2012 July: Commentary

We’ve been discussing craft beer around the Pizza Today office quite a bit recently. You see, as beer enthusiasts many of us have a few favorites that we like to introduce to our friends. More than that, however, we all recognize (like many of you, no doubt) that beer and pizza go along as well as peanut butter and jelly. They were truly meant to be together, it seems.

I know a few pizzeria owners that have breweries on site. In fact, I’m pretty friendly with some of them — they’ve even contributed articles to Pizza Today in the past. Operating a brewery, though, is a monumental task. It takes a significant up-front investment, hoards of space and the expertise of a certified and dedicated brew master. Sounds like too much trouble to the average pizzeria owner to me.

That’s where craft brews come in. While there’s a place for pedestrian budget beers like Budweiser and Coors Light, the real truth of the matter is that the American consumer has become increasingly sophisticated and demanding. Point blank: they want a better beer. And they’re willing to pay for it.

For those of you who offer craft beers in your establishment, I want to hear from you. How many do you carry? Bottle or draft? What’s the markup like? How do you market them? How do you market them without compromising your identity as a pizzeria and not confusing people into thinking you’re a bar? Which specific craft beers are selling the best for you? Why?

If you have opted to stay away from craft beer and only offer the big boys like Bud Light and Corona, why is that? I want to hear insights from you as well.

SLICE OF HOPE UPDATE: I’m pleased to announce that Domino’s Pizza, Tutta Bella Neapolitan Pizzeria, Farrelli’s Wood-Fire Pizza, Smith & Greene Company and Kenda Tires have all once-again decided to be primary sponsors for Slice of Hope 2012. Last year Slice of Hope raised a touch over $100,000 for the Karen Mullen Breast Cancer Foundation. Let’s top that this time around!

A Slice of Hope pledge form is now available at PizzaToday.com (see page 13 of this issue for more information). Simply fill out the aforementioned pledge form and e-mail or fax it in to our attention. We’ll add you to the list of donors that we’ll begin publishing in the magazine each month starting with our next edition.

Slice of Hope is a chance for the pizza industry to come together and collectively fight a common cause. It’s a worthwhile endeavor if ever there was one. Last year approximately 200 pizzerias took part. Pizza Today has 40,000 readers. This industry can do better, and the time is now!

Best, Jeremy White, editor-in-chief jwhite@pizzatoday.com