2016 has been a tough year for Buffalo Wild Wings. Though every Sunday, commercials paint BW3 as the destination to watch the NFL (“Buffalo Wild Wings: You have to be here”), same-store sales have been on the decline. Still, the restaurant chain gained some serious yardage in the third-quarter of this year, thanks in large to a secret weapon: craft beer.
According to the Motley Fool, the company’s shares rebounded by roughly 20 percent in a report last month. And while a couple new promotional campaigns may have something to do with the turnaround—who can say no to "Half-Priced Wing Tuesday, or a 15-minute “FastBreak Lunch”?—but BW3 has also been turning to its beer taps to help rejuvenate its business model.
Earlier this month, Buffalo Wild Wings introduced “Fandom Ale,” a beer made by Lagunitas Brewing Co. exclusively for the chicken wing chain. The beer came from a survey of Wild Wings customers that said they wanted "balanced, easy-drinking beers with full flavor,” as well as wheat beers and pale ales. As it turns out, Lagunitas already has a program called "Fusion,” which created limited-edition, small batch brews by blending various styles of beer.
Ultimately, Fandom Ale was born.
"We worked to come up with something approachable, interesting and fun for sports fans," Karen Hamilton, Lagunitas director of communications, told the Motley Fool. "We're excited that Fandom Ale will be the first Fusion to be distributed to every state in the country."
To be fair, beer has always been a huge component of Buffalo Wild Wing’s identity. According to the Motley Fool, the chain is already the largest pourer of draft beer in the country, and liquor makes up roughly 20 percent of the company’s revenue. But only recently has BW3 turned to more artisanal brews. In addition to Lagunitas, the company has also forged successful collaborations with Redhook Ale Brewery for “Game Changer Ale.”
Though Buffalo Wild Wings has often considering brewing its own beer, so far, collaborating craft companies has turned out to be a winning formula amid an otherwise disappointing year.
[via Motley Fool]