Several Chipotle locations are adding craft beer to their menus. The chain has already been serving Mexican and Latin American imports along with more common American ales like Miller Lite; the Kansas City market is now testing margaritas.
Now, the chain is trying out craft beers. Two craft beers — made by the Latin-themed, Chicago-area microbrewery, 5 Rabbit Cerveceria — are now on the menu at 15 Chipotles across Chicago. According to the Huffington Post, the new choices include a simple golden ale called 5 Rabbit, similar to Corona, and 5 Vulture, a dark ale brewed with chiles and spices similar to Negra Modelo. If sales are positive, the chain may expand the offering to about 75 stores in the Chicago area.
The craft beer industry has experienced staggering growth for the past five years, including a 14 percent jump in sales in the first half of this year. At the National Restaurant Association Show's International Wine Spirits and Beer Show in Chicago in May, Technomic's David Henkes said that beer mentions have increased 65 percent on top chain menus since 2006, "driven by craft." This is compared to the domestic light beer category, which has been flat during the last couple of years.