Looking for ways to fill your tasting room on traditionally slow days? Here’s a list of brewery event ideas to keep people coming through the doors:
Parties! And After Parties! Everyone loves a party. There are tons of themes to choose from, whether it be a holiday or just for fun. Beer themed holidays such as Oktoberfest are a given. However, you can get creative and try out themes that tie into your local community as well. For example, if your city is holding a big tourism event, ride their marketing push by holding a party at your nearby brewery that’s themed to match the event and its audience. Doing this is likely to go you listed in local papers and other media that covers the main event and the “things to do” afterward – Free publicity rules!
Trivia night – Old school or digital, there are lots of ways to go about holding trivia nights. Be sure not to skimp on prizes! While no one will argue if you give out cool swag as small prizes, offering a grand prize like an LCD TV is an inexpensive way to keep people engaged and in your tasting room. Lots of places hold trivia nights, so also look into how yours will be different that other places nearby. There are even companies like “Geeks Who Drink” that specialize in coming to your brewery and helping you host trivia nights – easy is always nice!
Tap-takeovers – Connect with other local and regional breweries and offer to trade a tap-takeover at each other’s place. If a trade won’t work, it’s not a loss. Serving another craft brewery’s beer, providing its quality meets your high standards, can expose your brewery to a whole new crowd. The added exposure is something that both breweries can benefit from.
Game Nights & Tournaments – Simple, fun, and not too difficult to setup. Host a game night or tournament for any popular game(s). Connect four, Operation, giant Jenga. You get the gist – the goofier the game, the better.
Live Music and Battle of the Bands – Most local bands would love the chance to play for the public and often times they bring their own crowds. Advertise on social media that you are looking for local bands to play in your tasting room and once you’ve got a few bands that you’ve made contact with, ask if they might be interested in some friendly competition. Be sure to offer a prize to the winner.
Hold charity events – Extend community goodwill and brand exposure by allowing non-profits to hold events at your brewery. Offer a special on beer and/or food to participants. The organization will help you promote, as it benefits them to get people to come out. Also, non-profit events usually good organic exposure on social networks because people are more apt to engage with non-commercial content, so be sure to promote the event on your social media pages.
Special events for mug club members – A mug club is a great way to keep loyal customer’s coming back in and of itself, but holding special events for these members is an added benefit that can fill your tasting room with loyal, repeat customers. Offer something special and/or exclusive, such as a “first taste” of a special release, that members wouldn’t normally get.
Bring your own vinyl night – If you can get this setup with a local DJ, it can be a good way to engage millennials and any of us old people who actually held on to our vinyl records. Typically the DJ will bring their own vinyl as well to get things started and let people who didn’t bring their own sort through and request songs from the collection.
Painting/Canvas nights – There are services that offer to hold canvas events at your place for a fee that usually based upon ticket sales. You promote it and they bring an instructor and all the materials. Your guests just show up and order their beer to go with. These events tend to draw groups of that key demographic: women craft beer drinkers. Get on Google and see if there are any services like this around you or you might even think about starting one with a local art studio.
Adult coloring night – Adult coloring books are a thing now. The folks at Hopping Gnome have been holding monthly coloring nights for some time now with success – especially with the ladies. Have customers bring their own coloring books and supplies, but try and have some on hand for those who might be new.
Beer + Yoga – Yep, it’s a thing, too. Allow an instructor to hold yoga class in your tasting room or even in the brewery itself depending upon your space and you will have yourself a captive audience of mostly women. The price per session is usually somewhere between $20-$30 per session and includes a pint of beer for, you know, post workout recovery!
Fantasy sports draft events – Fantasy sports have a huge, loyal following. Capitalize on each sport’s draft by offering a “Draft Day” event. Offer specials to incentivize attendance. One caveat: Don’t attempt this one if your wi-fi sucks or is non-existent. Trust me, you don’t want to be troubleshooting internet problems mid-draft or you will have an angry mob on your hands. So, while this can draw a good crowd, you won’t want to bother if you don’t have stable WiFi and bandwidth for your guests.
Themed Holiday Events and Contests – Costume parties and contests, New Year’s Eve midnight Saison toasts, Holloween pumpkin carving contests. Get creative and your customers will have a blast!
Looking for more ideas? Head on over the Beer Events page at Beer Advocate to get an idea of what other breweries are doing. As with everything, test different types of events and don’t give up on the first go-round if your event isn’t mega-popular right away. Get feedback from attendees and learn how to make your events even better, so that they will become popular and fill your tasting room, even on those traditionally slow days.