Beer Basics, because information is power!

Understanding your product(s) is a key ingredient to increasing your sales, When your staff are well versed in the products they sell, it gives them a huge advantage. When they truly understand the products they are providing guests, they can turn that knowledge into revenue, through suggestive selling.

While hospitality is the driving force in our business, we can not forget that we are selling products!

So for a bit of fun, and education here are some beer basics to pass along to your staff…

What is beer?  Beer is the fermented, alcoholic product, made with the careful combination of water, malt, hops, and yeast. That’s it. Okay, so hops weren’t always included in the mix, but have become common place in today’s craft beer industry.

What are the different “types” of beer?  Beer traditionally consisted of two types (Ales and Lagers), over the years that expanded to include Malts and Stouts. 

Ø  Ales: Full bodied, with hints of fruit or spice, and hoppy finish. Ale is the oldest form of beer, and has been described as “thirst quenching”.  There are 11 styles of ale including Brown Ale, Pale Ale, IPA (India pale ale), Cask Ale.

Ø  Lagers: The most commonly known beer style in North America.  Lagers are crisp, light and refreshing. There are 3 styles of lager including Pale, Vienna, and Dark.

Ø  Malts: generally sweet and contain hints of caramel, toffee, and nuts.  They are generally dark in colour. Malts generally have a lower alcohol content.

Ø  Stouts: A dark beer, with strong flavor.  Stouts come in 8 varieties including, Milk, Dry Irish, Porter, Oatmeal, Chocolate, Oyster, Imperial, and Baltic Porter.  The most common variety is a Dry Irish Stout.

What are the different “styles” of beer?  On top of beer types, most beer will also be described by its style. Because of the specific nature of Lagers and Stouts, these styles with most often be used when describing Ales.

Ø  Amber: Full bodied, malt aromas and hints of caramel. You may see this style in either an Ale or a Lager.

Ø  Blonde: Pale in color, crisp and dry. These tend to have low to medium bitterness and hoppy aromas and slight sweetness.

Ø  Brown: Amber or brown in color, with evidence of caramel and chocolate.  These will have a slight hints of citrus or malt depending on where they are made.

Ø  Cream: A mild, sweetish golden style ale.

Ø  Dark: Generally a British ale that combines malt, hops, and yeast.  It will be chestnut brown in color and tends to have a slightly fruity smell.

Ø  Pale: Copper colored style with a robust flavor.

Ø  Strong: This is a broad style that can include any beer over 7% alcohol volume. They tend to be darker ales or IPA’s.

Ø  Wheat: Light and easy to drink with little after taste. Can sometimes be hazy with a touch of spice. These beers are often served with a citrus fruit (orange, lemon, or grapefruit)

Ø  Red: Red to brown in color, heavy in flavor with a hoppy caramel taste.

Ø  IPA: A hoppy version of a pale ale. Originally brewed in England.

Ø  Pilsner: Golden in color, dry and crisp – Pilsners are a Lager.

Ø  Golden: Straw in color with a light crisp citrus note.

Ø  Honey: Full bodied, creamy and slightly sweet.

Ø  Fruit: Most fruit beers are ales, and flavoring depends on the variety.


So you want to buy a bar?

So you want to buy a bar… Maybe you want to own a place where everyone knows your name, or you are looking for a fun business venture. Owning a bar isn’t always cause for celebration; there’s definitely a serious side.

Being a bar owner can mean crazy hours, giving up your weekends and dealing with the occasional unruly customer. Competition is tough in this industry; but owning a bar can also be a successful enterprise if you are prepared, and ready to put in the work.

Here are some things to consider before purchasing a bar:

Do you have a hospitality based mentality?

Even if you don’t plan to tend bar yourself, you need to be a people person to be successful in the bar industry. After all this business is all about hospitality.

In the bar business we don’t sell drinks, we sell an experience.  You need to be ready to create that experience, and surround yourself with staff and managers who have the same mentality.

What kind of bar is right for you?

There are many different types of bars, from the local neighborhood bar, wine bars, nightclubs, microbrews or traditional pub or sports bar.

The type of bar you choose will directly relate to your planning and budget.  You need to understand how the type and theme of your bar will impact your design, marketing and strategies.  

Understand your target market?

The industry has a high failure rate, so it’s important to identify your target marget early. Does the bar you are considering have a concept (or are you creating one), what are the demographics of your location, and what surrounding areas are you drawing from… these are just some of the questions you need to ask yourself before diving in.  

What’s in a name?

The name of your bar should portray concept. If you need to rename the bar you buy make sure you put some real thought into it.  Ask yourself some questions…

• How does the name fit with your concept?
• What type of customer does it appeal to?
• What expectations does the name imply to customers?
• Is this name easy for customers to remember and then find online?

Do you have enough capital to keep the business going?

Most bars fail due to being underfunded. I strongly recommend having enough money on hand to operate for a year including at least 6 months of rent and operating expenditures.  Insure that you have a good working relationship with your bank, and if you are self-financing have a solid financial plan in place far in advance of purchase.

Marketing the bar!

It’s important to get buzz going about your bar.  Marketing can be a challenging beast.  Insure you have a strong social media presence (hire someone with experience), get involved with the community (be visible to your demographic), and make sure you have allotted a decent marketing budget!

 Understand bar trends

Stay up to date on the latest industry trends.  What’s trending in your direct area? What’s going on nationally, or internationally?  How can you leverage these trends to grow your business?  Never stop learning!

This is not a business to get into if you are just looking to have a place to hang out. It can be stressful, and challenging; but it can also be incredibly rewarding and fun. 

For more information on buying a new bar, or driving success in your current business, we offer a free initial consultation. 

Ron M. Brown – Owner/Consultant



I wanted to take a moment and thank you for visiting our website. As a team we take great pride in developing programs and services to meet our clients needs. We look forward to helping you make your dreams a reality.

I will update this blog as often as possible with tips. advise, and fun facts to help you grow your business… stay tuned.

Ron M. Brown - Owner/Consultant