Yep, the craft beer craze is in full swing across the country, and new breweries continue to pop up every day … lucky for us beer lovers! But as in any business, brewery owners will need to find fresh ideas to keep patrons coming back again and again. And of course, attract new customers. While certainly the beer itself is always a draw (yum), the happenings in the tasting rooms prove to be effective marketing efforts to bring in crowds. So what’s trending in tasting rooms? What are some cool, hip, innovative ideas you may see in your tasting adventures?
Yoga & Beer
Yes, please! Breweries from California to North Carolina are embracing this trend, holding yoga classes right next to their barrels, taps and hops. While yoga studios may be intimidating, breweries offer a laid-back, less formal setting that appeals to everybody (even men are embracing this concept; check out a previous Buzz Bin post about it!) And of course, downward facing dog is followed by a happy hour brew, just a few feet away. There’s even a company in San Diego, Hoppy Yoga, that specializes in yoga/brewery classes. (Hello, Great Idea!) If you ask me, that’s a pretty cool way to get in your daily Zen and beer consumption. (Photo from Dayton Beer Company, Dayton, Ohio)
Don’t you hate when you go into a movie theater, and they don’t let you bring your beer? Such a buzz kill. Well your local brewery may have you covered. Showings of cult classics in tasting rooms are on the rise. On the recent Star Wars movie release date, The Answer Brewpub in Richmond, Va. showed the three original Star Wars movies in its tasting room during an all-day marathon, complete with big screen, costumed patrons and a hearty selection of more than 50 craft beers. (Side note: At The Answer, instead of the traditional chalkboard listing, available beers are displayed scrolling on TV screens. That’s pretty awesome. Another trend we are sure to see more of.)
Satellite Tasting Rooms
Can’t make it downtown or to the middle of nowhere to visit your favorite brewery? Have no fear, a satellite tasting room may be coming soon to a site near you. While breweries may find limitations in clientele because of location, breweries have been opening additional spaces to attract new beer friends and offer increased access to its beers. This concept is exploding in San Diego with Stone Brewing Co., Modern Times, Belching Beaver and others opening satellite locations. As competition increases, expect breweries across the U.S. to follow. This is good news to me. (Photo of Modern Times satellite location, San Diego, Calif.)
Live music at breweries has always been popular, but the types of music offerings are expanding. Hardywood Brewery in Richmond, Va. partners with the Virginia Symphony on a Rush Hour Concert Series where the symphony performs in the brewery barrel room. It’s a way for the symphony to reach out to a younger crowd and build awareness to increase attendance at performances outside the brewery, while at the same time, filling up the Hardywood tap room. Win-Win! I’ve heard of other unique musical happenings in tasting rooms, from Brass Bands Nights to ’80s Dance Parties to Gospel Brunches. As a huge music fan and beer lover, I say Amen!
Surely there are LOTS of inventive ideas flowing into tap rooms across the country. Have you experienced anything that WOWed you? I’d love to hear about it. It’s an exciting time in the craft beer brewery world! No matter what your beer tastes are, I encourage you to visit local breweries and support these (mostly small) business owners. In the end, we’re all beer lovers together. Cheers!