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Thread: Who does what when itís slooowww out there?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    vermont
    Posts
    7

    Who does what when itís slooowww out there?

    Just got to one year at our brewery/tap room, barely. Last winter was great, summer sucked, fall slightly better, wondering about this winter, it will make or break us. No more dinero.
    What are other taproom/brewpub operations doing to keep above water after a crappy month or two? Our area is busy, fairly well populated, nothing else like us for 20 miles... but seems like peeps got board fast. Is this a trend out there with craft beer?
    All of our sales are retail, the distribution thing was a good way to get rid of a lot of beer fast for no $$. Lesson learned.
    Whoís thinking of starting a brewery n taproom? I may have some cheap equipment for you...
    Trying to stay positive but that sinking feeling is creeping in.
    Looking for ideas...
    Playing mega millions or powerball does come to mind

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Location
    Fort Wayne, Indiana
    Posts
    40
    Quote Originally Posted by leosbeer View Post
    Just got to one year at our brewery/tap room, barely. Last winter was great, summer sucked, fall slightly better, wondering about this winter, it will make or break us. No more dinero.
    What are other taproom/brewpub operations doing to keep above water after a crappy month or two? Our area is busy, fairly well populated, nothing else like us for 20 miles... but seems like peeps got board fast. Is this a trend out there with craft beer?
    All of our sales are retail, the distribution thing was a good way to get rid of a lot of beer fast for no $$. Lesson learned.
    Whoís thinking of starting a brewery n taproom? I may have some cheap equipment for you...
    Trying to stay positive but that sinking feeling is creeping in.
    Looking for ideas...
    Playing mega millions or powerball does come to mind
    Special Releases (charge more for less quantity, making sure quality is top notch)
    Do barrel aged stuff
    Food trucks
    Festivals for anything, any holiday, nice weather, Columbus day, special beer for Cinco De Mayo

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2017
    Location
    Portland, OR
    Posts
    2

    It depends¬Ö

    Why you might be slow depends on SO MANY THINGS.

    • Are your customers still buying beer or something else?
    • Whose beer are they drinking and why?
    • Are you getting beat on quality? On price?
    • Is someone selling YOUR beer, or are you just another line in your distributor's catalog?
    • Are you proving a retail experience people enjoy?
    • How are your reviews? What are customers asking for or complaining about?


    If you're retail only and you don't have repeat customers, it's a good idea to look at your product, your service, and your customers' experiences. Are people having one beer and leaving? Are they never coming back?
    If you're not finding new customers, it's a good idea to figure out why you're not attracting attention. How's your marketing? How's your branding? Who's doing it well and what are they doing differently?

    There are plenty of good books about building your business, improving your sales, understanding your market, etc., and lots of them are specifically about beer. Start reading! and Good luck!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    vermont
    Posts
    7
    Thanks fellas for the input... Iím gonna get busy! Sometimes I get tunnel vision and need help getting creative. Learned a lot in the last year, most important it seems now is that you can never get complacent, gotta stay off your butt and keep moving. And donít wait, better get to the fan before the s#$t does.
    Regards

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Location
    Fort Wayne, Indiana
    Posts
    40
    Quote Originally Posted by leosbeer View Post
    Thanks fellas for the input... Iím gonna get busy! Sometimes I get tunnel vision and need help getting creative. Learned a lot in the last year, most important it seems now is that you can never get complacent, gotta stay off your butt and keep moving. And donít wait, better get to the fan before the s#$t does.
    Regards
    Good luck! Take a road trip and find out what YOU want in a place of business and apply that to your own. We visit places often, free ideas.

    For example, we made our tasting room completely kid friendly. If you aren't doing this now then start if possible within your laws. If you are doing it, advertise that you are kid friendly! Buy an Oktober can seamer and can product when you are slow for carryout.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Idyllwild, CA, USA
    Posts
    131
    Lot's of good advice and questions asked so far. We opened just over 1.5 years ago and have been pretty much busy since then, even though we're in a tourist town that has historically slowed way down in the winter.

    1.) Quality and diversity of offerings. How many beers do you have on tap? What styles? Are there styles for as many different beer palettes as possible? One thing that amazes me is how many IPAs even the smallest pubs/micros have on tap. Yeah, it's a popular style but it restricts your customer base. At this point, I have 21 house-brewed beers on tap and four I don't have taps for. We have everything from a Bohemian Pilsner to a barrel-aged Imperial Stout on nitro. There is literally something for everyone and we get a lot of compliments about the large numbers of styles to choose from.

    2.) Special nights for locals. In our town or 3500, this is a must. The locals are the ones who will tell any visitors where the great spots are and it's always good to do something special for them. We have Mondays, traditionally a slow day for us, designated as locals night with specials for them. It has been received very well by the community.

    3.) Hand out gift cards good for one or two beers to the proprietors of any lodging establishments so they can hand them out to their guests. The people we deal with put them in the complimentary gift basket they put in the room before a guest arrives. We get quite a bit of business this way. Folks come in for a free beer and end up staying awhile and ordering food and other drinks.

    4.) Run a daily tap special for a reduced price. This has worked really well for us with the locals and out-of-towners and it's helped us to educate people on a myriad of beers styles that they wouldn't normally imbibe in.

    5.) Encourage guests to try new offerings. For example, when someone tells me "I don't like dark beers." I respond with, "Well, 'dark' isn't a flavor descriptor." I then pour some tasters of beers that are dark but aren't on the roasted end of the spectrum, something like an English Brown, Irish Red, or Scotch Ale. I can honestly say I've changed a lot of minds about dark beers this way. Next thing you know, they'll come in asking for a Stout or and Imperial Stout!

    Cheers,
    --
    Don

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Arrington, VA
    Posts
    33

    Do this!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by leosbeer View Post
    Just got to one year at our brewery/tap room, barely. Last winter was great, summer sucked, fall slightly better, wondering about this winter, it will make or break us. No more dinero.
    What are other taproom/brewpub operations doing to keep above water after a crappy month or two? Our area is busy, fairly well populated, nothing else like us for 20 miles... but seems like peeps got board fast. Is this a trend out there with craft beer?
    All of our sales are retail, the distribution thing was a good way to get rid of a lot of beer fast for no $$. Lesson learned.
    Whoís thinking of starting a brewery n taproom? I may have some cheap equipment for you...
    Trying to stay positive but that sinking feeling is creeping in.
    Looking for ideas...
    Playing mega millions or powerball does come to mind
    Brew a limited release Barrel-Aged beer, age it for one year in a high end or different spirit barrel and release it sometime during the dead of winter. Bring in a tent, heaters, a band, limited bottle quantities, roast a pig?, have special tappings throughout the day. You want to keep your patrons at your brewery to drink and eat. Are you rural? Offer them the opportunity to set up camp for the night...

    In short, throw a big party!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Eureka, CA
    Posts
    24

    They are bored

    Good advice by all. Keep it interesting.
    But the public is bored by brew pubs. They are a dime a dozen especially in California and Vermont. We rode the wave and over built.
    We see people drinking more and more ciders, seltzers, cocktails and non alcoholic beverages.
    Good luck.

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