure our beer program is relevant by showcasing a spectrum of the best beers currently being produced,” Yard House beverage manager Michael Echeveste told Brewbound via email.
Each Yard House restaurant, which boasts an average of 130 tap handles, will add about 25 new beers to their menus. Those selections will be available through next March, when the next beer review is complete.
“We started with a list of anywhere from 60 to 200 new brands we would consider for every single location and had to trim that down to the 25 average changes we ended up making per location,” Echeveste wrote. “This year we placed the brands we knew were going to be best for the restaurant first then adjusted to ensure our menu had the proper style assortment.”
Among the new draft selections being tapped at Yard House stores in two weeks will be MillerCoors’ Blue Moon Mango Wheat line extension and Boston Beer’s Angry Orchard Rosé Cider. Yard House is also expanding its private label offerings to include a Belgian Pilsner and Belgian Golden.
The more than 400 new offerings were narrowed down from suggestions compiled from employee feedback, guest surveys and sales data. Echeveste told Brewbound that more than 2,300 responses were generated via an employee survey that it dubs “Calling All Beer Geeks.” That feedback showed increased demand for local and hyper-local offerings.
“We see the majority of the requests coming in for new local breweries that we often hear about first from the survey,” he wrote. “Every restaurant has a handful of taps reserved for local beers that these could make their way to.”
Echeveste added that the review allowed Yard House to identify a few style trends and incorporate them into the chain’s menus, including adding a hazy IPA to each store’s beer list. Another style trend being added to Yard House menus are fruited beers, Echeveste wrote.
“We see that our guests gravitate to IPAs and ciders with fruit adjuncts, so we are starting to offer fruited wheat beers, pilsners and sours to follow that trend,” he wrote. “It’s a great way to rediscover a style someone might be familiar with or branch out into a style that might be more difficult to approach.”
One example, Echeveste said, is Petrus Passion Fruit Sour, which he called a great Belgian sour, which with the addition of fruit, becomes very approachable.” That ale will be offered throughout the chain in its Belgian 6-pack series.
Other additions will rotate on a monthly basis through Yard House’s Chalkboard Series, which is reserved for seasonal and special release beers.