A guide to hosting beer events
By Charles Whitting
Hosting events centred around craft beer is a great way to spread the word about your venue, build relationships with local brewers and get more customers in on a quiet week night.
Pubs and hotels have long held events like quizzes, pub sports and happy hours to draw punters in. They provide another reason for people to venture into the on-premise to enjoy themselves with friends in a fun and engaging environment.
At a time when more and more people are engaging with craft beer, hosting something which allows them to do so in your venue is a great opportunity. While some of these events might not bring in direct boosts to your bottom line, they can be essential to generating a reputation for craft beer in your customers’ minds. If they have one good night out learning about porters and stouts at your pub, the next time they’re thinking about heading out for a drnk, it will be your venue that springs first to mind.
“Do it,” orders Alex Hogan, bar manager at The Woolly Mammoth in Brisbane. “Do it now… and invite me. Get the brewers and distributors involved; they love drinking and talking craft. There are a slew of Facebook groups made up of passionate, enthusiastic and thirsty craft beer loving larrikins. Get in there and get involved.”
These events also provide a great way for you to introduce brewers to your customers. If brewers are given the chance to showcase their products, then they will lend their marketing, social media and advertising nous to your own, bolstering both of your businesses in the process. The more that you can do to build relationships between yourself and your customers, and yourself and your beer suppliers, the better. And these events are often the perfect way to do both.
“Promotions and events such as tap takeovers and ‘Meet the Brewer’ are a great way to get craft moving through your venue,” says Nick Porter, licensee of the DOG Hotel, Sydney. “Beer of the months, trivia special, Saturday specials etc are seriously great ways of improving your offer to the punters. With so many craft breweries, there is saturation in the market and they are willing to do deals. My advice is to have a strong marketing team behind you who can push these events and work with the breweries so it’s an equally beneficial event. The marketing guys are essentially the ideas engine room of your business and you need trust with what they come up with.”
Here are some beer-themed events that some of the country’s best beer venues are currently hosting to build interest around their venues and products:
Craft Beer Fight Club – Dove and Olive, Sydney
“Two microbreweries go head to head, beer to beer, to battle it out for our Golden Growler trophy,” says publican Chris Deale. “Each brewer presents their two best brews and debate and quaff their way to beer glory. Ultimately the recipient of the Golden Growler not only wins a plaque on our Golden Growler trophy, but also wins one of the taps at the D&O as Beer of the Month. Craft Beer Fight Club came from humble beginnings but has grown immensely since the original showdown with Stone & Wood vs Murray’s in March 2013. Since that date we’ve had some ripper battles between local brewers and interstate breweries rolling in the big guns.”
Ale Stars – The Taphouse, Sydney
“We run Alestock, which has been going for 10 years,” says co-owner James Thorpe. “It’s a meet-the-brewer type event. The brewers come up, we take four of their beers and they are paired with food – which usually also uses the beer in the cooking. Last month, we had Kaiju.”
Sipper Club – Clancy’s Fish Pub, Fremantle
“We do a monthly masterclass called Sipper Club that is free to get along to and aims to educate. We also have tap takeovers, beer launches and brewers shouts fairly regularly. These events are a great opportunity to lift the profile of your venue while also educating the customer.
Brewery Showcase – Helsby’s Alehouse, The Pineapple Hotel, Brisbane
“We host a monthly brewery showcase event at Helsby’s. With so many breweries popping up in our neighbourhood, it hasn’t been hard to find a brewery willing to participate in these events. Our showcase events are fairly casual affairs with an emphasis on interaction between the brewers and our guests. The discussion usually revolves around the history of the brewery and the brewers explaining the process of each style. It’s a no-holds-barred affair with no line of questioning off limits. We usually select three beers on tap and have a packaged option if possible.”