You are not alone. Things are crazy right now and the whole industry is overwhelmed by a life turned upside down. But it’s not all doom and gloom.
Policies are changing hourly, bars and restaurants are shutting down for the foreseeable future, and there’s uncertainty in the road ahead. But now is the time to recognize what has always been true of the people who make up our taprooms and brewpubs in the Craft community: we are in this TOGETHER. We are resilient, we are creative, and we have a lot of love to share with our communities.
In this time of reflection, we at Arryved are here to share suggestions on how to thrive in the trenches and, perhaps more importantly, highlight the craft community’s resilience in this time of trial and error. #craftstrong
So in the spirit of the community that drives the Craft industry, we reached out to our customers and asked what steps they’re taking to keep revenue flowing. The result? Hard data on the solutions that are working in this strange new world. Plus a whole lot of heartwarming examples that will renew your faith in humanity.
Here’s what we discovered: taprooms & brewpubs are getting creative, and it’s working. Less than 15% of respondents to our survey are closed to the public, 71% are selling to-go items, 10% are still open for drink-in*, and a small percentage are providing delivery services. Looking at aggregate sales data, the revenue numbers for taprooms are down, but not to the extent one might expect. The to-go model is working and people are still buying beer from the taprooms.
Of those establishments who are closed for on-premise consumption but still selling their goods direct to the public, here’s the breakdown of the various sales tactics they’re using.
And the goods they’re selling?
All said? Your customers want your goods. Read on for details on how to execute on-premise-ish sales during the COVID shutdown.
*The bulk of the survey responses came in on March 17, 2020
Just because the doors aren’t open for those to drink inside and mingle, doesn’t mean we all need to go thirsty! Good food and good beverages are necessary to get by, especially right now, and our community is showing as much by offering their products to-go.
If you’re concerned or unable to open up your doors for even limited use, many locations have to-go stations outside their establishment with friendly staff selling cans, crowlers, merchandise, and gift cards.
In our survey, several breweries shared that they’re offering incentives for those willing to brave the pick-up: things like a bonus roll of toilet paper, case discounts, BOGO and free glass growlers.
In addition to beer to-go, call ahead with curbside pick-up is huge! Have your phone at the ready to hear from those who are coming for their favorite beverages.
And HAPPY BIRTHDAY, NATHAN!
Keep your kitchen staff busy with over-the-phone food orders. Locations are even offering distance friendly order pick-ups with numbered patio tables set up as stations around their space.
Who doesn’t love the convenience of having something dropped right at their doorstep? Delivery is such a great way to bring your product to the people, literally. Here’s why:
- It’s COVID safe: as we continue with our social distancing, delivery offers the lowest contact option when local laws and licensing allows. Just don’t forget to check IDs!
- It keeps your staff busy: Bartenders are flexing out from behind the bar to behind the wheel. Delivery gives you the opportunity to keep your staff on payroll.
AND it’s a wonderful way to try and include deliveries from restaurants in your community like our friends at Fruition:
We are all going to need to get out and have a drink (or two) after these shenanigans!
Gift cards are the perfect way for guests to support their local hangouts, give businesses the opportunity to bring in cash flow NOW, and encourage guests to come back and join you once your doors open back up. A few options to get the most out of your gift card offering:
- Introduce gift card packages to get people planning ahead for a brighter future.
- Offer coupon deals like giving guests a free pint card (or bottle of hand sanitizer) with every gift card purchase.
- Lay out exactly what different gift card amounts equate to like Small Bar & Grill did here:
Service doesn’t just have to mean slinging beers. Government mandates may close your space to the public, but what can it do for your community?
With an empty parking lot to offer, Forgotten Star brewery out of Minnesota is offering up their lot as a place to host a mobile blood drive.
Smith Alley is putting their open kitchen to use offering up deeply discounted kids meals for those in their community suffering from lost school lunches and reduced income.
Staying healthy and taking care of your own should always be #1. How can we keep a business afloat if we can’t keep ourselves together!?
Suggestions and regulations around proper sanitization are abundant, and your best source for that information will always be the CDC. Here’s a link.
But appropriate sanitization doesn’t have to stop at proper bleach measurements! Dry County Brewing Company put their chemistry talents to task and pivoted their vodka production into production of hand sanitizer—free of charge and available for pick up in their taproom.
Of course, we’ve spoken at length about how to continue sharing your product and your space, but we’re not forgetting about the foundation of your business: your staff members, your family. These are trying times with fewer guests to serve and tips coming in, but you have the power to support your staff.
For businesses who can, they’re going great lengths to continue to pay their staff, like Avery Brewing in Boulder, CO:
For those who may not be in the position to float, consider enlisting your staff as delivery drivers, manning your to-go window, or donating all sales of specific items to their staff members, including pooling all tips made during that time.
Outside of your business, companies like DoorDash, UberEats, GrubHub, and even grocery and liquor stores are in need of more people to help out with deliveries. The gig economy is a great place for those in the service industry to support themselves during this time.
Arryved, along with many other tech companies are working quickly to adapt software functionality for customers. Reach out to your technology partners to find out what tools they are working on to help you through this transition.
Enjoy reading fine print? Great! Keep going:
Nothing in this article constitutes legal advice. Make sure to reference your state law and licensing.Your state guild is always an excellent resource.