Marketing

The top 5 events to host at your brewery this summer

Melanie O'Hanlon
Marketing Associate

Summer is right around the corner, and diners are looking for an excuse to get outside and enjoy the sun. As outdoor dining numbers rise, breweries need a calendar stocked with a list of fresh new events to bring patrons into their venue and get the most out of summer sales.

Get your free calendar template and make scheduling your summer events a breeze.

Check out these five brewery event ideas to kickstart your calendar and boost your summer revenue.

Why should your brewery host events?

Hosting events is key for all breweries to increase reach, drive sales, and create lifelong patrons.

First and foremost, events establish you as a deeper part of the community beyond a place to grab a beer with friends after work. You become THE place to be for patrons of all interests, from craft brew connoisseurs to sports fans and trivia fanatics. These brand-loyal guests are your key to securing a steady stream of revenue.

Events also expand your reach to different groups within your community, accessing a new customer base and new revenue streams. Eventbrite took a survey of 5,000 food and drink festival attendees. They found that 99% recommend the brand to a friend, half purchased beer during the event, and 40% signed up for a newsletter. Plus, when your guests stay longer than one round, you bring in more sales per guest and widen your profit margin.

The top 5 summer events to host at your brewery

The top 5 summer brewery events are non-profit partnered events, pet adoption days, sporting event watch parties, open mics, and star gazing!  So why these events in particular? Read on and we’ll get into why these are great choices for your brewery with a brief overview of how to execute. Pick and choose your favorites — or do them all!

1. Non-profit-partnered event

How to make it happen

Whether it’s the local girl scouts, food banks, or an environmentalist organization, hone in on one particular cause you care about within your community. It’s essential to make the cause personal to you — if you show you care, your patrons will be eager and willing to show their support along with you.

After establishing a rapport with the organization, designate a particular night to support the non-profit, during which a percentage of all your sales will go directly to the cause you’re supporting. 

Marketing for a non-profit event is a twofold job: you need to advertise the event itself and the cause you’re supporting. Individuals who may not otherwise visit a brewery may be motivated to come to the event if they see it benefits an organization they care about.

Why do it

Partnering with a non-profit organization shows your community that you’re not just about making money (and beer) — you value your community and want to put in the work to support it. This builds trust and empathy with your target audience; guests are more likely to show continued support to an organization they know will support them back.

Additionally, people are more likely to attend an event and make a purchase if there’s a good cause behind it. It makes them feel good about making a purchase — it’s not just to satisfy their own wants, but to help someone else. Many breweries find this tactic successful for supporting their communities and driving more sales.

2. Partnered pet adoption day

How to make it happen

Reach out to a local animal shelter you want to support, and find out if they’ve done adoption events at other businesses before. More than profit, it’s important that before you invite shelters to your venue, they have a procedure in place for making sure it’s not too stressful on the animals! 

If they already have a plan for events like these, let the experts make the calls on what they need for success. If not, work together with them on establishing a best practice for hosting an event at your site including drink limits for your guests. You don’t want anyone getting hammered and startling a shy dog!

If your brewery has an outdoor dining space or even a parking lot, you can work with the shelter to bring furry friends directly to your space on the big day. Be sure to check local and state laws about having animals near food and drink. If your brewery doesn’t have an outdoor space, don’t worry — set aside an area indoors dedicated to pictures and bios of the pets available for adoption that day.

As an added bonus, consider giving out coupons for deals or free brews to patrons who walk away with a new furry friend. You’ll encourage guests to adopt and provide them an incentive to come back to your brewery to cash in on their coupon.

Why do it

Sales from repeat guests is the easiest revenue a brewery can make. You have to spend less marketing dollars getting these diners back to your business since they already know your brand. All they need is a slight push from a coupon or discount to get them to return for more. Also, who doesn’t love seeing a cute animal, even when they don’t intend to adopt.

Connecting with other local businesses also opens the door for future collaborations. You can help each other out by marketing your events to each others’ regular audienceto gain more brand-loyal guests.

3. Non-local sporting event watch party

How to make it happen

Sports bars famously see high traffic from patrons eager to get together to watch their local team. It can be difficult to compete with these more established venues. So we suggest you take a different approach to bring sports fans into your brewery: select a team that isn’t local to your area or state and host watch parties for all their events.

Offering discounts, game-day specials, or themed menus will bring in more fans during these watch parties and provide an incentive to buy another round during the game.

Why do it

Choosing a non-local team may seem like a long shot, but even the Buffalo Bills have fans in Miami or Denver. This innovative approach removes competition that you’d otherwise face on local game days, when every other brewery, sports bar, and restaurant in the area is hosting a watch party.

Fans of those out-of-state teams will become regulars at your brewery because they know it’s the one place they can watch their favorite out-of-state team with other local fans. Your brewery is now the PLACE TO BE for all those games!

And hey, if it feels like too much of a betrayal to your local team, go right on ahead and market to local sports fans. 

4. Music + comedy extravaganza

How to make it happen

Nothing brings people together quite like art. Most performance nights focus on musicians or comedians; double your audience and combine the two into an all-day event. Choose a weekend day andt reach out to local bands, musicians, and comedians to form your lineup, and be sure to leave gaps for open mic entries. Venues with indoor and outdoor space can set up two stages for even higher entertainment value. Consider setting a limit on attendees to create FOMO and have patrons register to attend ahead of time.

To encourage guests to stay longer, offer special deals or discounts at particular times during the day. Additionally, you can encourage fans to extend their stay longer by partnering with a local food truck or food provider.

Why do it

Music and comedy appeal to wide audiences, so this event is sure to be one of your most-attended of the whole summer. Advertising your main lineup ahead of time drums up interest and ensures people will show up to see their local favorite perform. And advertising that you have space for day-of open mic registrants encourages smaller, emerging artists and comedians to attend and secure their spot. Supporting local artists brings a sense of community, plus patrons might just get the opportunity to see the next big artist or comedian before they’re famous!

Give guests the ability to come and go as they please — they might show up in the afternoon for a band, then return for a few comedy acts in the evening. Food trucks add an extra layer of excitement to any event and bring in more folks following their favorite truck or eager to discover their new favorite dish.

5. Brews under the stars

How to make it happen

This one’s pretty simple — all you need is an outdoor space and a map of the stars! Weather permitting, choose one evening to gather your local astronomy buffs on your patio, rooftop, or backyard. Try to minimize artificial lighting in your space to help patrons see the stars: think soft lighting from tea candles or flashlights. Take the evening to the next level with themed drinks and guides to which stars, planets, and constellations may be visible. 

Why do it

Venues with outdoor spaces, rooftop bars, or patios see an influx of guests during the summer. Weather affects customer mood and buying behavior, meaning good outdoor weather is a prime time for sales. Hosting this type of advertises your outdoor dining space and will be a good reminder for diners to return throughout the summer. It also appeals to couples who are looking for new romantic date night ideas!

How to create your brewery marketing plan

Now that you’ve established which events you’ll be hosting, it’s time to drum up excitement and let your community know. The first step is to create an easily-accessible calendar with all the info a patron needs to know about your event — date, time, any partners who may be participating, and a brief description of what the day has in store. Add this calendar to your website, either directly on your homepage or via an “events” tab at the top menu, so guests don’t have to work hard to find your event lineup.

Make sure you market your events at least a week before the date of the event. Post on all your social channels with colorful, attention-grabbing images with information about the event. You could also start a weekly newsletter that keeps guests updated on what events are happening and when. If your event involves a partner, make sure the partner is also taking steps to market your shared event to their audience on all their marketing channels.

PRO TIP: Use Instagram’s new feature to co-sponsor a post with another business account, simplifying the process of collaborative marketing.

In-venue marketing is just as important as online and digital marketing efforts. Guests just stopping in for a drink will be inspired to stop back in when they see an event that appeals to them. Create at-table signage about upcoming events for guests to peruse while they drink, and consider adding posters or signs behind the bar, so no one misses out on an event.

With these simple steps, your brewery is ready to create a summer full of fun your patrons will beg you to bring back for years to come! Don’t forget to get your free calendar template to simplify the process of organizing and scheduling your events.

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