Now a recent survey is offering more proof of the trend.
According to the Alcoholic Beverage DemandTracker, 33 percent of alcohol drinkers who visit restaurants regularly report that they are more likely to order beer when offered a large selection of beer brands.
A good portion, about 26 percent, also said they are more likely to order more servings of beer with a better beer selection than they would have otherwise.
According to the study conducted by Consumer Edge Insight, experimentation is a key component behind bigger sales as consumers sample new products or re-visit brands they have not had in a while. Thirty-six percent of consumers say they are more likely to choose a brand they haven’t tried before and 19 percent said they are more likely to order a brand they have not drunk in a long time.
To those familiar with the beer industry, it will come as no surprise that keeping craft beer drinkers happy will boost the bottom line.
Those who say they drink craft beers regularly, defined as at least once per week, are more likely to say that a large selection of beer brands leads to higher beer consumption.
Among craft beer drinkers, 44 percent said a large selection of brands makes them more likely to order beer, and 34 percent said they are more likely to order more servings of beer.
This point may not be lost on companies such as Darden Restaurants , which recently completed its acquisition of Yard House, a casual dining chain known for its extensive beer selection; or burger chains like Red Robin Gourmet Burgers, which recently rolled out a beer milkshake. Even Walt Disney recently lifted restrictions on beer and wine sales within the Magic Kingdom, to allow its new Be Our Guest Restaurant to serve beer during dinner service.
-By Tom Rotunno, CNBC Senior Editor