Food Trucks and Breweries: A Symbiotic Relationship

Since the beginning of time, good food has often been accompanied by a good beer. One way to improve a fantastic meal is to pair it with a beer, complementing the two tastes, and making a meal better than it could have been with just one or the other. This unbeatable combination is exemplified in the relationship between food trucks and breweries. Food trucks have a perfect niche in the growing microbrewery scene. Most local breweries do not want to be tied down by the regulations and the hassles that are associated with serving food, which allows both parties to perfect their craft. Breweries and food trucks use cross marketing and word of mouth from their loyal followings to create business for both parties involved.

This relationship allows for a lot of flexibility for both parties. Lizard Tail Brewing is a local brewery that is a great example of this. Lizard Tail hosts a couple of food trucks every week on Wednesday and Thursday nights. Two local favorites that frequent the bar are The Blazing Barn and Nomad’s BBQ. Lizard Tail started out as a pub with food, but owner Daniel Berry soon realized that there were only a couple of nights that were worth it to have food. Employing a kitchen staff can be pricey, and a food truck is a far better alternative for serving food a couple of nights a week. Daniel states that with the number of restaurants surrounding the brewery’s location in the Northeast Heights, serving food every night just wasn’t feasible. Lizard Tail Brewing focuses its effort on producing a delicious variety of beers, while the rotating food trucks focus on creating delicious meals for any hungry patron; a win-win for both the vendors and the customers.

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Some delicious samples from Lizard Tail Brewing. Photo credit: Jonathan Kane

Another local brewery that has had similar results is Red Door Brewing. Red Door schedules one food truck a day, letting the food trucks reach out to them and then scheduling based on seniority and reliability. The loose arrangement they have with food trucks allows them to simplify their business and focus on what is important to them: the beer. Matt Biggs of Red Door Brewing states that the food trucks benefit as they have a place with guaranteed foot traffic to serve their food, while the brewery doesn’t have to worry about serving food.

Focusing on either serving beer or serving food frees up both businesses. In order to serve beer in the state of New Mexico, a business might have to get a retailer license, a wholesale license, a manufacturers license, a restaurant beer and wine license, or some combination of both. The brewery taking on this responsibility frees the food truck to pick up the responsibility of serving food. In order for a food truck to serve food that is cooked onsite at a brewery, the food truck must get a mobile food unit permit. In order to procure this license a business must jump through multiple hoops, such as passing inspection of not only the menu but the vehicle as well. The license is up for renewal every year, so mobile food units must stay on top of keeping their unit up to code. As the regulations associated with serving both food and beer can often be constraining, the collaborative efforts between food trucks and breweries provide an excellent solution for all parties involved.

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Ribs from the Blazing Barn. Photo credit: Blazing Barn

A benefit of the rotating schedule that food trucks follow is that the fans of the food trucks may rotate breweries in order to follow their favorite food trucks. As both the breweries and food trucks have their respective regular customer base, this is a perfect opportunity for them to cross market. Matt Biggs of Red Door Brewing states that the rotation of food trucks creates the perfect atmosphere for cross marketing of all businesses involved. If someone really likes a brewery he will be exposed to multiple food trucks and vice versa for fans of food trucks. This allows for local business to flourish, with word of mouth spreading positive dining and drinking experiences. When I find a brewery or food truck that I really like, I expose my friends and family to that business by word of mouth, which goes for anything that I like. Word of mouth is what brewer Daniel Berry finds as one of the most useful marketing strategies, creating business for both industries.

Overall the relationship between breweries and food trucks is complementary. It allows breweries to focus on beer and food trucks to focus on food. The rotating schedule of food trucks creates valuable cross marketing. The focused efforts of both industries is a perfect match. The result is a culmination of flavors to please even the pickiest of eaters.

-Posted by Jonathan K.

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