Craft breweries are popping up everywhere. As competition increases, breweries will need ways to differentiate themselves in their market. They will also need to identify new revenue sources with new and different products and services, especially ones that utilize the unused capacity at the establishment. Said differently, what can we do to fill our slow times? Though there are many examples in the market of things done right, there is one that stands out – Harmonic Brewery. Here is a story for you to learn from. They started against all odds in the Bay Area where the brewing market was filled to the brim. In order to stand out they had to create a bigger and better customer experience that generated a steady revenue. And they did it by offering their underutilized space as a venue, renting out their industrial style warehouse for meetings and events. They realized that this way they could earn the extra revenue that would be needed to grow their brewery business.
The owners of the Harmonic Brewery, Ed Gobbo and Jon Verna, had been in the home brewing business for over 10 years successfully when they decided to take the next step and launch Harmonic Brewery. In their first month, their plans were validated as they secured over $5,000 in venue/event bookings. From private parties to company events, guests were immediately drawn to the new trendy aesthetic of the brewery. It offered a unique experience that event planners couldn’t find elsewhere.
The venue rental process was a marketing opportunity, and they strategically used it for just that. Interested clients who want to use the space come to the brewery and get a tour of the place. The owners show off the brewery’s equipment and explain their unique brewing process. As the name suggests, the brand is music-centric. The give the story and history of the brewery, sharing its personality and music connection. This is an opportunity to create a relationship with the client and the community. The goal is to create excitement, a sense of surprise and the desire to come back and experience more after the initial event. The tours make clients feel welcome. The approachability of the owners is also a key factor. Combined with a great space and great beer, it is a true revenue generating asset.
Now I reckon you’d want to do the same as well, because the model I just gave you using the example of Harmonic Brewery is just that good. If you have the idea to follow in their footsteps and maximize your revenue potential, then here is a checklist to get you started:
- identify the space you have available that is private and segregated from the main public areas
- identify the additional resources you can offer for the events (food, tastings, A/V, parking, etc.)
- identify the target time period you would like to host events
- identify groups or events that need space of the size and configuration you have
- create a sell sheet describing the details of the space and services you can offer
- create and implement a marketing and promotion plan
- consider hiring an event coordinator to be the sales team for the event space and offer a commission based or results oriented compensation
Adding event space to your brewery can be done quickly if no construction is involved. Simply create you sell sheets and start getting the word out that you have the space available If there is construction needed, you will have to plan adequate time for building permits, changes to liquor licenses and construction itself before you can book the space. You can, however, advertise and start booking events while these things are pending. This generally will require an architectural rendering of what the space will look like when completed.
There is a potentially lucrative new revenue stream waiting for you if you have the right space and right market location. It is a effort offering significant ROI on the investment.