A Brandon, Man. restaurant has come up with a crafty way to get people to drink more local beer.
A can of Bud Light at Prairie Firehouse will now cost you $15, double the price of nearly all other beers on the menu. Bud Light sells roughly for $2 a can in the beer vendor.
“I wanted to do as much as I could help other entrepreneurs making craft beers and taking so much time to find the right barley and hops and malts to make their beer as good as they make it,” Anna Dumas, the restaurant’s owner told Global News.
The restaurant, inside of an old fire hall, has been open for just over two years but only made the pricing change to Bud Light in November once the customer base grew.
“I have had people think it’s a joke and then get their bill, get upset about it when my server has made it very clear,” Dumas said, adding her staff, after explaining the beer menu to customers, have heard it all.
“Some people think it’s a wonderful idea and try some new beers…I have also had people walk out of the restaurant and tell me they are never coming back,” Dumas said. “They are not my clientele. I want people who want to support the local community. Brandon is very local. We get our produce and meats from local producers and I support them.”
Since making the change Dumas figures she only sells around five cans of Bud Light a week, down from the roughly 100 cans before the price adjustment.
Prairie Firehouse has at least 20 types of beer on the menu. There are the staples suds Guinness and Stella Artois, craft beer from across the country like Lake of the Woods Brewing Company, as well as offerings from Manitoba breweries including Torque, Farmery and Little Brown Jug. A 473 ml can of Torque’s What The Helles Lager costs $7.
“Once more breweries in Winnipeg are able to produce enough to get out to Brandon then I will definitely carry their beers as well,” Dumas said.
Dumas said one of the biggest rewards is seeing some of her customers’ drinking habits change.
“All of our regulars have started to get better taste buds. It’s nice seeing the transition in them buying more craft and local beer instead of buying Bud.”
Dumas doesn’t anticipate other Brandon restaurants will follow suit but hopes businesses in larger cities will try something similar.
“It’s to get people out of their comfort zone,” she said. “If you are given the opportunity to try something, you might choose another beer and help out another local entrepreneur or local company that should be getting the money towards the economy instead of the big companies that don’t need the money.”