What’s the point in doing tastings at liquor stores, beer festivals and restaurants? For one, exposure. Getting your brand name out there and introducing people within your market to your beer is one of the major factors in longevity. Making your beer recognizable and delicious are the two things that are going to keep you in business. Also, people love free beer, and those tastings directly lead to increased on-site sales.
We here at reCreativeAGENCY, recently started providing tastings in partnership with Hartford Distributors Inc. and SamPoll App where we put together a sampling of the newest beer to hit shelves in Connecticut. The first selection? SweetWater Brewing Co. from Atlanta.
The main purpose of our tasting event is to get people in the Connecticut market to taste and love SweetWater enough to buy. The beer speaks for itself but in a new, extremely saturated market, how will they stand out? Below you’ll find three things you can do to make your brewery stand out at a tasting, festival or tap takeover. Some of these aren’t for everyone but you can bet your ass implementing one or a few will get you more sales, more interest and more long-term brewery visitors.
1. Bring options
In every state, there are going to be those beers that are overwhelmingly popular and mass produced, and then there will be those that don’t get talked about as often but when they do, damn. In our home state of Connecticut, New England IPAs are where it’s at. Every brewery has one (or twelve), and they all seem to favor that style or other IPAs. Not only should you be promoting the beer that is currently your state/county/town’s “it” beer, but it should be displayed loudly and proudly during your tastings. For those breweries marketing out of state, make sure that state’s preference is represented as much as possible within your tasting.
Offering what everyone loves will get them to visit your booth, offering something a little different will help keep them there.
By providing a variety of tastes, breweries can set themselves apart from the other brewer next door that also has a NEIPA, an IPA and a double IPA. Why not bring your one lambic beer or that oatmeal stout that won gold at the Great American Beer Festival? Show you’ve got a variety of options for those people who, like me, don’t like IPAs (blasphemy, I know). Bring out your wheat ale that complements the IPA taste without leaving that extra hoppy flavor, bring out your fruity beers that show your true range and if you strictly make one type of beer, make sure you show the range in those. As we here in Connecticut can attest, almost every NEIPA has its own distinct taste.
A 2014 Eventbrite survey of 5,000 food and drink festival attendees found that after a beer event, 99 percent of participants will recommend your brand to a friend. Not to mention, half will buy your beer on the spot, and 40 percent will sign up for your email newsletter.
Imagine how many more people will buy your beer right there if you offer a wider variety.
2. Bring swag
Nothing says “I love this brewery” more than walking around with it emblazoned on your shirt and honestly, who doesn’t love free swag? Now, we’re not saying to give away all of your stuff, but try stuff like having a drawing for all the people who visited your tent and tasted your beer, or use an app like SamPoll to create a tasting challenge that automatically enters them to win something awesome. This provides an opportunity for more people throughout social media to see and rate your brews.
People who are going to beer festivals love drinking beer and knowing about beer. We all know those guys who walk straight up to you and ask you which hops you’re using and why you chose to go with Citra instead of Galaxy. Those people are your word of mouth marketing for life. If you can get them to love you by providing them with great beer and an awesome experience or some sweet swag, they’ll sing your praises til the end of time.
3. Entice people to swing by the tasting room
I know that sounds like a no-brainer, right? People come to beer festivals or in-store beer tastings and leave with (hopefully) a new found love of your beer. But how do you get them to come back? Give them with a reason to. Even giving away something as simple as $1 off a pint or a free branded glass when you buy a flight will drive more people into the brewery, get people to buy more beer and, as an added bonus, bring friends.
Of course, without the added incentive, they can always buy again in stores if you distribute, but wouldn’t you want your customers to come have the brewery experience? With the amount of craft breweries popping up each day in the United States, the one thing that will make your beer stand out against the competition is the experience you provide at the tasting room. Other than your badass can art and any prior knowledge of the brand, what makes you stand out over the 15 other IPAs sitting on the shelves right next to yours? They might still pick you, but wouldn’t you want to solidify that by creating a kickass tasting room experience?
All in all, it is our humble belief that tasting events create consumers for life, so make sure you do all you can in your approach to make it happen.