Running a brewery is no small job!
Not only do you need to create delicious brews, but you need to attract plenty of customers to keep your business afloat. By hosting brewery events, like beer tastings, special events, and getting involved in your local community, you can promote your business and keep your brewery packed with new and returning customers.
Every brewery owner knows the industry competition is extremely fierce. With over 6,000 breweries in the United States contributing to the craft beer businesses, standing out from the crowd is tough. You need unique, high quality, delicious brews to start, but then you also need to get innovative with your brewery promotion ideas. If you want to attract more customers here are a few events your brewery can host to get people in the door.
“Today, 83 percent of the population lives within 10 miles of a local brewery,” according to Bart Watson, chief economist for the Brewers Association. With breweries popping up in nearly every city, it’s important to implement effective marketing strategies, now more than ever.
From tours to beer-tastings and even beer appreciation clubs, the best brewery events encourage the local community to get involved and connect at your establishment. Interactive events like beer sampling mixers are a great way to draw in new customers and get the name of your brewery out there for the public to see; after all, who doesn’t love a chance to taste beer?
Fun craft beer marketing initiatives and events are a delightful bonus for your regular loyal customers and work wonders for attracting new patrons to your brewery. Of course, knowing how to properly market a brewery is no easy task. Starting off with just a small handful of brewery events per month can greatly increase your brewery profits and return rate with customers. Making sure you offer a variety of events will ensure an amazing experience that all your customers will talk about.
Host Special Brewery Events to Bring in More Patrons
Hosting, and most importantly, promoting brewery events is a great way to get the word out to the community about your business. Whether your brewery has been around for a while or you’re a new craft brewery in town, it’s becoming increasingly more popular to hang out and meet up with friends at your local brewery for a night of great beer, food, and company.
Hosting Private Events with Special Packages
Offering private birthday, bachelor/bachelorette party and even wedding packages at your brewery is a smart way to differentiate your establishment from the competition. While it’s true that most breweries allow these types of parties to celebrate at their bar without any added bells and whistles, it’s the establishments with targeted, one-of-a-kind packages to enhance the special event that draw in the most people.
A crucial part of curating brewery events is tailoring your services to meet the demands of your customers. The Twin Cities Brewery Tours Company located in Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota offers clear and concise party packages for special occasions. Party options include detailed outlines of the brewery tour events, taking the stress out of party planning. There is even an option to customize a private tour.
Offering fun, unique, behind-the-scenes tours that go beyond the normal every-day tours are a great way to get more people interested in holding an event at your brewery. Know of any craft beer aficionados in your community that want more technical details of the inner workings of your brewery? Offering tech tours that go in-depth into the brewing process give customers a whole new vantage point of how a brewery works. Customers love gaining insight into how your beer is made (and they’ll relish the opportunity to enjoy a few sips as they learn)!
Get your tour guides and brewery staff involved in the planning and execution of tours too. Do you have a particularly funny staff member who’s great at making patrons laugh and joke? Curate a comedic brewery tour riddled with jokes, funny pranks, or audience participation to engage the crowd and keep them entertained. Does your brewery building have an interesting history? Find ways to interweave those fun facts throughout tours. Customers will love hearing facts about their city, neighborhood, or what the building was used for before you moved in.
Brewery Trivia and Game Night
Who doesn’t live good, old-fashioned bar trivia nights? If you’re looking for ways to bring the community together and promote your brewery, a trivia and game night might be the perfect solution. Start out with a trivia night once or twice a month. Promote these events with great food and drink specials and get a host that engages the crowd and makes the evening fun. Offer prizes like a gift card for a certain amount to be used against a bar tab, coupons for free tours and tastings, or even free product like a six-pack of your featured beer of the month.
Buzztime Business offers great trivia and game night systems that allow you to host awesome game nights at your brewery and bring the crowds together. Host live trivia events, poker tournaments, and fun arcade games that even kids can participate in. Set tablets up at each table for families and parties to use as entertainment during their visit. If curated trivia nights go well, start hosting trivia and game nights once a week. Soon, it may even become a weekly tradition for parties and groups of friends to come together for a night of fun at your brewery!
Offer Holiday Brewery Tours and Themed Parties
If you want to really win the brewery tour game, holiday-themed brewery tours are the way to stand out! Have fun and get creative with different types of tours based around the holidays—you aren’t limited to St. Patrick’s Day and Oktoberfest (although those are two great holidays to start with). These kinds of brewery events are all about embracing all the seasons and providing customers with the opportunity to celebrate with a delicious beer.
We all think of Oktoberfest in the fall, but other harvest celebrations or Halloween-themed brewery tours are also super cool options. Lazy Magnolia Brewery in Mississippi offers a Haunted Brewery Tour for the entire family. Guests are invited to visit the brewery, dressed up in their favorite costumes to enjoy Halloween themed food/music and great beer.
Christmas is another great time of the year to celebrate and Anheuser-Busch knows how to take advantage of the yuletide season. During the winter months, Anheuser-Busch hosts a brewery event known as Brewery Lights at four of their ranch locations. A ticket to Brewery Lights buys customers more than your average walking brewery tour; guests are able to enjoy the festive environment and Christmas lights surrounding them in addition to perks like an ice-skating rink, s’mores station and of course a beer sampling area.
These types of holiday-themed brewery events and tours are perfect for attracting entire families to check out your brewery. From St. Patrick’s to Thanksgiving, the opportunities for producing phenomenal holiday brewery tours are countless. Maybe an Easter themed tour featuring an egg hunt competition in the spring? Celebrate all year round with holiday brewery tours.
Host Beer Tasting Events to Promote New and Popular Beers
Seasonal Beer Tastings
Of course, nearly every brewery brews up special seasonal beers during certain times of the year. Some brews are better for those freezing, cold-weather months and others are the perfect refreshing beverage on a hot summer day. No matter the temperature, beer aficionados will enjoy the chance to visit your brewery for a special seasonal beer tasting.
The most successful brewery events offer plenty of opportunities to engage with your community. A seasonal beer tasting event, discounted for the first 50 people who show up, is a great way to ensure new people rush to taste your latest beverages.
Include comment cards for patrons to fill out while they taste your beer as part of your brewery event. Not only does this show you’re a brewery owner who cares about your customers, but it also shows you’re willing to listen to their input. Use customer feedback to decide which seasonal beers you will serve next year (and which beers you may want to keep on tap all year round).
Sample Tastings and Night-Out Mixers
Does your brewery feature flights and mini-tasting options? Do you allow patrons to sample any beer they like? Offering your clients an opportunity to sample your brews (for free) is a smart strategy. Yes, you’re out a few cents worth of beer, but customers enjoy a chance to discover new tastes without committing to a full glass. Plus, they’ll inevitably end up with a pint of their favorite brew at the end.
Host sample mixers and beer tastings. Partner with local restaurants to feature food parings and pop-up dining events at your brewery as well. This gives your patrons chance to try all the new beers you’re offering. A mixer is an awesome brewery event to host because it’s a fun, social event. Often a mixer feels more like a party and less like a place to critique the beer.
Everyone at the event will get the opportunity to drink all different types of your brews and speak with other people about it. If people make new friends or run into old friends, your brewery will now be viewed as a place where people come together and enjoy a great beer.
Get Involved with the Community: Host Beer Appreciation Clubs
Another great way brewery event to add to your lineup is a weekly or monthly beer appreciation club. These clubs are a fun and social way for beer enthusiasts to get together, sample, discuss, and appreciate your craft brews.
For a one-time fee of $15, the Milwaukee Beer Society provides its “beer lovers an environment to learn, share, and appreciate all things beer.” Members of the weekly beer appreciation club get the chance to sample beers for the first time while also discussing their likes and dislikes. Beer appreciation clubs and groups tend to meet at the same brewery regularly. Often these breweries become their club home base, fostering regular visits and opportunities for cross-promotion with other establishments and local restaurants.
A beer appreciation club is simple to host. Brewery owners may want to host the events themselves or simply allow an established club to use your brewery as their meeting place. Club members will enjoy insider secrets and brewery connections. You may want to support the club by providing them with a “house stein” or special promotional items (of course, featuring the name of your brewery too)!
Connecting with Meetup Groups
Meetup groups, similar to beer appreciation clubs, are the newest strategy in the world of promoting your brewery and connecting with the community. Unlike clubs, these meetup groups are often a one-time pop up event with the intention of connecting local beer lovers. Often meetup groups are promoted online and may attract people from around the corner or around the globe. Meetup groups may be industry-specific (for example service industry nights or marketing groups) or they may be based on other commonalities. Trivia buffs, sports fans, and gamers are all great meetup groups to promote at your brewery.
Marketing your brewery as a welcoming place for locals and visitors to drink and socialize at will separate you from other brewery businesses. Many meetup groups use various apps and websites to connect. Offering up your brewery as a possible host can help get your establishment on the map.
The benefits of merging together different cultures and perspectives with the support of your brewery are endless. Not only do meetup groups give people a chance to meet new friends, but it gives them a chance to test different, new, and exciting beers. It’s a great opportunity to offer tastings, samples, and to welcome meetup members with interesting tidbits about your brewery.
Get Customers Excited About Drinking YOUR Beer!
Owners of craft breweries, brewpubs, and microbreweries know the brewery industry is a competitive one. Adopting a few of these unique and fun brewery events will help you promote your business, expand your base, and get involved in your community – all resulting in more business for you.
People may visit a brewery to enjoy beer, but they also visit because they want to learn more, support a local establishment, and become part of the beer community. Breweries offer the unique opportunity to really understand how beer is made. It’s a learning as well as a tasting experience. This hands-on aspect sets breweries apart from the corner bar or pub and allows visitors a fuller, richer experience.
By hosting a variety of brewery events and opening your doors for special experiences at your brewery, you’ll amass more customers and fans of your beers (and of your business!). Give your customers what they want by letting them become part of your brewery culture.