How do you design a brewery menu?
Designing menus and graphics in-house is a great way to save, but hiring a designer streamlines the process. If you decide to do do-it-yourself, use design software like Adobe Creative Suite, Canva, or Powerpoint to create designs with a professional finish.
Whether doing it yourself or working with a designer, keep these design best practices in mind. Our brewery menu templates can help you to get started.
How to Create a Brewery Menu
You can see the dark, wooden barrels of ale lining your walls, hear the swooshing sound of cans opening and the clink of glasses, you can almost feel the bubble and snap of the hops dancing inside the pints as customers carry them across the floor, mingling and laughing – your dream brewery coming to life in your imagination. You’re ready to open up the establishment you’ve always wanted – but first, you’ll need one very important component: your menu.
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Brewery Menu Design Best Practices
From your colors, design, composition, and layout, to prices, item descriptions, and visual components, for printed or digital versions, and more, these next 10 steps, along with resources like these menu design best practices, will help guide you through everything you need to know. The process of designing your menu is also an opportunity to determine how you’ll communicate and engage with your customers, influence their behavior, build relationships and drive business. Let’s get into it!
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How to Make a Brewery Menu
Write out all menu items
First, take note of all the items you’re planning to include on your menu. As you move through the rest of your menu design process, it’ll be important to refer back to this list to complete steps later on, like determining the prices of your menu items, drafting your menu descriptions, organizing your layout, and more.
Make sure to include everything that might be available to order from your brewery — not only your bottles, cans, and beers on draft, but also any bar food, snacks, and non-alcoholic beverages you might be planning to offer.
We’d recommend using an organizing tool, like an Excel sheet, Google document, or even a pen and paper for this step, but feel free to take whatever approach works best for you.
Categorize menu items
Once you have your list of items, it’ll be important to think about how you want to categorize them. This will determine how they show up on your brewery menu. Maybe you’ll organize your beers by their type, categorizing your menu sections into lagers, stouts, ales, and IPAs. Maybe it’ll make more sense to organize your items by how they’re served, sorting by bottles, cans, and beers on draft. If you’re only offering light snacks, maybe your food will all appear in the same category. If you’re planning to serve full meals, however, maybe you’ll want to break your food sections up by appetizers, entrees, sides, and anything else your customers might be able to buy.
Consider how many sections you’re planning to include on your menu, and how many items will be under each — the size of your categories, and therefore their sections on your menu, will help you figure out your menu spacing and layout down the road, including how to maximize space and enable your menu to flow well for your reader.
Set menu prices
The next step is determining how much to charge for each item on your menu. This shouldn’t be an arbitrary process — while your prices can and should reflect the unique value and experience of visiting your brewery, there are some common factors that are helpful to consider across the board when it comes to pricing calculations.
For example, who are you trying to reach? What does your ideal customer look like, and how will your prices encourage your target market to visit your establishment? What does your competition look like, and how will you ensure your prices remain competitive compared to other breweries in your area, or your offerings high quality enough to justify higher costs?
Additionally, what are your revenue goals? What costs are you on the hook for covering — including staff compensation and benefits, inventory, overhead, rent, maintenance, safety measures, utilities, and more — and how wide of a profit margin will you need to hit to keep your business up and running? How will you ensure your price points are able to get you there, while remaining accessible and sustainable for your target market? How are you adding value to your menu items? How does the experience of your staff factor in, and the quality of the products you’re sourcing for your inventory?
Create menu descriptions
You have your prices, but what are you selling? Taking the time to describe the items on your menu, and making sure your guests have all of the information they need to place their order, is essential to building customer trust and driving business.
Consider the tone you want to strike. Will you include detailed, narrative paragraphs for each beer to help customers choose the best option for their mood? Will your descriptions be funny and witty, or straightforward and serious?
Will you provide descriptions for every single drink, or perhaps have staff choose their weekly favorites, only offering descriptions for a few standout options? Maybe you’ll forgo menu descriptions altogether, instead directing your guests to ask staff directly for any additional information about your menu items, fostering strong customer relationships and trust.
It’ll also be important to convey any dietary restrictions, potential allergens, and any other health-related concerns that might be important for your guests to be aware of. Also, given this step is a lot more writing-heavy than the rest of the steps on this list, this could be a great place to bring in a copywriter for additional support, if budget allows.
Decide on a menu color scheme
If you already have a brand kit for your brewery, fantastic! Maintaining consistency across your brand is super helpful for brand recognition, especially as you’re working to establish yourself in the marketplace. Incorporating your brewery’s colors into your menu design provides a great opportunity to encourage that consistency and further solidify your brand presence.
If not, don’t worry! Your color scheme is one of the first things your customers will notice about your menu, and the colors you choose represent a fun way to communicate your brewery’s identity and connect with your audience. Take your time choosing the best ones for your establishment, and feel free to explore resources like these if you’re in need of some color inspiration:
- Chron’s The Psychology of Colors for Restaurant Designs
- Adobe Color CC (color wheel tool)
- ColorDot (color palette tool)
- ColRD (color inspiration)
Pro-tip: printing in color tends to be more expensive than printing in black and white, so if you’re planning to get your menus printed (vs. going fully digital), we’d recommend researching costs and different printing services ahead of time, to make sure you’re setting yourself up for budgeting success!
Design your brewery menu
Now, it’s time to bring out your inner designer! (Or, bring in a professional, if necessary to outsource some graphic design expertise).
If you’re keeping your design in-house, however, resources like Canva, Adobe Suite, and menu design templates like these are all great to explore as you create the template for your brewery menu. Browsing sites like Pinterest, Instagram, TikTok, and other social media sites can also be super helpful sources of menu design inspiration.
As you pull your design together, it’ll also be helpful to refer back to steps 1 and 2 of this list. Thinking about the items you’re including on your menu and how you’ve categorized them will help you determine how best to organize and space those categories out on your menu page. A good goal for your menu design is to keep your page accessible, informative, and engaging but not overwhelming for your viewers. Our menu engineering course’s section on menu design and these menu design best practices are also great resources to check out at this step of your design process.
Brewery Menu Photos
High-quality photos or other visual assets, like illustrations or designs, can be valuable additions to your menu design, enhancing its overall aesthetic and helping to drive greater customer engagement. If a professional photoshoot feels out of reach, iPhone cameras also offer plenty of potential for creating great visual components – just make sure any photos or visuals you go with are high-caliber options. Nixing the photo idea altogether is often actually better than including bad photos, which can undermine brand credibility and erode customer trust.
If you have the capacity to establish and maintain a social media presence, sites like Instagram and Tik Tok can also be great tools to engage your customers. Throw a QR code on your menu linking to your socials, and encourage guests to tag your pizzeria in any content they post to generate some online buzz (and free marketing!).
Choose Menu Fonts, Spacing, and Composition
Much of the way your customers experience your brewery menu comes down to this step. The type of font you choose, the way you space out your menu items, and your overall menu composition will all influence the tone of your menu and how guests will feel while reading it.
For example, choosing a playful, funky style for your font will convey a different feeling than a more minimalist, elegant block text. Crowded menu sections and item descriptions will evoke a different response than more spaced-out categories. Composing all of your visual assets in one part of your menu will curate a different vibe than strategically positioning photos or illustrations throughout, or choosing one main visual component to center.
The best way to get a sense of what would work best for your brewery is to play around with different options — so, feel free to try out a range of fonts, both complementary and clashing; explore varying levels of spacing, both crowded and spread out; and different layouts, mixing and matching text and visuals.
Select the final menu layout
By now, you should have a solid selection of options from which to choose your final menu layout — and you don’t have to choose all by yourself! Bringing in outside perspectives can offer valuable insight, so feel free to poll your friends, family, brewery staff, and any other trusted stakeholders to get a sense of what resonates best with a new audience. This step is a great opportunity to incorporate any crowdsourced feedback into your design before finalizing your menu and moving on to your final step…
Proofread and print your menu
…and maybe the most important step, proofreading your menu. Now is the time to catch any preventable typos or errors that could detract from your design and undermine customer trust. Once you’ve given your menu a close read, and perhaps brought in some extra sets of eyes for additional copy edits, you should be good to go. Whether off to the printers (spots like Staples, Vistaprint, PsPrint, or PrintPlace are great places to start if you’re in search of a printing service), or ready to hit ‘publish’ on your website, you did it! Congratulations on your brand-new brewery menu!
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Amazing brewery menu examples
For some brewery menu inspiration, check out these examples.
With fun drink names, well-spaced menu sections and descriptions, crisp and clean font choices, a funky illustration and well-shot brewery photos, Aeronaut’s menu is ready for takeoff. 3, 2, 1, order!
The menu at Winter Hill Brewing Company offers a great example of how to integrate visual assets into your design. With bright, colorful, and engaging shots of their cans serving as the main feature of their menu, combined with detailed and engaging narrative descriptions of each beer — including where it came from and what to expect upon first sip — this menu is an A+.
At Arts District Brewing Company, there’s no concern over getting overwhelmed by their menu, thanks to their fantastic organization and easy to access and browse menu categories. With separate menus for beer, cocktails, and food — and consistent branding, colors, and fonts throughout — their guests will always know exactly what establishment it is they’re browsing, and where to go to find what they’re looking for.
Trillium keeps it simple and effective with a minimalist approach to their menu design. Employing a uniform font with strategic use of sizing, bold, and italics, and straightforward item descriptions, they manage to include everything a customer would need to know — name, type of beer, alcohol by volume, and size. What more could you need? Cheers!
With beautifully staged images of their products that link out to longer menu item descriptions, complete with flavor profile details and information about their brewing process, it’s no wonder Lamplighter Brewing Co’s menu belongs in the spotlight.
Beer name, type, flavor profile, narrative description, development process, volume of alcohol, details on types of grains used, hops, suggested pour size… check, check, check, check, check, check, check, check, check. Well done, Allagash.
Of all the visual components on all of the menus on this list, those on the Lone Pine Brewing Company menu are truly crème de la crème (orrrr foam de la foam, perhaps?). Combining photos of their beautifully artistic cans with graphic design elements that play on the name of each beer name and make each image pop, this menu almost guarantees customer engagement — and purchases.
The menu at Four Quarters Brewing strikes a perfect balance - crowded but not overwhelming; large selection with a lot of information, but still well-organized and easy to scan; fun and funky drink names and header illustrations balanced by a simple black and white color scheme. *Chef’s kiss*
The Alchemists’s curbside pick up menu is great — nicely shot product photos, informative descriptions, easy to locate prices, etc. But the real gem of this menu lies in their beer archives — an interactive opportunity for guests to explore past cans and flavors, each of which links out to a YouTube video explainer of that beer. Educational and engaging — genius.
Zero Gravity has their selection very well organized — although not necessarily in a traditional sense. With slightly different-than-usual categories, including The Essentials, Specialty, Rare Finds, and Collaborations, this menu adds a sense of whimsy an intrigue to their guests’ experience.
Related Menu Ideas
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Brewery Menu Templates
Use these brewery menu templates as a starting point for your menu design or to give your menu a refresh.
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DISCLAIMER: This information is provided for general informational purposes only, and publication does not constitute an endorsement. Toast does not warrant the accuracy or completeness of any information, text, graphics, links, or other items contained within this content. Toast does not guarantee you will achieve any specific results if you follow any advice herein. It may be advisable for you to consult with a professional such as a lawyer, accountant, or business advisor for advice specific to your situation.