Beer on tap

Want to tap into your restaurant’s true potential? Then for the next month, make sure you have beer on the brain.

A new restaurant industry forecast report from Upserve, a provider of restaurant POS, payments and analytics software, that studied millions of transactions from thousands of restaurants and bars across the U.S. in 2017 found that March is historically a major month for beer sales.

In fact, the highest beer sales of the entire year happened on March 15, thanks to a perfect storm of March Madness and St. Patrick’s Day festivities.

March Madness beer infographicSt. Patrick’s Day is historically the top holiday for beer, with 2017 sales 19 percent higher than on New Year’s Day, and 22 percent higher than Valentine’s Day. This year, St. Patrick’s Day falls on a Saturday instead of a Friday, so restaurants and bars can expect even higher sales.

College basketball fans also keep beer sales high during March Madness.

In the Northeast, the strongest beer sales of the year took place between March 14 and 20, and averaged 10 percent higher than the remainder of 2017, right in the thick of March Madness game viewing. This region takes its beer drinking so seriously, in fact, that throughout March, restaurants across the U.S. saw a steady increase of nearly 4 percent in food consumption everywhere except the Northeast, where restaurant guests drank more beer, but ordered less food.

beer cheers sports bar

Midwestern diners drive suds sales during this time, consistently spending more on beer than restaurant guests in other regions, but less than anyone else on food. They may spend more than their Midwestern counterparts, but diners in the Northeast also focus more on pints than apps during this timeframe, spending more on booze while seeing a decrease in food sales.  

Elsewhere in the U.S., restaurants saw a steady increase of nearly 4 percent in food consumption in all regions throughout March 2017.

What does that mean for your March beverage strategy? Consider beer and food pairings that will make upselling a slam dunk.

Want more insights like this on beer, wine, liquor and food sales? Download the free restaurant industry forecast report here.

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Meghan is an award-winning journalist and content marketing manager who lives to tell stories. Her favorites include highlighting all things restaurants, from front-of-house hospitality to back-of-house grit. When she's not writing about them, you can find her eating her way through Providence and Boston searching for inspiration with a rye Old Fashioned in hand.