5 Activities to Help Your Brewery Build a Community
Breweries are popular places for people to gather and come together. The atmosphere, the food, and the family-friendly nature draw people in for everything from a quick bite to a leisurely afternoon spent reconnecting with friends.
Despite the growth and booming popularity of breweries, a brewery owner’s job never ends - especially if you’re still in the early stages of your company’s lifespan. You are constantly figuring out how to create the best beer, how to grow your brand, and how to get people into your establishment.
While we can’t tell you how to make beer, we can offer some tips to drive visits and establish a larger footprint in your community.
Let’s look at five ways you can make your brewery or taproom the go-to gathering place.
1. Host Live Entertainment
Live entertainment and breweries go together like hops and yeast. Together they create something people love!
Live entertainment improves the atmosphere of your brewery and encourages people to spend more time in your taproom. It also leads to bigger tabs, repeat visitors, and expands your reach in the community.
One brewery that does this exceptionally well is Surly Brewing in Minneapolis, MN. They are known for hosting big-name musical acts like Tenacious D and Death Cab for Cutie and keep a robust live events schedule.
Not everyone is going to get big names at their venue so start local. Check out neighborhood bars and venues, ask friends in the community, or consider hosting an open mic night to find acts that best fit the vibe of your business.
Remember, live entertainment doesn’t just mean live music. In addition to local bands or musicians, consider hiring local performers, comedy troupes, burlesque shows, or anything else that will draw a crowd. The goal is to create something fun and consistent that keeps people coming back.
Be sure to check out your local regulations to determine if you need an entertainment permit or if you need to charge a cover. We don’t want any lawbreakers!
2. Offer Board Games or Cards
Few things are more relaxing than spending an afternoon with friends at a brewery. It’s fun, it’s affordable, and a large number of places are family-friendly.
To encourage people to take a load off and settle in, put board games or card games on the tables for people to play. It gives customers something to do, keeps them at the brewery longer, and creates a sense of fun.
Pure Project in Balboa Park, CA, is famous for offering a laid-back atmosphere, complete with lots and lots of board games for people to enjoy.
Need ideas? I think at this point we are all familiar with the giant Jenga (a brewery staple) but check out the local Goodwill or thrift shop for used games. People love playing games they once did as kids (Connect Four, Uno, Go Fish) and thrift shops are great for these.
3. Host a Trivia Night
Weekly trivia nights are a staple for many. They are an excuse to get out for the night, mingle with friends, have a drink, and maybe win a gift certificate.
When executed correctly, a weekly trivia night will give people something to look forward to and help you draw a large crowd to your brewery on what otherwise would be a slow night (Hint: there’s a reason so many trivia nights are on Tuesdays).
Unmapped Brewing in Minnetonka, MN, is an excellent example of a brewery that does this well:
If you’re unsure how to put on your own trivia event, contract out to a company that specializes in organizing fun trivia nights for breweries around the country. Geeks Who Drink and Pub Trivia are two well-known national companies but there may be local vendors in your area as well.
4. Plan a Monthly Theme Night
One way to build a community is to include all of those in your community.
Ladies’ nights, LGBTQIA+ nights, and fundraiser events allow you to celebrate and include various groups.
Payette Brewing Co in Boise, ID does this with “tap takeover” nights that partner with local charities and organizations to raise money and provide a fun event for everyone:
5. Create an Activities Calendar
What are we doing this weekend? Is there anything going on nearby?
These are the questions we ask ourselves when planning. We then take a look at the local calendar or check out what our favorite restaurants, bars, and breweries have going on.
Give your community something to do.
Paint N Drink, Boozy Yoga, Blind Tasting Competitions, and seasonally themed events like pumpkin carving or gingerbread house decorating (see Progression Brewing Co. in Northampton, MA below) are all great ways to draw a crowd and have some fun.
To make these events as popular as possible, keep them unique, fun, and accessible. Look for seasonal or regional inspiration, and focus on building a tradition that people look forward to each year.
You also have to keep them consistent. A dart night is a great one-off activity but a dart league ensures that the group comes back every week.
Don’t be afraid to think outside the box. Ask your regulars what they like to do, check out other local breweries, and find the activities that drive your community.
Start Building a Community and Your Business
Breweries are great gathering places, but creating a community can take time - especially if your brewery is new to the area.
Fortunately, these tips can help you draw a crowd, create events and traditions people look forward to, and become a go-to gathering place in your neighborhood.
When it’s time to create custom stickers, labels, coasters, and more to keep the good times flowing, Stomp is here for you. Visit our website to check out our complete lineup of Brewery Products today and to find the perfect match for your taproom.
- Nashira Edmiston