We’ve learned a lot over the past two years of closures, shutdowns, and social distancing. Shared experiences have proven that additional revenue streams are important and can help breweries survive turbulent times. Online storefronts, delivery options, and to-go sales, for example, helped breweries weather the storm as they introduced ways for breweries to collect revenue while taprooms closed.
While many non-traditional offerings may have started as survival tools, we expect they will move to standard business practices for breweries nationwide.
But there’s one revenue-building tool that still remains relatively untapped by breweries: The Beer Club.
Wineries have proven that the club model works for beverage alcohol businesses. On average, 23 percent of winery sales come from clubs, second only to tasting room sales. And despite the differences in wine and beer, there’s evidence that shows breweries can capitalize on the membership model.
A whopping 84 percent of craft beer drinkers claim they’d like to purchase beer and have it shipped directly to their homes. The pandemic has only increased interest in direct-to-consumer beer shipping, making contactless purchasing the norm.
From wine to pet supplies to razors, customers love the subscription model for its novelty and convenience. Thinking about what this would look like for your brewery? Here are the top four benefits of launching a beer club.
Benefits of Launching a Beer Club
Recurring revenue and better financial forecasting. The top benefit of a beer club is that it directly impacts the bottom line. With ongoing sales comes financial stability. Subscription-based financial forecasting is reliable, and beer clubs help give breweries the insight needed to make better business decisions for the future.
Improved inventory management. Managing the inventory for a club is predictable. Club members typically “buy in” and commit to specific releases or recurring orders of their favorite beers. Clubs can help breweries anticipate demand more accurately and create consistent business processes.
Reduced customer acquisition costs and lower retention spend. It’s expensive to attract new customers. Breweries with a club can turn a current brewery fan into a new club member for a much smaller cost than acquiring a new customer. And that repeat business is much more valuable than a one-time sale. With automatic repeat purchasing, breweries don’t need to spend much time, effort, or money to remarket to customers and can spend those resources on other critical business initiatives.
Increased community engagement and customer loyalty. Club programs aren’t just good for the brewery; customers love them. When your customers cross the threshold and become members, they gain access to an exclusive inside track—and that feels fantastic. They like being a part of a community. The best part is, when customers are happy, they turn into the world’s most effective marketing channel.
Beer clubs are quickly gaining momentum and shedding the stereotype that they are unaffordable or only for exclusive releases. Your fans are ready. If you are too, keep in mind that you don’t have to do it alone. There are technology partners, like VineSpring, that can help with club management.
As a craft producer and winery owner myself, I’ve worked with hundreds of other club programs and have experienced first-hand both the stresses and the rewards associated with launching a club program. The thing is, it doesn’t need to be stressful. There are solutions that make club management easy, fun, and time effective—so you can see the benefits without reinventing the wheel. Beer clubs should support your passion, and the right partner can get you set up quickly so you can get back to doing what you love.
Chris Towt is founder and CEO of VineSpring, the leading membership-focused commerce platform for wineries, breweries, and distilleries that builds stronger communities. VineSpring brings together powerful cloud-based tools into one easy-to-use web interface to convert one-time customers into subscription members and increase sales for existing and new customers through a curated web experience.