By Rieva Lesonsky

A lot of people went a little nuts when Starbucks released its legendary Pumpkin Spice Latte a little earlier than expected this year. But they and Starbucks aren’t alone when it comes to embracing the orange squash. If you haven’t yet unleashed the power of the pumpkin in your business, you still have some time to do so—if you act now.

Here’s how a few franchises are carving their niche in the field:

Franchisor Philly Pretzel Factory will be releasing its pumpkin-flavored pretzel dip at the end of September. Adam Terranova, the company’s marketing manager, attributes the seasonal surge to, well, the change of seasons. He says, “Pumpkin reminds people of the fall, a time for transitions, [leading to] a once-a-year slow-down feeling.”

Chip Paul, cofounder of Palm Beach Vapors, franchising’s first e-cigarette and vapor retailer, attributes the flavors’ popularity in the e-cigarette (both regular and pumpkin spice) to people “vaping what they like to eat about two months after quitting smoking.”

Jessica Buchta, marketing manager for The Brass Tap, an upscale beer bar franchise, says pumpkin beers are rolling out now at the company’s locations. The Brass Tap partners with local and national breweries to offer craft brews, such as Southern Tier Pumking (NOT A TYPO), Harpoon UFO Pumpkin, Cigar City Good Gourd, Shipyard Pumpkinhead and Smashed Pumpkin. Buchta adds there’s a “growing trend of pumpkin ciders coming out.”

The rise of pumpkin beers is a fairly recent phenomenon, says Buchta, attributing the brews’ popularity to the “seasonal flavors of pumpkin, cinnamon and nutmeg bringing people to a warm and almost comforting place. It signifies the end of summer and the beginning of fall.”

Some Brass Tap locations have “Pumpkin Nights” to celebrate the seasonal brews. If this sound good to you, grab your brew now—pumpkin beers disappear by Christmas.

Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media and custom content company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship. Email Rieva at [email protected], follow her on Google+   and and visit her website,, to get the scoop on business trends and sign up for Rieva’s free TrendCast reports.