by Kim Campbell
With more than 9,000 breweries in the United States, beer-based businesses face stiff competition in the battle for consumer attention. In addition to producing a high-quality product, many of the most successful breweries also create personalized, memorable experiences for their visitors. Hosting appealing and out-of-the-box events can attract new visitors to your venue and leave a lasting impression that keeps them coming back. The right brewery event ideas can also be used to drive venue sales, boost brand awareness, increase private bookings, and keep your customers wanting more.
In this post, we explore event ideas and strategies that breweries can use to reach new audience members, capture more revenue, and strengthen local relationships. From reoccurring marketing opportunities to one-of-a-kind affairs, we cover brewery event ideas for venues of every shape, size, and style.
Discover 10 brewery event ideas that drive profits and patronage
1. Organize a local beer festival
Attract regional attention by hosting a local beer festival. Invite well-known breweries, microbreweries, and regional distributors to attend the festival and showcase recently-released beers of their choosing. Include a wide variety of local and regional brews, spanning a range of styles and flavors. Promote live cooking demonstrations, beer-themed carnival games, an exceptional entertainment lineup, and other onsite activities in festival marketing materials.
Partner with community members and local businesses to maximize the impact and value of the festival. Offer vendor space to artists and artisans, and solicit sponsorships from community businesses.
2. Pack the tasting room
Host a variety of tasting events throughout the year to consistently attract new customers, as well as build a profitable base of repeat patrons. Keep your tasting room’s calendar of events full by hosting themed tastings, seasonal special events, and a variety of other tasting types, including:
Rare-release tastings: Organize specialty tastings for rare or limited-release beers. Because rare products tend to be expensive and more difficult to acquire, venues can increase ticket prices for rare-release tastings to reflect the exclusivity of the event.
Virtual tastings: Host virtual tastings to increase brand awareness and drive e-commerce sales. Connect with remote audience members and long-distance beer connoisseurs using a high-quality virtual event platform. Invite online attendees to take a photorealistic 3D tour of the brewery before joining the remote tasting session.
Blind tastings: Inspired by one of our favorite business-boosting winery event ideas, blind-tasting attendees attempt to guess the style of beer without being able to see the product. Select multiple beers of the same variety, such as pilsners or stouts, to see if tasters can identify specifics.
Exclusive member tastings: If your brewery has a membership or loyalty club, promote member-only tastings as part of the club’s value. Members receive discounts on regular tasting tickets, as well as exclusive access to limited tastings and “First Taste” release events.
Drive additional revenue by using the taproom to sell branded merchandise, process bulk beer orders, and sell easy-to-serve snacks. Offer tasting attendees discounts on future tasting tickets, single-use online promotional codes, and other targeted offers.
3. Drive special event bookings with a weekend wedding show
Couples nearby may not be aware that your brewery hosts special events or weddings. Increase event bookings and drive more wedding business to your venue by hosting a local wedding show. Invite diverse wedding professionals and vendors from the area, such as wedding planners, designers, decorators, florists, entertainers, and more.
After confirming vendors and tradeshow participants, organize festive games, plan wedding-themed activities, offer door prizes, and market promotional giveaways. Market the show to both brides and grooms to increase attendance, and reach thousands of wedding planners and couples alike by promoting your brewery as a premier wedding venue on Cvent’s Wedding Spot.
4. Host trivia nights to drive weekday business
Busy weekends are great for boosting bottom-line revenue, but experienced brewery marketing managers can fill their venue every night of the week. Host popular weekday events, such as a weekly trivia night, to drive business Monday through Thursday. Use Cvent’s Event diagramming tools to turn the tasting room into a trivia tournament space. Arrange space for the host as well as separate tables for each team.
Host trivia nights to build a repeat customer base and fill more tables at your event. King Trivia, experts in planning and hosting trivia-based events, have been involved in over 65,000 events since 2014. With a keen view of how well events perform, King Trivia reports that 85% of trivia participants keep coming back, week after week. On average, venues that hosted King Trivia events filled 98% of their tables at trivia night.
Choose a host who is engaging, funny, and confident in a crowd. Regularly switch up the trivia theme to capture new audiences. Host holiday-themed trivia nights, feature fan-favorite shows, explore different genres, and put participants’ general knowledge to the test. Consider charging a small ticket fee or enforcing a food and beverage minimum to boost profits.
5. Host fantasy sports-centric events
If you’re experiencing low turnout in the summer months or looking for sports-related brewery event ideas, become the host venue for a fantasy sports league and provide a welcoming, laid-back atmosphere for local fantasy sports fanatics to meet throughout the year.
Drive late-summer brewery traffic by hosting a planning party for fantasy players in preparation for the upcoming season. Then, kick off the official start of football season with an over-the-top draft party. Offer beer specials, promotional merchandise, and game-day snacks. Announce that the league winner(s) will receive an incredible prize to lock in satisfied customers for the rest of the season.
Increase brand awareness and surplus revenue during fantasy sports events by selling brewery-branded draft kits. Pack the kit with player stickers, branded draft boards, league tee-shirts, and a seasonal beer mug, providing players with everything they need to get through the year.
6. Throw epic after-parties for area events
Are major festivals or area-wide events commonplace in your area? If so, capitalize on the existing buzz surrounding area events by hosting after-parties. Market your brewery as the place to go for event attendees who want to keep the party going. Advertise event-related themes, live entertainment, and after-party brewery specials to attract the attention of concertgoers, sports fans, and other out-of-towners.
Attaching venue information to media and commentary about the event can help your brewery land a place in the “things to do” section of event press releases. Share after-party information on the brewery’s social media accounts, as well as pages related to the event.
7. Partner with fellow breweries for Tap Takeovers
Partner with a local brewing company or microbrewery that has a new beer to introduce or a seasonal return to celebrate. Offer to host their tasting at your venue during a Tap Takeover event. Design promotional glasses for the takeover, market the event on social media, and advertise any Tap Takeover specials being offered. Build additional buzz by including a tap event, a brewing tradition. At tapping events, spectators gather to witness the tapping of the very first keg of a brand-new beer.
Hosting a Tap Takeover can be a powerful marketing opportunity for both breweries, expanding the marketing reach of each business and introducing their brand to new audiences. Partner with fellow breweries to promote strong relationships, build local bonds, and create endless networking opportunities.
8. Partner with local restaurants for a food truck festival
Partner with local food trucks to host a regional festival or food truck rodeo. Customers will have the opportunity to order freshly-made food alongside their favorite craft beer as they enjoy an afternoon at your brewery. By working in tandem with local restaurants and food trucks, breweries can keep their focus on venue operations and the production of excellent beer while expanding their audience reach through restaurant marketing cross-promotion opportunities.
Michael Gramins, Craft Brewery and Business Development Director at Boelter specialize in the food and beverage industry. Gramins authored an industry perspective discussing modern food service opportunities for brewers. He enthusiastically voiced his support for partnering with food trucks, stating, “This is the perfect opportunity for both businesses to increase their brand awareness by working together to develop interesting and engaging events, while also highlighting their own, unique skills.”
9. Organize a Dog Days of Summer fundraiser
Organize a Dog Days of Summer event during the hottest time of the year. Invite community members to bring their pups and beat the heat at your brewery. Set up outdoor water activities, like pet-friendly hoses and fountain toys, as well as outdoor games, vendor stations, and snacks.
Book a local BBQ restaurant or smokehouse to cater the event, and partner with a local animal shelter to encourage adoptions. Encourage the shelter to bring socialized adoptable animals to the event so that prospective pet owners can form a connection through one-on-one interaction.
By partnering with a local non-profit organization, breweries can raise their local profile, strengthen the venue’s community reputation, and reach new audience members through fundraiser marketing.
10. Host a Beer Pairing Dinner
Highlight the quality and versatility of your beer by hosting a Beer Pairing Dinner. Attendees enjoy course after course of fresh, high-quality dishes paired with complementing beers. Explore various food and beer styles, encouraging attendees to try something new and make a deeper connection with your product through a unique experience.
Strategically market pairing dinners and other food-focused events to attract resident foodies to your venue, as well as millennial consumers. Making up 25% of consumers, millennials have incredible buying power in the brewing industry. Madison Taylor Marketing found that millennials seek out small, high-quality, locally owned, and independent craft breweries.
“They place a strong focus on variety, consistent availability of their favorite beers, more flavor options, and seasonal offerings, draught beers over canned or bottled ones, and beers that complement foods,” the marketing agency purported in recent industry analysis.
Frequently asked questions about brewery events
How can I attract repeat customers to my brewery?
Providing an exceptional customer experience is vital to creating repeat customers. Offer high-quality products, services, and one-of-a-kind experiences to patrons. Cultivate a brand image and venue atmosphere that makes customers feel like they’re part of the culture of your brand, your beer, and your business.
Look for brewery event ideas that appeal to members of your target audience, and host recurring events that attract well-paying customers. Institute a loyalty program that rewards repeat customers with discounts, access to VIP events, and other exclusive perks.
How frequently should a brewery host events?
Frequently host events to book brewery business, especially during low-demand periods and historically slower seasons. Don’t be afraid to book private, public, and corporate events during the week as well as on weekends — just ensure proper staffing first. During the week, you can also plan smaller events (i.e. trivia night, karaoke, targeted tastings) that will attract new business without displacing your loyal base.
How do you attract more corporate business to a brewery?
Attract more third-party and corporate planners with Cvent Advertising. Appeal to travel and event planners by highlighting key venue features, displaying your meeting space, and detailing event services. Host team-building activities, corporate retreats, and networking mixers to connect with business leaders and corporate planners in your area.
Put these strategic brewery event ideas to work!
Pack your calendar with these brewery event ideas and get the word out!
Up next, we explore a variety of strategies that venues can use to increase their marketing power. Discover who your competitors are, define your target audience, improve your web presence, and introduce new customers to your brewery event ideas using some of our tried and true venue marketing ideas.
Kim is a full-time copy and content writer with many years of experience in the hospitality industry. She entered the hotel world in 2013 as a housekeeping team member and worked her way through various departments before being appointed to Director of Sales. Kim has championed numerous successful sales efforts, revenue strategies, and marketing campaigns — all of which landed her a spot on Hotel Management Magazine’s “Thirty Under 30” list. Don’t be fooled though; she’s not all business! An avid forest forager, post-apocalyptic fiction fan, and free-sample-fiend, Kim prides herself on being well-rounded.