Cheers April/May 2018

Cheers is dedicated to delivering hospitality professionals the information, insights and data necessary to drive their beverage business by covering trends and innovations in operations, merchandising, service and training.

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Page 13 of 59 14 • April/May 2018 DRINK CULTURE Cheers Q&A Brittany DeLoach, Hard Rock International Brittany DeLoach is the new director of beverage operations for Hard Rock International, which just relocated from Orlando, FL, to Hollywood, FL. Cheers recently caught up with her to see how the gig was going so far. When did you start at Hard Rock International, and where did you work previously? I joined Hard Rock International as director of beverage op- erations in October 2017. Prior to overseeing Hard Rock's beverage program, I worked for 13 years in a variety of bev- erage positions at Bloomin' Brands restaurants. What was your first job in the beverage or hospitality industry? My first job was a bartending position at a high-volume exe- cution restaurant in Jacksonville Beach, FL. As a bartender, I became accustomed to everything that goes on behind the scenes to successfully operate a restaurant and bar. It was from there that I truly began to develop an appreciation for the beverage industry. Hard Rock operates 180 cafes, 24 hotels and 11 casinos in 75 countries. Do the beverage selections or preferences vary much by region and/or country? The core of Hard Rock's award-winning drink menu is consistent across all locations. As Hard Rock continues to evolve, we are exploring ways to differentiate our menu geographically, while still offering the signature drinks and cocktails that consumers love. Do most guests expect to see something different on the drink menu at the hotel/casino locations, or do they look for their familiar favorites? My area of focus is creating new, unique, lim- ited-time-offer cocktails and elevating our signature drink offerings at Hard Rock Cafe locations. I've found that guests are open to ex- ploring new LTOs, but they also have a strong appreciation for signature favorites like our Hurricanes or Mojitos—who can say no to rum?! You held Hard Rock's fifth annual global BARocker Championship in February. What surprised you most out the bartending competition's final judging and contenders? It was great to see the passion that Hard Rock's bartenders have for their craft and seeing their individual energy shine through in the competition. My favorite part of the BARocker Championship was witnessing the comradery and together- ness that our bartenders from all over the world displayed. What do you have planned for the beverage program at Hard Rock—any new initiatives or cocktails you could share? We just concluded our New Year, New Fresh Flavors Beverage Spotlight, which featured fresh, authentic ingredients in handcrafted cocktails to kick off 2018. Hard Rock guests should expect to see continued innovations throughout the year with a focus on new flavors, upgraded presentation and subtle twists on our classic and signature cocktails. What's currently your favorite cocktail at Hard Rock? My favorite has always been the Hurricane—it's iconic to Hard Rock and perfect any time of year. The Hurricane has a great balance between fruit and spirit that all mix together in perfect harmony. There's also something so inviting about the vibrant color of the drink when served in the souvenir glass—it's highly photogenic! THE BRASS TAP SHARES BEER/ GIRL SCOUT COOKIE PAIRINGS When Girl Scout cookie season hits, The Brass Tap restaurant chain gears up to offer craft beer pairings with the specialty baked goods. It's not a system-wide or mandatory offer, says Matthew Stock, The Brass Tap's beer specialist. But in the past two or three years, a number of the Tampa, FL-based chain's nearly 50 bars in 22 states have done beer pairings with certain Girl Scout cookies. Many participating Brass Tap locations will offer craft beer flights of four 5-oz. pours paired with four cookies. The flight is priced at $10, the cookies are complimentary. The promotions might be held on a specific night, or for a week or so during cookie season. The offer is a good way for Brass Tap to showcase local beer, which is the chain's cornerstone: Each store has 60 draft lines, about half of which pour beer from local breweries. And since the Girl Scout cookie season runs roughly from January through April, the beer pairings also provide a reason to get guests to come in during what can be a slow time of year. There's often a lull "after football season ends and before the spring seasonal beers come out," he notes. How does The Brass Tap approach the spe- cific beer/cookie combinations? Stock says that while beer pairings follow the basic principals of wine pairings, matching beer with food is more inventive. That's because there are so many more ingredients and flavors with brews. You can pair like flavors or go for contrasts. Take the venerable Thin Mint Girl Scout cookie. Chocolate flavors come up in a lot of styles of craft beer, Stock says, such as porter. Girl Scout Pairings continued on Page 16

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