6 Things To Learn From A Brewery With 10+ Taprooms

How Hi-Wire Brewing found success!

Optimizing Your Taproom

Collaboration runs deep in craft. Just as brewery folk love working together, they’re eager to learn from each other, too. 

And there’s a whole lot to learn from Hi-Wire Brewing. From opening their first taproom’s doors in 2013 to now having 10 locations with another one on the way, Hi-Wire’s savvy strategizing and dedication to exceptional guest experiences is something to be admired.

Here are 6 things to learn from the brewery with 10+ taprooms:

1. Start Bottling For Distribution Early

Hi-Wire Brewing began bottling for wholesale distribution almost immediately upon opening. Distributing to neighboring states like Tennessee, Georgia, Kentucky, Alabama, and Virginia got both their brand name and delicious stuff to beer lovers outside of North Carolina. As a result, Hi-Wire outgrew their first Asheville taproom in less than a year!

Distribution not only accelerated Hi-Wire’s growth, but helped them strategize where to open new locations. Now they can pinpoint cities where the most wholesale growth is and set up shop there to meet existing demand.

“We’re really focusing on our current distribution footprint, and growing where we’re at,” says Chris Frosaker, Co-Founder of Hi-Wire. Clearly, it’s working!

2. Being Unique To Your Brand Pays

Hi-Wire’s rapid rate of growth can also be attributed to staying true to their own unique brand

In a sea of IPA-heavy breweries, the Hi-Wire founders wanted to open up a different kind of taproom. Because they all loved lagers, they took the risk of stacking their taproom menu with a bunch of crisp brews

Hi-Wire’s branding also immediately stood out from the competition. Paying homage to the circus of characters that make up quirky Asheville, they began naming all beers after circus acts, such as Strong Man Stout, Hi-Wire Walker, and Bed of Nails Brown. This, in addition to their lager-forward offerings, set Hi-Wire apart from other Asheville craft

Although the brewery has since moved away from this naming convention, their circus-themed branding remains, as well as their tightrope-walking logo. 

3. Finance New Locations With Reinvestment, Not Debt

Opening an additional location is a proven way to increase revenue growth for your brewery. But, Chris warns, taproom expansions should be financed by reinvestment instead of debt.

Breweries must allocate a lot of capital when expanding, especially if they plan to do production on-site. 

“If the production is on-site, then you have a lot of the capital requirements of any other brewery, along with the capital requirements of a restaurant or bar, so you’ve got a lot of debt tied up in that capital,” says Michael Uhrich, the Founder and Chief Economist at Seventh Point Analytics.

Take it from Hi-Wire, who opened 10 taprooms in 10 years: Use existing profits to finance new spaces

4. Different Programming Works Better In Different Areas

We’ve all done our best to test programming apart from the customary Trivia Night, right? According to Hi-Wire, different events work better in different areas!

One Hi-Wire location recently stumbled upon an overwhelming number of puzzle lovers in their community. Their Competitive Puzzle Night has gotten so popular that they now have to require sign ups!

Other events, such as Plant Swaps, are the dominant traffic-drivers for Hi-Wire’s other locations. The key takeaway here? Experiment with a variety of different events to see what makes your guests tick.

As far as getting the word out about their event schedule, Hi-Wire utilizes their POS’ seamless email opt-in at checkout to gather contacts. Once a month, each Taproom Manager sends out a Brews-letter jam packed with upcoming events and special releases. Talk about a great way to keep guests engaged!

5. Easy-To-Use Tools Make Onboarding & Training A Breeze

Speaking of, Hi-Wire credits some of their ease of launching new sites to the fact that Arryved POS is so easy to learn. Jesse, an Arryved Customer Success Lead, has been Hi-Wire’s dedicated point of contact for 6 successful location launches now. 

The consistency in both Arryved’s Support and Onboarding Program builds trust in the system and makes each launch painless. Plus, getting new hires up to speed is a breeze with 24/7 access to an on-demand library of how-to training courses. 

The last thing you need holding your business back from opening a new taproom on time is technology. Hi-Wire revels in the ease of setup and use of Arryved for this reason. 

6. People Will Come To Your Brewery Looking For Not-Beer

Part of Hi-Wire’s fruitful approach to offering “something for everyone” is pouring drinks apart from beer. The team recognizes that guests may come in with friends and family and not necessarily have a hankering for brews despite being in a brewery. 

To ensure every guest has a good time, each of Hi-Wire’s taprooms offer a variety of beverages. This, in addition to having food options on-site, is a family-friendly approach to guest engagement. Plus, when you’ve got non-alcoholic options and food available, big groups are much more likely to kick their feet up and order round after round of beer. Cha-ching!

Interested in testing out a new strategy to inspire growth in your taproom? Take the 2023 Craft Experiments Quiz!

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