Beer Festival Must-Haves: Making Your Beer Tent Buzz
Festivals are a massive opportunity for brewers. It’s almost difficult for us to overstate the importance of doing at least one or two of these events per year.
A beer tent is an opportunity to share your product with hundreds (or even thousands) of festival-goers, all of whom are potential customers. Festivals are an opportunity to cast a line into a small pond full practically overstocked with hungry fish. Should be easy to get a bite, right?
Not so fast. Because the thing is, you’re casting that line in the pond with a bunch of other skilled business folks.
Festivals and concerts with beer tents are now a staple of the summer season. They exist in nearly every major city across America, ranging from small gatherings in the park to huge, large-scale events at sprawling fairgrounds.
Brewers travel far and wide to showcase their product, creating a vibrant, exciting environment for beer lovers everywhere. Look at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver. The event brings in over 60,000 attendees each year, serving over 4,000 beers from breweries worldwide.
That’s a lot of bubbly goodness. And as a brewery, that’s also a lot of other breweries offering products similar to your own.
Finding success at a beer festival takes more than just showing up with great-tasting beer. You need to consider the other variables: marketing best practices, how your staff interacts with the crowd, what your beer tent looks like, and what you have to offer that’s different from everyone else. It’s no easy feat; but your friends at Stomp are here to help.
Choosing the Event That’s Right for You
Bringing your brewery to a festival is a big commitment. Before you sign up and pay the vendor fees, make sure you’ve done your research to determine whether this venue has the crowd and demographic to make it worth your time. You don’t want to pull three of your people away from the main brewery just to have them stand around all day.
Moreover, you want to know what kind of atmosphere you’re getting into. Consider attendance, location, and the overall vibe. Does it align with your business? Are the patrons the types of customers you want to engage? Does the festival “feel” right?
Take time to research your events. It’s worth it. Carefully selecting the right festival for your brewery is the first step to maximizing your exposure.
How to Create a Buzzworthy Tent
Now that you’ve picked the proper festival, you need to think about your physical footprint. This starts with a dynamic beer tent. Generating buzz around your product at a beer festival requires more than a tent that looks cool (although, of course, that’s an excellent start).
Below, we’ve laid out some marketing strategies to consider that will help generate organic excitement around your booth.
Generate Pre-Event Chatter Through Social Media
Event marketing does not begin at the start of an event. You need to let people know you’re going to be there ahead of time.
This isn’t that complicated. Create a marketing calendar leading up to the event. A few times a week (or more or less, depending on your overall marketing strategy and brewery size), post different teasers or sneak peeks of your offerings. Highlight the types of beers you’ll serve and whatever else patrons can expect from your beer tent, whether it’s snacks, games, whatever.
Also be sure to tag the festival in each social media post, theoretically encouraging organic sharing amongst mutual brands trying to market an event. This helps create anticipation, and people will come to the festival looking for what your beer tent offers.
Make Your Tent Stand Out
There are many ways to create a memorable canopy beer tent. The most important thing to remember is that this is a physical outpost of your brewery, meaning it’s another environment to reflect your aesthetic.
A booth crafted as carefully as your beer will help your brewery stand out from the millions of others on the tent line. You may want to consider unique lighting, decorations, or big and beautiful branded backdrops to help showcase your brewery.
Not sure where to start? Follow our guide to designing a perfect canopy tent.
Give the Crowd Something to Talk About
Festival-goers are there to see as much as possible. They spend their time bouncing around from booth to booth, sampling a little bit of everything. Yes, we want to believe that your beer is significant enough to stand out among hundreds of vendors (and we have no doubt it is!). But let’s be honest, there are going to be other breweries around and you need to stand out.
One way to stand out is to offer a game or event. Maybe it’s a simple carnival game, like ring toss or “guess the amount in a jar” or something else. Maybe it’s a competition. Or maybe you put up a basketball hoop and give away branded t-shirts or totes, custom stickers, coasters, or even beer to people who nail a three-pointer.
No matter what idea you come up with, it should be fun, engaging, and generate word-of-mouth interest in your beer tent. You’ll be surprised how much buzz a simple idea could generate.
Offer the Basics
Given that you’re a brewery with a beer tent at a beer festival, it’s easy to see why you might get caught up focusing on… well, the beer.
Don’t get tunnel vision. It’s essential not to overlook the basics when setting up a beer tent. People will be bouncing around, consuming beer after beer after beer. So you know what they might like? A nice bottle of water.
Make sure you’ve got ample water at your beer tent. While lots of booths put out a self-serve water cooler, you can take your display to the next level with customized water bottles with your logo so fellow festival-goers know where to tap some much-needed H20.
Encourage User-Generated Content
Think of the hundreds or thousands of festival-goers as more than just potential customers. They’re potential marketers.
Set up your booth so it’s photo-friendly. When people take a picture and tag your brewery on social media, they’re automatically entered into a contest. That way people start sharing photos of your brand with their followers, unknowingly marketing your product while having fun.
Boom. Free marketing. Smart, eh?
Use Drink ‘N Peel™️ Labels
Someone grabs a beer from your booth, cracks it open, and enjoys it. That’s the end of their experience with your product, right? All you can do is hope they like it enough to buy it in a store or tell their friends about it, right?
Wrong on both accounts.
Stomp’s Drink ‘N Peel™️ labels have transformed the marketing capabilities of beer products. These unique peel-off label products are a creative way to promote your brewery. Customers can peel the label off like a sticker, keeping it as a souvenir or something to stick elsewhere later. With the right kind of thinking for marketing, Drink ‘N Peel labels can create a lasting memory of your brewery.
Interested in learning more about Drink ‘N Peel labels? Check out our guide explaining how they work and how these unique labels can help you get the most out of your designs.
Snacks, Snacks, Snacks
Festivals and fairs have their food figured out — whether they hand out pretzel necklaces, host food trucks, or have the obligatory alley of deep fried dessert stands. But that doesn’t mean that your brewery can’t offer something as well.
People want to eat while they drink beer. That’s just a simple fact of life. Even if you’ve just got something simple like chips or cheese balls, the average attendee will be grateful and excited to munch on something delicious at your beer tent while they try your latest IPA. For bonus points, make sure your snacks are Instagram-worthy, encouraging festival-goers to share their experience to their social media followers.
Just make sure you’re following local regulations for food sampling; especially since roaming health inspectors are sure to pay you a visit or two during the event.
Know Thy Neighbor (and Your Overall Surroundings)
At the end of the day, people remember good people. Your beer tent should have a good vibe not only from a beer perspective, but on a human level. When you arrive at a festival, be sure to equip yourself with knowledge about what the surrounding vendors are offering and the area at large.
That way, when you eventually chat with attendees, you can point them to different options. Like maybe the neighboring beer tent has some of the best sours at the festival, and your brewery doesn’t even offer a sour. Or perhaps someone is looking for a post-festival place to eat, and you know there’s an excellent pizzeria a few blocks over.
Whatever the case, people remember good customer service. And if they associate your brand with pleasant, helpful experiences, they are more likely to buy your product in the future.
Offer Post-Event Discounts
The marketing doesn’t stop when the event ends. Consider offering post-festival discounts to those who visit your beer tent. Maybe it’s a two-for-one beverage at your brewery or a discount on a t-shirt. All of these things represent the same goal: an opportunity to keep the festival’s momentum while building lasting relationships with your customers.
Make Your Brewery Stand Out at a Beer Festival
Beer festivals are powerful marketing opportunities. And they can also be overwhelming. Don’t underestimate the work that goes into creating a holistic and effective marketing experience at a festival. But choosing the right festival while creating a buzzworthy custom canopy tent ensures you’ll connect with festival-goers and stand out from the crowd.
- Nashira Edmiston