25 Tips for Enhancing the Brewery Experience
Beer is a beautiful beverage. And breweries have become go-to places for date night or a night out with friends. But with so much competition in a booming industry, how can craft brewers hope to make their business stand out?
These days creating an individualized experience for your customers is essential to keep them coming back for more. You have to dig deep and really define your brewery, your brand, and the kinds of experiences you can offer in order to turn first time customers into regulars.
To help you figure out how to do just that, we’ve got 25 tips to create a unique brewery experience. Let’s get brewin’.
A Good Brewery Experience Matters - Here’s Why
You began your craft brewing business to create stellar beers that taste great. But that’s just step number one. If you want to run a truly successful brewing business, you need to understand what a good brewery experience actually is. And here’s a hint: It’s about more than just the beer.
Like any hospitality business, your brand is built on your customers’ experiences of your place. And so to be a successful brewery you need to offer a unique experience that sets your place apart from the competition. Customers come to breweries for a good drink and a good time – and that good time is just as important to the long term success of your business as that good drink.
25 Tips to Enhance the Brewery Experience
Every brewery is different. The brand, the vibe, the location - all of these things are a part of who you are. As you read through this list of tips, think about how you can adapt each one to enhance your customers’ experience of your brewery in a way that suits your brand and business.
1. Start with a strong brand
What makes you unique? The answer involves everything from your beer to the overall vibe your customers experience. Is it as warm and open as Stable Craft Brewing appears in the picture above? What words describe how your place feels? Lean into showcasing your unique vibe and brand personality.
2. Create a unique atmosphere
Your physical space is one of the very first impressions of your brewery customers will have. What kind of atmosphere do you want to create? In the example above, the long tables encourage different groups of people to elbow in beside each other, creating a super casual, friendly vibe.
3. Showcase your awards
Listen: You’ve earned the right to brag by snagging awards or top listings, like Rusty Rail Brewing Company. Go ahead and make room somewhere inside your brewery to brag. Let your customers know that the beer they’re drinking is top notch.
4. Bring in live music
Entertain your customers with live local music and music events like showcases or open mic nights. People who love to see live music, and support their local musician friends, will quickly become regulars at your brewery. And as you can see above, hosting regular live music means places like Leatherback Brewing always have something new to promote.
5. Link up with local artists
Connect with local artists to enhance your space in ways that are totally unique. From the dining room to the bathrooms and even your beer list (like Bier Brewery’s awesome chalk art), artists can give your space a real wow factor. You can also offer artists rotating showings in your brewery, giving them exposure and you a variety of new art for your customers to appreciate. And you can add art show openings or artist receptions to your list of regular yearly events.
6. Utilize your outdoor space
SpindleTap’s pavilion provides plenty of outdoor seating as part of its large outdoor entertainment area. Many breweries offer seasonal or even year-round outdoor seating, but go beyond seating. Think about how you can fully utilize your outdoor space. Done right, this extra space can play a major part in creating a unique customer experience of your craft brewery.
7. Show off the full range of your brews
There’s a wide and wonderful world of beers out there. Let your customers try out new kinds of beer or even new flavors. New Trail Brewing Co. offers so many different brews (for limited amounts of time each) that they have an actual beer catalog. With, as you can see above, over 200 beers.
8. Customer loyalty programs or memberships
You can go the minimalist punch card route offering “buy ten pints, get one free.” Or you can go the mug club route, where members buy a membership mug or, like Federation Brewing, a spot on the wall. Whatever you decide to do, offering membership or customer loyalty programs encourages customers to become regulars so they can get the perks these programs offer.
9. Get seasonal
Featuring seasonal brews, like the Pumpkin Spice Latte Ale by Atwater Brewer, is an obvious best practice for craft breweries. But how do you stand out from the crowd of breweries already planning next year’s winter and summer ales? Try partnering with local farmers, distributors or other businesses to add a little local flavor (pun intended) to your on-tap offerings.
10. Create On-Brand Merch
There are tons of merchandising options for craft breweries. No matter what merch you carry, make sure it reflects your brand and, of course, clearly displays your name and logo. Bullfrog Brewery uses the easy to recognize frog from its logo on most of the merch they offer.
11. Serve your beer with custom coasters
Custom coasters are both useful and a fun way to add a little flair to your customers’ drinking experience. Jagged Mountain added a street map to the back of their coasters, but you can use that space for just about anything, from fun facts to featured brews. It’s totally up to you.
12. Hand out custom decals during brewery tours
Everyone loves a freebie, and brewery enthusiasts often collect custom stickers or decals from the places they tour. These don’t have to be incredibly labor intensive to create and design, as you can see from the Cueni Brewing Co. example. A simple logo sticker or decal will do just fine.
13. Plan seasonal merch
T-shirts are a perennial favorite, but creating seasonally-appropriate merchandise means more choices for new and regular customers alike. It also means more consistent sales throughout the year for you. The sweatshirt above by Black Calder Brewing is just one of the many options they offer. Think beyond t-shirts to sweatshirts, beyond ball caps to beanies and even visors.
14. Create commemorative merch
This vintage coaster from Lees Brewery tells you everything you need to know about the occasion – 150 years in business – and the personality of the brand – definitely earthy and fun. Your own commemorative merch doesn’t have to wait for the century and a half mark to note an occasion, however. You can create merch for any milestone or event you want to share with your customers.
15. Add in a little competition
Adding games, and gaming areas, can draw a steady crowd of regulars to your brewery. Games like darts, above, and pool are classics, but corn hole, giant Dominoes or Jenga, trivia, card games and puzzle games are also popular and fun.
16. Host game nights
Once you incorporate games and gaming areas into your craft brewery, hosting game nights and even tournaments is a logical next step. 1912 Brewing Co.’s puzzle game night setup looks fun, and is a great idea for a date, friends, or even family.
17. Raffles for the win
Raffles are always a fun way to raise money for a charity, non-profit or local organization. It doesn’t really matter what you raffle, though the craft beer basket above is a fairly popular prize. Getting involved and helping out your neighbors is what counts.
18. Up the stakes with contests
Like game nights and tournaments, contests are a solid way to draw a crowd. Donate proceeds to a local organization, or just create a contest because it’s fun and people get a kick out of competing with their friends and neighbors. To celebrate their 30 year anniversary, Rogue Ale created the art contest “Paint the Can Dead” for their Dead Guy Ale label.
19. Partner with local organizations
Fundraisers and other charity events – whether you host them in-house or sponsor them in your community – are a great way to do some good in your neighborhood while potentially attracting new customers. Link up with charities, churches, non-profits, school sports teams or groups and other local organizations, like Susquehanna Brewing Company did above.
20. Host regular events in-house or nearby
ShawneeCraft Brewing Company plans to host their “Rhythm and Brews Live Music” events from March through December in the Pennsylvania Poconos area. Music and beer are a killer combo, of course, but your regular events can be anything that suits your brand and your customer base. Think holidays, think seasonal. Think fun.
21. Lean into what makes your area unique
Just as you focus on the strengths of your brand, look at what makes your local area unique as well. Is it popular with hikers, campers and other nature lovers? Offer sturdy, hike-ready packaging or even coolers for anyone who wants to take your brews along. Your merch can extend to popular camping gear like insulated tumblers or the bottle opener wallet card above that Green Bench Brewing Company sells.
22. Lean into being a venue
Breweries are great places for parties, bashes and receptions. If you’ve got the space for private events, go ahead and explore the wide and wonderful world of being an events venue. Just because you make a killer brew doesn’t mean that’s all you can do, right?
23. Start a club
Speaking of killer brews: Don’t rule out the idea of creating a beer of the month club or similar program, like the Hopsmore Craft Beer Club. Offering subscription-based packages is a fun way to promote your brewery and your beers. It also gives you a chance to try out new recipes on a small group of active and informed regulars. They get a sneak peek, and you get early bird feedback and reviews.
24. Create a stellar website
A static single page website is enough to provide any curious browser the basic information about your brewery. But a website that offers more makes it a website worth coming back to. Elk Creek Café and Aleworks uses their website to tell you about their beers, their menu, upcoming events and more.
25. Be social media savvy
There are tons of social media platforms to choose from these days. Find the ones that work for you and use them regularly. Savvy social media use builds and promotes your brand, as Weathered Souls has found on Instagram. A regular blog or newsletter lets regulars stay informed, and keeping a finger on the pulse of your reviews lets you nip small problems in the bud before they become big problems.
Improve Brewery Experience with Stomp
Whatever tips you use to create a unique and individualized customer experience, remember that a strong brand identity is always tip number one. In an industry full of competition, a strong brand and a unique brewery experience will set you apart.
Stay ahead of the pack with products such as custom coasters, brewery labels and even packaging like carriers and boxes. Stomp helps you create and design customized products with ease, so you can go back to planning your next wildly successful brew. Stand out from the competition by building your name with quality printed products. Contact us today.
- Marketing Team