Peanut Pairing: Offering Beer Drinkers a New Snack Experience

Take a moment and think about a master brewer for a moment. Let’s say this master brewer has worked for countless hours to develop a rich, flavorful stout. He or she has worked incredibly hard because he wants you, the consumer, to experience the coffee nib, chocolate, and creaminess that are the hallmarks of this style of beer. The master brewer had an idea for what he wanted you to experience but, if you taste it with the wrong food item, all of those ideas are out the window.

That master brewer is the inspiration behind Nuts for Drinks, a new product from Adam Rozen, the former owner of SmartBar.

The concept of snacks with beer certainly isn't new; people like to eat when they have a drink. In fact, even the concept of selling nuts in bars is not a brand-new one. Pubs in England – from utter dives to upscale high-end venues – have been selling bags of peanuts for decades upon decades. However, the peanuts on sale in pubs are, according to Adam, lousy nuts anyone can buy for the equivalent of 99 cents in any grocery store. Of course, the pubs sell these for what is equal to 3 or 4 dollars in America. Adam believes the shift towards nuts as a premium concept will begin in America.

“We’re following a movement: people shifting to craft beer,” Adam says. “The craft beer industry is booming.”

Nuts for Drinks is much more than just flavored nuts: they’re a beer enhancement food product.

Nuts for Lager, for example, features bold chutney tropical flavors with lingering spicy character which pairs well with lager-style beers.

Nuts for IPA, on the other hand, have a distinctive taste of rosemary and grapefruit designed to enhance the typical aromas of pine, citrus, and resin, and tropical flavors that make up the IPA profile.

Nuts for Stout, the flavor that pairs with Adam’s favorite style of beer, embraces the roasted coffee, dark chocolate and molasses flavors inherent to porters and stouts.

The newest Nuts for Drinks product, Nuts for Wheat Ale, is characterized by sweet tropical banana-like flavors, warm baking spices and hints of orange peel.

“The more selection you can offer your customer puts you in a better position,” says Adam, who plans to develop more recipes for Nuts for Drinks.

It used to be that you would sit at the bar with a beer and think, “Well, I’ll have some chips or peanuts.” These days, our more educated guests are thinking about snacks more, approaching them more as pairings.

“There are big things happening and we just happen to be here with something unique,” Adam says. “When you introduce it to the right people it makes so much sense for them.”

When Adam Rozen owned SmartBar he attended and sponsored hundreds of events. What he saw made no sense to him: brewers, distillers and mixologists launching beers, spirit and cocktails with no regard to the food being passed. It was frustrating to Adam that people would work so hard to produce and introduce a beer but didn’t think about the food people would be eating when trying it. The wrong foods never enhanced the beverages, they only detracted from the entire experience.

“There has to be a better way,” he said.

Adam sold SmartBar just over 2 years ago and, as with most entrepreneurs, started working on his next project immediately after the sale. He worked on recipes for a year, taking time to develop the recipes that would become Nuts for Drinks and enhance the flavor of beers. He took another 3 months conducting real-world testing in bars, breweries and other venues to dial in the recipes. It has all paid off: Disney World features Nuts for Drinks inside some of their venues. The entertainment behemoth suggests Nuts for Drinks on their drink menus with tasting notes.

Nuts for Drinks reflects beer down to the packaging: there are 6 bags of nuts in 1 display and 4 displays in each case for a total of 24 bags.

“The route to market, that was another layer of development. ‘Who’s going to take us to market?’” Adam asked himself. “And for me, at all times, my vision was the beer guys, not the snack guys. Even though it’s a snack, it’s such a beer product in so many ways that a beer guy will be able to sell it better because he’ll appreciate what we’re doing. Also, we want it next to the beer; we don’t want to be in the snack aisle, we want to be in the beer aisle.”

They’ve signed up beer distributors all over the country, and they’re doing it by making contact in person with the beer distributors. Nuts for Drinks is so innovative and pairs so well with various styles of beer that they walk away with deals from distributors that say they don’t sell snacks. While this is due to the quality of their recipes and also the experience it offers guests, it’s also because they speak the language of the beer world. Nuts for Drinks reflects beer down to the packaging: there are 6 bags of nuts in 1 display and 4 displays in each case for a total of 24 bags.

“What we’re bringing to the bar is a win-win-win,” Adam says. “We’re bringing the bar a new experience, the guest something for which they’re happy to pay, and a new revenue source.”

Nuts for Drinks fulfills a need: the vast majority of bars no longer offer bowls of nuts or other snacks. This is due partially to costs and partially to health concerns. Let’s face it, nobody wants to put their hands into a bowl of snacks that someone else has had their fingers in, and then put that snack in their mouth). People are sensitive about germs. The solution, however, isn’t to just do away with bar snacks, says Adam.

“Don’t take snacking away from the bar! People want to snack when they drink. Rather than take that away from them, give them a viable option. Give them a nut menu and they’ll make the assumption that this is something premium, this is something different; they don’t expect to get this for free.”

The nuts are certainly a premium product. They’re baked rather than fried, a healthier option. And the coating of spices is delivered in layers and delivered as a protein. Nuts for Drinks are an upscale, healthy snack that enhance the beer experience. Even better, their products also pair with wines and spirits. Lager pairs with white wines, Stout with red wines and brown spirits, Wheat Ale goes with sparkling wines and tropical drinks, and IPA pairs nicely with white spirits. Don’t miss out on this innovative revenue stream – order your Nuts for Drinks Starter Kit and taste the innovation for yourself!

On the lookout for inventive products that will attract more guests to your bar? Register now for the 2016 Nightclub & Bar Show!


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