When we last left Blue Mountain Brewery, Joseph Beck, brewer at Blue Mountain Brewery, was preparing for a huge holiday bash that launched a special reserve batch — Dark Hollow Reserve, a bourbon barrel-aged imperial stout, aptly named Concealed Darkness — to the masses. Now that the dust has settled and the Blue Mountain Barrel House is back to business as usual, it’s time for the Craft Brewing Business after-party: A breakdown of the event’s execution, the return on the event investment and Blue Mountain’s future big bash business plans.
Craft Brewing Business (CBB): Overall, how did the event go? How many people attended? Were you able to polish off all of the Dark Hollow?
Beck: The Dark Hollow Concealed Release Party was a huge success. We estimate that at least 300 patrons visited us throughout the day. While we did not sell out of the Concealed Darkness, we were extremely satisfied with the overall sales. Obviously, we have set some set aside for special events in this upcoming year — beer dinners, holiday sales, special events — things like that.
CBB: How did the event meet expectations? How did you determine if it was successful? Attendance? Beers sold?
Beck: The event exceeded our expectations because of the overall success of the release party. We determined the success by an amalgamation of variables, bottles of Concealed Darkness sold, overall attendance, beer tickets sold, food sales and last but not least, customer feedback. The majority of patrons that I spoke to were having an awesome time and asked if were planning more events.
CBB: What did you learn about your customers during the event? What beer was the big seller, and how did they respond to your latest brew?
Beck: We learned that we indeed have a loyal customer base. Our customers were receptive to new and interesting beers that were offered. We sold the Concealed Darkness for off-site consumption only. However, we dedicated three taps in the tasting room for Dark Hollow variances as an offering. We offered a Vietnamese coffee, chocolate and lavender variance once the door opened at 11 a.m. and had sold out by 2:30 p.m. Patrons also enjoyed our other lines, which we poured two of our around-the-year brands, with a seasonal offering batting clean-up.
CBB: What are a few things that you might do differently the next time you hold an event?
Beck: We learned a lot this time around. We were ambushed to be perfectly honest, but we acclimated well to the attendance. We most definitely will have some additional restrooms available. We will also more than likely beef up the staffing as well. The tasting room was open for beer sales for on premise consumption and beer-to-go. We had a two-tap beer station set up outside. We will be adding an additional beer station outdoors as well. We are also brainstorming some potential treats to add to the lineup this coming year.
CBB: What type and how many events do you plan on having in 2015?
Beck: We will definitely be doing the Dark Hollow Reserve Release Party and have touched a little on potentially hosting more. The three that are etched in stone thus far in order would be a Hop Stringing Party, Hop Harvest Party, which will happen at both locations, and the Dark Hollow Reserve Release Party.