For many budding restaurateurs, one common consideration is whether or not they should serve beer. Is the business that beer brings to their establishment worth all the extra paperwork? In a nutshell, yes.
That’s because beer is a major part of Pinoy food culture. And because it’s such a big part of our culture, any restaurant that doesn’t serve it could stand to miss out on a lot of positive customer experiences. Here are a few reasons why Filipinos love beer—and why businesses should love it, too.
According to this report, Metro Manila has the second-cheapest average supermarket price for beer in the world at $0.61 (PHP32.36). That low price makes it the most affordable alcoholic drink in the country. And because it’s affordable, it’s also the most accessible beverage. That low price point is what enables consumers to treat their friends to buckets of beer, buy cases for parties, and kill time over a bottle or two at bars. All this makes for very good business, which can peak during the latter part of the year.
"Oktoberfest is one of the most special events that happen yearly and is celebrated by many Filipinos," notes Cheska Alejandro of Bodega Bar and Grill. Beer consumption also goes up during the so-called -ber months "especially in December, maybe because there are a lot of special occasions, or maybe because of the cooler weather," adds Jess Javier of Roadside Bar and Grill, Marikina.
It’s the celebratory drink of choice
How often do you get invited for a beer when a friend feels like celebrating? More so than other beverages like wine, gin, or vodka, beer is the drink most commonly associated with positive vibes. "I've worked abroad and whenever I bring up I'm from the Philippines, they never fail to mention how much they love our beer, especially San Miguel Beer," says Alejandro.
"Amongst Filipinos, it's widely popular as well since it goes great with anything especially the different pulutan dishes several places have to offer. There are so many fond memories where this staple drink is always present, such as birthdays and other special occasions." Because Filipino customers tend to eat out more to celebrate positive reasons than for negative ones, it only makes sense to have their good vibes drink of choice available at most establishments.
It goes great with anything
Unlike other drinks that need to be paired with specific flavors, beer’s taste is crisp and neutral enough that it doesn’t really get into conflict with other strong flavors. No wonder, then, that despite the wide variety of flavors you’ll find in bar chow, you can still enjoy them with a cold brew. And when it comes to the Pinoy’s love for food with very strong flavors, a drink that doesn’t clash with anything on the menu is a must-have for any restaurant.
It’s Pinoy comfort food
For many Filipinos, their first taste of alcohol is beer. It’s cheap, it’s available at virtually every corner store, and it’s extremely refreshing in our tropical climate. Because of all this, we’ve all grown up around beer, whether it’s from watching our dads and uncles sharing a few bottles, or when we ourselves have beers with our college buddies. Beer has a sense of community about it in the Philippines, and that brings with it a level of familiarity and nostalgia that other drinks don’t have. At restaurants, it’s usually the first-to-mind beverage whenever someone is looking for something alcoholic, and that’s because it’s the comfortable choice. "With beer, people tend to loosen up a bit which makes socializing better," notes Javier.
So is beer a mandatory menu item? Not really, but it does give customers more reason to keep coming back to the restaurants that serve them. And if those restaurants serve premium beers—like San Miguel Premium All Malt, Cerveza Negra, and San Miguel Super Dry, which offer rich flavors and unique, elevated drinking experiences—beer means good business.