Thoughtful draft beer selections can create a good deal of potential and member satisfaction.
For servers and bartenders, one of the most commonly asked questions they hear from members is, “What do you have on draft?”
The answer has evolved over the past decade. It’s transitioned from laundry lists of big-brand domestics and imports to more eclectic selections, featuring local and craft breweries, as well as styles most members had barely heard of a handful of years ago.
As a member, it can be overwhelming to know where to start to navigate the world of “new” beer. As a buyer, trying to navigate the sea of available choices can be downright exhausting (fun and tasty, but exhausting, nonetheless).
For a club with twelve draft lines, a well-curated list would feature a wide variety of styles and breweries. The equation would involve: some combination of an IPA (or three); a stout or porter; a sour/tart/”funky thang”; something light, like a lager or pilsner; a more malty brown, red or amber option; maybe a session pale ale or IPA for good measure (and prime afternoon drinkability); and rounding everything out with a heavy, boozy option.
Many clubs, however, can’ t boast about having 12, 20, or 40 draft lines, like many pubs and restaurants. So the selection has to be pared down significantly. But with even the smallest draft system, thoughtful choices can create a good deal of potential.
Ross Jones, Clubhouse Manager at Vineyard Golf Club (VGC), in Edgartown, Mass., recently made the move from The Quechee Club in Vermont, which housed three bars and a whopping 30 draft lines. VGC, which is located on Martha’s Vineyard, has just four.
As a result, Jones has made some careful changes to VGC’s draft program since coming on board, including introducing craft selections on three of the lines. The members’ response has been great.
“Our draft beer sales are highest in our casual dining area as well as on the porch, overlooking the golf course,” says Jones. “We feature a lineup consisting of Stella Artois—because it’s easily recognizable and a member favorite—on one line. The other three are used for a rotating selection from Lawson’s Finest Liquids in Vermont, a seasonal beer from a regional brewery, and a beer from Bad Martha Brewery, which is located on the island and owned by one of our members.”
Jones is hoping to add more draft lines in the near future, as members return to casual dining and craft beer sales increase.
“Draft beer is being called upon with greater frequency,” says Jones. “This makes even a small system upgrade seem like a worthwhile investment.”