| Photo: Buffalo Wild Wings
Craft beer at corporate chains? It may seem a bit like an oxymoron, but a lot of restaurants could learn a lesson from national eatery Buffalo Wild Wings.
Franchises in the Buffalo Wild Wings family are able to stock whichever beers they like, so when Sam Hookway took over as bar manager at the Indianapolis location back in February, he had one thing in mind: "to have the best draft beer selection in the city."
Since the restaurant is part of a large, nationwide chain, Coors, Miller and Bud Light will probably always top the Buffalo sales list, but Hookway saw opportunities in other areas: "I got rid of beers like Peroni and Molson, which aren't that different from the other light lagers we sell."
The plan has worked: About half the beer they sell is craft, enticing patrons who might otherwise not frequent such an establishment. And how about beer lovers who scoff at the notion of sipping indie suds on a corporate-controlled stool? "That's a battle I've been trying to fight," Hookway says.