I hope you are all hanging in there. One thing I wanted to talk about here is how we can be creative in bringing in revenue when customers are not coming into the taproom or if you need to or have to close your taproom for an extended period of time. In Illinois, Governor J.B. Pritzker has announced that all bars and restaurants be closed for dine in sales starting close of business March 16th through March 30th, however these establishments can still be open for to go and delivery sales. Here are three things I think you can do immediately to give your customers a chance to help you out.
(One caveat here is that I am not a lawyer by trade, so depending on your locality, some of these things may not be allowable, so when in doubt check with your attorney if you are unsure if you can do any of these items.)
#1- Sell gift cards online
There have been quite a few posts online encourage people to buy gift cards at restaurants and bars so that the businesses get cash now. Therefore, it would be advisable to offer a way for your customers to purchase gift cards online. You may be able to do this fairly easily if your POS system allows having an online shop (like Square does) or you can utilize a shopping cart app like Shopify to make this work as well.
#2- Create a “Drive Thru”
One of the ways I have seen some breweries get creative is to sell beer to go and deliver it out to cars waiting outside. One example of a brewery that is doing this is True Respite Brewing Co.
in Maryland. They are selling vouchers (think like gift cards good for one four pack of beer)on their website for the types of beer they have canned. The customer will purchase the voucher and then bring the voucher to the brewery. When they arrive, they text a number with their voucher confirmation number and then an employee will come to their car to check IDs and the voucher and provide the beer.
Another way to do this is to create a “drive thru” lane at your brewery where an employee is taking the order from the car and bringing out the beer you selected. Temperance Beer Company
in Evanston, IL is doing this in their parking lot of the brewery.
This can be done with canned or bottled beer as well as crowlers, growlers, or howlers. Although if you are doing growlers or howlers, you may want to only fill new glass in order not to bring any contamination into your brewery.
#3- Create (or re-open) a Mug Club Membership
If you have not offered a mug club or some type of membership program to your customers, this might be a good time to open one up. Similar to the gift card idea, this gives customers the ability to purchase a membership to your brewery that might give them discounts, special beer, swag etc. If you already have a mug club that is open just during certain periods of the year, this could be a good time to re-open it as your customers look to support your business. A good example of mug club is Skeleton Key Brewery
in Woodridge, IL.
If you have any questions on these ideas noted above, please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.