Think Like a Local: Why You Should Be Giving Your Beverage Selection the Local Treatment

Jun. 4, 2018

There is a thirst out there for local products. While the “support local” trend has been abuzz over the last five years, it has recently reached new levels of importance to your customers. In fact, sixty-two percent of consumers are more likely to buy food and beverages described as local, and 57% seek out restaurants offering locally sourced products, according to Technomic, Inc., Chicago. 

Need more proof that your customers are going out of their way to buy locally produced products? According to the National Restaurant Association’s (NRA) 2016 Restaurant Industry Forecast, 68 percent of consumers say they’re more likely to visit a bar or restaurant serving locally sourced items than one that doesn’t. Broken down by gender, 73 percent of women and 63 percent of men say they’d go to an account offering local options.

The importance of carrying locally produced products has never been more important, and it is a consumer buying trend that is not predicted to fade away. Quite the opposite actually, as local food and drinks are forecasted to generate $20.2 billion in sales by 2019, up from $11.7 billion in 2014, according to Packaged Facts, a market research firm.

To get more insight on what this consumer trend means for your business, and how you can take advantage of it when building your beverage selection, we spoke with Breakthru Beverage Group's Regional Director, Craft and Emerging Spirits, Andy Izeluk.

Breakthru: How do you define “local” when talking to a customer or consumer about a beer, wine or spirit?

Andy Izeluk: Defining “local” is kind of like trying to define what “craft” is. Everyone has their own definition and there is no right or wrong answer. To me, local does not just mean a physical destination in the neighborhood, it is more so about bringing the sense of community to life within that beverage. After taking that first sip, it is like you are brought back to the source of where the product was made.

Why should our customers add local products to their beverage selection?

Buying locally produced items helps everyone out! It is almost like the customer has a sense of involvement and pride when a product comes from their hometown or home state. Think of it as rooting for the underdog—we all want to see them win and we all have the opportunity to help them win with a purchase of their product. When they win, our commitment to the brand becomes that much more invested.

Have you seen an increase of interest in locally produced beer, wine or spirits in the marketplace?

The rise of locally produced items is pretty astonishing. Each town or state has the “originator” which usually becomes the staple local product. However, after others start seeing the success around those brands, others want a piece of the pie. When others come along it just makes everyone better and fight harder for that business. The more the merrier, I say. We have really started to see some unique products come to fruition that would have not surfaced without the competition mentality.

Give your customers the local treatment and add some locally made beverages to your menu. According to the NRA, your competitors already are, as ninety-two percent of fine-dining restaurateurs say they plan to add a locally sourced item to their menus this year. And it’s not only fine-dining restaurants thinking local: 73 percent of casual, 63 percent of fast-casual, 50 percent of family-dining and 35 percent of quick-service operators plan to do the same.

Contact your Breakthru Beverage Sales Consultant today to keep up with the local movement.

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