Festivus: The Craft Beer Event for the Restivus

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Thanks for tuning in again, to Augustino Brewing podcast. Today is a special day. We’re going to talk about an event that we have coming up at Augustino Brewing. It’s called ‘Festivus the Craft Beer Event for the Rest of Us’. It’s an event that we are starting this December twenty-third and after we get our doors open, it’s an event that we intend to continue to run every year.

Today I just wanted to talk a little bit more about this event specifically, but more importantly expand upon it for those of you who have a brewery, or are thinking about opening up a brewery. The things that you need to consider with respect to planning events and the importance of planning events for your brewery.

‘Festivus’ for those of you who don’t know, it’s a take-off from a Seinfeld episode and I’ll let you dig it out as you see fit, but it was one of their most famous episodes in which a new holiday was born on December twenty-third. It’s kind of a fake holiday, a spoof of Christmas and we’re looking forward to it as a really fun event. It’s going to be fun in part because it’s a take-off of pop culture; albeit a little bit further back than modern pop culture since Seinfeld’s been off the air for quite awhile, but what we want to do is have it a really and humorous type of event because whenever you’re combining humor into your advertising, or in this case an event like we’re trying to do, it creates a better following for you. It creates that, what some will call, “a purple cow” and that’s what we’re hoping to do with Festivus. That’s the idea behind our event.

It’s going to be on December twenty-third and we’re going to pull out the Festivus pole and have our Festivus meal and I’m sure there will be plenty of Festivus miracles that take place.

We’re looking forward to those of you who are in the area; in the Wichita area. Check out our Facebook page and you’ll get directed over to getting tickets for Festivus. It’s going to be a much smaller event than what we’ve had in the past. It’s going to be a little bit more of a intimate gathering which means that there will be plenty of beer for all and a really, really good time. We’re hoping that you’re able to join us for ‘Festivus the Craft Beer Event for the Rest of Us’.

In any case, that leads into some of the challenges that we’ve had with our past events and even with this upcoming event and the importance of planning events for a brew pub. Now a tap room, it becomes even more important than if you have a full-service restaurant type of environment because with the restaurant you’re going to be naturally driving more revenue through a restaurant; doesn’t necessarily feel like it always has to be having events and things going on to bring people in the door because everybody needs to eat. That being said, even if you have a brew pub and it’s got 100 seats, 150 seats, whatever it is, it’s still good to figure out events; even if they’re just small events that don’t require a whole lot of effort. Events that attract people and this goes beyond just having deals of the day each day of the week, or happy hours and things like that. Everybody does that. You have to have something that is unique and that stands out. Event planning is really, really important in this case.

To take that even a step further, one of the things that’s … That having a very good set of events that are well-marketed will do, is they will ultimately affect your bottom line because you’re going to get more people coming into the door and you’ll get more people drinking, you’re going to get more people eating and a little bit of effort that you can do in terms of planning events will pay off several fold over.

There are some major steps to think about when planning an event. Number one, I would plan out. I’d sit down and just concentrate and plan out an entire year’s worth of events. It doesn’t mean that you can’t add, or subtract events as you go along, but if you’re looking at the big picture and fitting the pieces into that picture, it’s going to lead to a much more successful result.

You want to make sure you plot everything out at the same time. What you’re going to do is you’re going to select dates and locations and themes for those events. That’s the most important. Put them on the calendar. One of the things that you want to be really careful of, though is that you’re event doesn’t compete against another major event that would be a draw off of your crowd. You always have to be cognizant of those type of issues for your craft beer event.

Location. If you already have a brewery, or brew pub open, location is pretty well-established at that point. For us, we’re still trying to get our doors open, get our location setup and so we do have to find locations to hold our events at so that can be a little bit of a concern.

You want to determine what resources you’re going to need and what costs you’ll need for them. This could be anywhere from decorations to needing to purchase special tee-shirts and other swag for the event … To also, if it’s going to be a really big event, you may need additional personnel on hand. It’s important to get your head wrapped around what your cost is so that on the back end you can determine whether it was a successful event, or not.

Once you have all of the details about what you want in terms of your event, you want to advertise like crazy. You want to make sure you have it in front of your current clientele every time they come into your brew pub and I would even have your servers trained to hand write onto the receipt that the event is coming up and show up on this date, this time and put it onto the actual receipt itself because it’s another touch point of the event. Get people excited. That’s what your advertising should do. It needs to be the event to go to on that particular day that you have it setup.

Another really important thing that is often times overlooked and I’ve done this myself many times, is having a checklist for what you want to get done in order to promote your awesome craft beer event. You want to do that … You want to put together a checklist and it should be a checklist that can be used over and over and over again of any of the number of events. It needs to be everything from ‘what food that you want to serve’, in our case we also do craft coffee drinks and so we want to make sure that it’s going to be appropriate for that event; to maybe have special drinks, or special promotions on regular drinks that we may have. You want to always be able to tie something food related, something promotional related in terms of swag and then something drink related. If you’ve got those three pieces associated with every event, you’re in good shape.

If you can, if you have the space to do so, having some form of entertainment at any event is great because people love being distracted so that they don’t have to talk to one another. In all seriousness, you want to make sure that you have that checklist established for all the little pieces that are going to fit in to each one of your events because if don’t, you’re going to miss something. None of us can hold it all up in our heads.

The last thing that’s really important and maybe this is the even most important step, is to follow up with your guests after the event. Find out how it went. Find out if it went well, if it went poorly, what would they improve and all of this could be determined by making sure that when people come in you either give them a survey at that time they can fill out, or you gather their data so that you can send an email, or a text message, or what-have-you after the event.

Thanks a lot for listening and for those of you in the Wichita area, hopefully you can make it out to ‘Festivus the Craft Beer Event for the Rest of Us’. Thanks a lot.

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