We know your hearts are bursting with joy to fill your taproom and tasting room with raving fans! These familiar faces are your core base, so appealing to their desires while attracting new guests is good business 101. One way to do that is a friendly reminder that your guests are eager to hit—and to spend at—events…big events that go beyond the ever-popular cornhole, yoga and trivia.
Make no mistake: Those types of events are popular, fun and near and dear to our hearts! Still, craft enthusiasts and beer lovers are seeking something elevated—something more than what’s expected. Dig into these beer event ideas to get your creative juices flowing as you strategize events to delight regulars and intrigue new soon-to-be regulars.
“Cool Off” With Christmas in July
Blistering temps are the perfect time for “cool weather” fun, just like Hershey, Pennsylvania’s TRÖEGS Independent Brewing does at its Christmas in July events. Trading on a fan favorite—Mad Elf Ale brewed with holiday-inspired honey and cherries—these events solidify TRÖEGS’ relationships with local bars and restaurants through happy hour and brunch events featuring food specials and free swag.
Image courtesy of TRÖEGS Independent Brewing, an Arryved customer.
Consider building a special event around your signature beer, wine, cider or spirit to draw attention to your core product line or history, fill your taproom or tasting room with those in-the-know who already love it, expose them to your other offerings and attract curious new guests, too.
What limited-release must-have can you bring back and offer at local bar and restaurant partners? What will bump up your sales—and move your existing swag to make room for the new—all while upping guest count and revenue?
Collaborate at Beer Events with Other Craft Makers
Another winner from TRÖEGS: Partnering with regional or statewide blowouts, such as PA Flavor. It’s Pennsylvania’s “ultimate beer and food pairing” made with the Commonwealth’s distinct growing regions in mind. Bonus: It’s a fundraiser for the Brewers of Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania Restaurant & Lodging Association scholarship funds, another great idea to remember when hosting your events.
Check your state’s farm and agriculture and/or state fair websites to look for these high-visibility opportunities to fill your taproom and earn new guests. What opportunities await to grow your visibility (and customers!) as you let your craft beverage shine beside other makers and artisans?
Be the Area Concert Venue
Got space? Birmingham, Alabama’s Avondale Brewing Company does, and Avondale is now known for its hosted events as much as for its beer. Some shows are all-ages, some are charity benefits, and there’s definitely something for everyone. If your grounds can handle it, fill your taproom or tasting room with concerts: They’re an amazing way to expand your reach and attract repeat guests. Start by supporting local bands, and then move on to bigger names, like The Molly Ringwalds and Kesha with Special Guest Betty Who.
Image courtesy of Avondale Brewing Company, an Arryved customer.
Avondale also has great success supporting the annual Secret Stages Music Discovery Festival. More than 30 bands on three stages bring out thousands of music lovers and the chance to taste what Avondale is pouring means new fans—and new guests to fill your taproom. Craft beverages plus music are a no-brainer win-win, so look for area events and get your products in the hands of a wider audience.
How can you use your space—inside, outside, both!—to spotlight your location, draw a music-loving crowd, and highlight your beverage, food, and merch offerings to grow an audience that extends well beyond your usual service area?
Fill Your Taproom With Loyal Fans
Celebrate your “regulars” and local fans! North Carolina’s Hi-Wire Brewing in Durham hosts a monthly ¡Habla Hour!, a Spanish–English conversation meetup. This is a great chance to reach out to your taproom heroes—bartenders, servers, and managers—to get clear on who your regulars are, so you can serve them with the best beer events that speak to their souls.
Appealing to all local enthusiasts is the goal at Hi-Wire Durham’s LagerFest. It’s a nod to its first love—lagers—and celebrates that style (and its other brews, of course!). Its 2021 event is backed by a ‘90s beat-the-heat beach theme: water activities, plus group games, live music, food, and a costume contest.
Anniversary events never get old, especially when themed just right, like Alabama’s Monday Night Brewing’s Garage. It celebrated 10 years in 2021 with “Tie One On,” a chuckle-worthy play on words. It took it a step further and billed the event as “the weekend is overrated”—a tie-in to its name. You can likely do the same with your name or tagline, but if that’s not a fit, then conjure up a theme and attach that to an almost impossible amount of partying. Add local food vendors, epic brewery games, live music and a separate family-friendly event, and you’ve created a way to not only thank your regulars, but also welcome new fans to the fold with your spectacular beer event.
Image courtesy of Monday Night Brewing, an Arryved customer.
Loyalty breeds regular sales and priceless word-of-mouth advertising. Higher engagement means higher tabs, as regulars and newbies stream in. What unique segment of your regulars can you make feel special with weekly events—an all-out blowout, or a yearly anniversary bash—to reward their deep appreciation for, and love of, your craft products?
Beer Events To Give Back To Your Community
Montclair, New Jersey’s Montclair Brewing raises funds through its popular Kemet Music and Arts Festival; in 2021, that’s for an album project by African American Musicians. The album, “Black is Beautiful,” is billed as “a dedication to Black culture worldwide during trying times in the Black community.” It will donate 20 percent of the album’s proceeds, merchandise and performance revenue to a black business in need. You don’t need to host a fest to support a local business in need; consider donating a percentage of a weekend’s proceeds and have that business on-site to engage with and educate customers.
Washington, DC’s Red Bear Brewing Co. plays a part in an annual summer favorite: Spectrum Drag Show & Dance extravaganza, hosted by Desiree Dik. Headliners include drag favorites like Bombalicious Eklaver, Druex Sidora and Laronica Vegas plus a dance floor party, games, prizes and music by DJ TWINK. You know your guests and your community—plan or sponsor community-centric events that resonate with them and get more exposure among like-minded craft lovers.
Image courtesy of Brewery X, an Arryved customer.
Anaheim, California’s Brewery X says the X means it “goes the extra mile” for the community through outreach to support low-income communities in South Central and Watts, Los Angeles and Orange County. It does, and you can identify those in need near you and do the same. Brewery X makes it clear who and what is a high priority and makes it easy for guests to find and support the organizations where “X marks the spot.” Near Anaheim that’s The Painted Turtle, a free camp for children with serious medical conditions; Watts Rams Youth Football, an after-school program for boys and girls, ages seven to thirteen, who live in one of the most gang-affiliated and violent communities of South Central Los Angeles; Operation Progress which provides mentorship, scholarships, case management and academic enrichment to students, from third grade through college/vocational school; and many more important causes.
Craft beverage lovers are a market segment like no other: They’re fiercely loyal, and they’re looking for recognition that they’re seen by their favorite brewery, winery, cidery or distillery. Identify them, get to know them and build events around them, and you’ll meet your mission to give back as you grow your business. What causes are important to you and your guests?
Pack All Your Locations With a Road Trip
Do you own more than one spot? Encourage guests to spread the love (and revenue) by taking a page from Colorado’s Ska Brewing’s Ska Street Roadtrippin’—“the ultimate Colorado road trip!” It tempts guests to fill up its three locations across the state with its #skastreetroadtrip Passport. When they hit Ska Street Brewstillery in Boulder, Peach Street Distillers in Palisade and Ska Brewing in Durango to collect stamps, then they’re rewarded with an exclusive gift.
Image courtesy of Ska Brewing, an Arryved customer.
This is an incredibly easy way to create interest in and demand for different products or specialty items at your different locations with both regulars and new guests—who doesn’t love an exclusive gift? What contest-only swag can you attach to a limited-time program to create urgency among regulars and the curious, alike, to fill your taproom and bring them back again and again?
The Bottom Line
Engaging, entertaining and, at times, educating your audiences through creative beer events that you host, or by participating in area festivals, are compelling ways to draw attention to your location, craft beverages, smaller events—and, in short, everything. These types of events further cement loyalty among regulars, bring in new guests, and can support community organizations and other local businesses. All of these things represent good news and great results for your bottom line, too.