This time of year, the city of Cleveland is pretty well covered in orange barrels to mark the summer road construction season, but a lot of additional downtown development as well as two movies filming in the city has pushed traffic to new levels of congestion, frustrating the city’s work force — especially on a Friday, when any reasonable person is trying to hurry home or to the closest watering hole for a couple nice craft brews.
Last Friday, a couple of these reasonable, frustrated people, sitting on the Detroit Shoreway on Cleveland’s West Side took to social media and tweeted at the city’s craft brewing mecca, Great Lakes Brewing Co., that it should come up with a beer special to mark the occasion and reward all of these thirsty travelers stuck in yet another traffic jam.
So, it did.
“I manage social media for Great Lakes Brewing Co., and our Retail General Manager Jeff West is also a huge Twitter enthusiast,” said Marissa DeSantis, communications assistant for Great Lakes. “We both noticed multiple people posting messages on Twitter and Facebook suggesting that we create a Shoreway Shutdown Shandy, so we put our heads together and decided to create a timely cocktail.”
The recipe was simple but highly effective. Shoreway Shutdown Shandy was equal parts The Wright Pils, the company’s June seasonal that’s available year-round in the gift shop, and lemonade. Crisp, refreshing and just what the social media horde ordered.
After the decision was made, it was Great Lakes’ turn to hit social media to let everyone know the Shoreway Summer Shandy was available that night only for $5 on site, so come and get ‘em.
“We’re not really in the shandy-making business, so we wanted to make sure our customers knew this was only a temporary special,” DeSantis said. “Because the idea was born of our social media interactions, that’s the way we chose to promote it—just Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. A few local news channels and publications picked up on it.”
Great Lakes sold about 100 that night. Granted, the promotion was on a Friday, which is typically a busy day for the brewery, but DeSantis noted an extremely positive response to both the drink itself and the customer interaction that inspired it.
“People really seemed to appreciate that we were able to deliver a true Cleveland-inspired cocktail so quickly—and when they needed it most,” she said. “Many of our customers thanked us for giving them the perfect refreshment after sitting in traffic all day. We may bring it back, but we have no set plans at this time. Of course, it is orange barrel season in Cleveland.”
Does your craft brewery have a similar story of using social media to connect with customers in a way beyond the typical, to either create a buzz, generate sales or just do something fun? Let us know at [email protected].