Visitors to Taco Bell in the Chicago neighborhood of Wicker Park will have more choices to ponder besides the usual decision between a Double Decker Taco or Nachos Supreme.
This latest Taco Bell, located at 1439 N. Milwaukee Ave. just a few minutes northwest of downtown Chicago will be the first Taco Bell in the USA to sell beer and wine when it opens later this summer. Yes, instead of the sweet flavor of a Mountain Dew or a calorie- free Diet Pepsi, customers will now have additional drink options like American pilsner or California merlot. Sources say that this newest Taco Bell will also offer its own specialty alcoholic freezes made in assorted flavors.
What would make Taco Bell decide to add assorted adult beverages to its menu? Most agree that competition is the driving force. Other quick serve restaurants such as Chipotle already offer beer and wine so Taco Bell is likely feeling some pressure to follow suit. Then, there is likely the issue of profits. Alcoholic drinks carry larger profit margins than soft drinks and can make a significant difference to the bottom line.
Some may rightfully worry that guests might be tempted to walk out of the restaurant with an alcoholic drink in hand, in much the same way that they walk out with a full soda. But Taco Bell says it has this problem solved. The alcoholic drinks will be served in a special cup and employees will watch vigilantly to make sure no one walks out with one of these containers.
Beer does go great with Mexican food and as I thumb through the Taco Bell menu, I can just imagine some of the potential food/beer pairings. Craft beer fans in the Chicago area are likely sizing things up too, but before you get your hopes up, remember that these initial beer offerings are likely to stick with mass- produced, macro- brewed lagers. I seriously doubt we will see Anti Hero IPA from Revolution Brewing or Alpha King Pale Ale from Three Floyds Brewing anytime soon. The menu will likely be limited to Corona, Budweiser, Miller Lite, and other popular beers, at least for now.
If this arrangement proves a success, we can expect to see more adult beverage offerings in existing and future Taco Bell locations. Forget the soft taco value meal with a large Sierra Mist- a Supreme Beef Chalupa served with Sierra Nevada Pale Ale might one day become the most popular Taco Bell menu pairing.