Never take for granted that your tasting room is the epicenter of your brand. Whether your staff is serving a first-time guest or a frequent visitor, their visit is not only impacted by the quality of your beer, but also the quality of their experience. With so many great drinking establishments readily available, you should strive to make sure your guests enjoy their visit at your brewery and also crave your beer when not there.
With this said, your competition is not just the 7,499 other breweries. Your competition is the bottle shop down the street, the craft beer bar with a ton of buzz, the pizza place with 77 taps, and even the super hip chain restaurant that flaunts words like “craft” and “artisanal” in every menu description. And let’s be honest, very few of us go to the same craft beer destination every time we go out. We like to explore and try new places. “Loyalty” isn’t craft beer’s middle name. But obviously your leg up here is your products can travel outside your walls.
What customers are saying
The Brewers Association and Nielsen put out a ton of fascinating data in the 2019 Craft Beer Insights Panel Survey Results. This study, dubbed “Getting Inside the Mind of the Craft Beer Consumer – 2019” touches on what’s going on with brewery visits and follow up sales. 51% of those surveyed state that they are not particularly loyal to any one or sets of craft beer brands. According to the study, 58% of those surveyed purchase “a lot/little more” of a brewery’s beer after visiting. Those purchasing more stated that they are 60% likely to make these purchases while at a retail store and 54% likely to purchase the brewery’s beer at a restaurant/bar.
The study doesn’t really discuss the factors contributing to these results. With regard to the educational component, 43% of those who have chosen to visit a brewery’s tasting room rather than a bar have done so to learn about different beers. 36% of those who have chosen to visit a brewery’s tasting room rather than go to a traditional bar have done so because they know the staff will be more knowledgeable. However, these are the only, brief mentions that touch on the importance of engagement.
Engagement can create loyalty
Through a Secret Hopper study consisting of 1,142 non-paid brewery visits, we analyzed the effect of engagement on brewery guests’ likelihood of purchasing a brewery’s offerings at other establishments. The goal of our study is to take a deeper dive into how a brewery staff’s interaction with guests further influence consumers’ spending habits.
When a guest receives low engagement at a brewery, they are 43.6% likely to purchase that brewery’s beer at other establishments. With neutral engagement, a guest is now 66.5% likely to purchase that brewery’s beer elsewhere. As engagement increases to moderate, they are 86.8% likely. When a guest receives high engagement at a brewery, they are 93.2% likely to purchase that brewery’s beer at other establishments. Through a prior study, we discovered that guests receiving high engagement also spend 17.1% more than those receiving low engagement.
A brewery guest receiving high engagement is 49.6% more likely to purchase that brewery’s offerings at another establishment than when a guest receives low engagement.
The value is twofold. Those guests receiving higher levels of engagement not only spend more within your tasting room, but they are also more likely to purchase your brand while at other businesses. This may seem intuitive, but high engagement is not always present. Based on a study of 5,064 non-paid brewery visits, guests are still receiving low/neutral engagement 22% of the time. High engagement is happening during 42.3% of visits, and moderate 35.7% of the time.
Remember that the growth of craft beer is not only dependent on those purchasing pints at breweries, but everywhere craft beer is sold. Help create an entire memory surrounding their visit. The experience makes the beer taste better. Let your guests savor your beer then seek it out.