A beer garden is something all beer enthusiasts are excited about. Pubs have turned way too generic, and if you are a frequent visitor, you might be bored of the monotonous ambiance. If you are looking for ways to spice up your beer nights, we have something special for you.
Today, we will talk about beer gardens and how you can set up your own bar in the US.
What Is a Beer Garden?
A beer garden is an outdoor beer bar where you can enjoy some delicious bar snacks and your favorite beer in exotic outdoor seating. The only difference in a beer garden is that the outdoor seating area is usually enclosed by a garden.
Unlike regular beer bars, a beer garden is created with the intent to help people socialize. The tables at traditional bars are typically small to give you a little privacy with your selected company. However, many beer gardens offer long benches like a picnic spot to allow strangers to connect.
– Where Did Beer Garden Originate?
Beer gardens originated from Bavaria, Germany, where breweries started planting trees around their manufacturing units to shield their beers from heat. It started shortly after Germany passed a regulation banning beer production from May to September. This law aimed to reduce fire accidents in breweries caused by overheated coal-driven equipment, which was pretty common in those days.
That’s when they started storing their beers in secret cellars to keep the business running even after the legal period of beer production was over. Since beer ferments better in cooler temperatures, the breweries came up with the plan to surround their cellars with tall trees.
During those times, brewery workers would often sneak out post-working hours and grab a beer in the garden. This inspired the idea of an outdoor Beer bar, aka beer gardens.
The idea of beer gardens soon spread to the USA when German immigrants in the late 19th century brought the concept of an outdoor beer bar amidst a garden to the country.
Contrary to traditional bars that often have a gloomy or dark ambiance, beer gardens provide a much happier spot to sip on your favorite drink.
– Indoor Beer Garden vs Outdoor Beer Garden
A lot of bars claim to have an indoor beer garden. It is usually seen in German-style bars or restaurants that try to imitate a garden-like look within the walls. However, for a beer bar to qualify as a beer garden, it should be strictly outdoors.
Anything enclosed within the walls, regardless of its ambiance, theme, or beer style, cannot be a beer garden.
Opening a Beer Garden in the USA
The idea of having your own beer garden is undoubtedly lucrative. Also, investing in a beer garden can certainly be profitable if done the right way.
Here is a brief guide on everything you need to know about opening a beer garden in the USA.
– Should You Open a Beer Garden?
The first question you might have before you decide to open a beer garden is if it is a profitable domain or not. So here are three reasons why investing in a beer garden will be definitely profitable:
- If you already have a bar or a restaurant, opening up a beer garden adjacent to it will increase your seating capacity. Also, the variety in your bar will help you attract customers with different tastes.
- Since beer gardens are still a new concept and very different from the usual idea of beer bars, they can instantly turn into a popular city hub and attract all the locals looking and tourists.
- Beer gardens are cheaper to build than a traditional bar. After all, you don’t have to construct a lavish property or worry about lighting up each corner of the bar.
– How To Open a Beer Garden
Although it’s an outdoor arrangement, a beer garden is not as simple as setting up a few tables and serving cold beer. Here is a guide on building a beer garden from scratch.
– License & Legalities
Before setting up a beer garden, you need to get a liquor license to proceed with the business. In the USA, a liquor license is issued separately in each state. On average, it costs about $1400 to get a license from your local alcohol control agency.
Once you get all the other business permits like business license, zoning permit, health permit, etc., get your business name trademarked.
Simply setting an outdoor bar does not qualify it as a beer garden. You will have to find a specific location amidst a wide expanse of greenery and tall trees enclosing the central bar spot.
During the Covid-19 lockdown, many bars opened outdoor bars to comply with the Covid-19 regulations and labeled them a beer garden. However, any outdoor seating area not situated amidst a garden is not a beer garden.
– Seating Arrangement
The main idea behind creating a beer garden is to promote social interaction between customers. That’s why traditional beer gardens use long picnic tables with wooden benches for their customers instead of regular bar tables.
However, if you want, you can mix it up a little. You can pair picnic tables and benches with counters and bar stools.
Whichever seating style you choose, just make sure you place the tables close to each other to help the customers interact.
Also, unlike regular bars, beer gardens do not allow individual customers to book a table for themselves. Since you are using long picnic tables, it is natural that one party will not take up the entire space. In that case, you will have to allow other guests to join them.
This rule can be exempted in special cases like birthdays and other celebrations.
– Beer Garden Food
No one likes their alcohol without a side of lip-smacking snacks. To ensure that your customers get the best out of this experience, you must build a mouth-watering menu.
Although traditional beer gardens did not require you to offer food on the menu, modern beer gardens cannot miss out on bar snacks if they want to retain customers.
Many American beer gardens offer regular bar snacks like pretzels, fries, burgers, and wings. However, if you want to recreate an authentic German beer garden menu, make sure you add German-style sausages, Sauerkraut, and Hendl (chicken).
Beers gardens should have a large variety of beverages, including wines and ciders. Speaking about beer, you can experiment with different styles and strengths. After all, customers will treat it as a regular bar and expect to find their favorite brews at your place.
For example, many people enjoy high ABV beers that can get them high quickly, while others prefer a low alcohol content for multiple rounds.
If your bar is located at a popular tourist location, you should stock up on local brews and international labels. One section of the tourists might want to explore the local beers, while others might want to stick to their comfort beers.
Deciding the bar menu isn’t enough; make sure you find a reliable brewery to source the beer and other alcoholic beverages from. The brewery should be licensed and must have a proven record of their experience. We also recommend going on a little tasting tour before finalizing any dealer.
– Kitchen and Other Facilities
If your beer garden is not attached to a regular bar or restaurant, you need to build a workstation for staff and a cellar to store the beer.
Along with that, you will also need to build restrooms for all your guests. These new constructions might require a little legal work, depending on your local laws. It’s best to consult these matters with your builder before you proceed.
– What Is a Biergarten?
A Biergarten is the German pronunciation of a beer garden. These two words are often used interchangeably since they mean the same.
You will find that a beer garden is referred to as a Biergarten in many places. Since the idea of a beer garden emerged from the German state of Bavaria, Biergarten is still a common term.
– What Is Served in a Beer Garden?
A beer garden serves local beers to branded finds and even international labels. The variety of beer found here is unmatchable. Many people believe that beer gardens, being an outdoor eating facility, focus more on the ambiance than on the beer itself. However, you might be surprised to know that they have a vast diversity of brews.
What adds to the experience are the mouth-watering bear snacks that most beer gardens are popular for. You will find plenty of German sausages and salty pretzels along with other quick snacks like burgers, chips, wings, nachos, etc.
Here are some things we have learned today:
- A Biergarten is just the German pronunciation of beer garden.
- To qualify as a beer garden, it should be outdoors. Anything enclosed within the walls cannot be classified as one.
- The usual setup of a beer garden is having multiple picnic tables, benches, and stools to promote casual ambiance and social interaction.
Be it business owners or beer fans, beer gardens are loved by all. They bring a fresh approach to drinking beer in a social space. It also helps you meet more people instead of sitting away in the corner of a dark and dingy traditional bar. After all, beer is best enjoyed with the right company.