Are Outdoor Brewery Events Part Of Your Game Plan?

Anaheim, California/United States - 03/12/19: A store front sign for the beer garden facility known as Golden Road Brewery and Restaurant

Make sure you understand the risks and rewards of expanding outside

Dining outside is a growing trend. It’s no surprise outdoor seating is estimated to provide a 30% average revenue increase, especially when you consider how much people like the less formal atmosphere and variety of settings. It also attracts casual passersby who are lured in when seeing other customers enjoying themselves. Additionally, including outdoor space for games such as table tennis or cornhole are two ways to enhance the experience and help increase revenue.

If your craft brewery has room for any of these revenue options, you’re probably either already doing it or in the planning stages. Regardless of which stage you’re in, make sure you have a well-thought-out plan for the safest and most rewarding outdoor brewery experience for you and your customers.

Driving Sales with Food Trucks and More

An easy way to reach more customers at your brewery — but without necessarily committing to an outdoor dining area investment — is to partner with someone else. These days, many businesses are inviting food trucks to their vicinity, which doubles the customer experience without breaking the bank. You can also:

  • Reach out to local sports teams and strike a deal to become their gathering location of choice after games and practices
  • Offer ping-pong, cornhole, or other fun games or tournaments for more exposure
  • Invite local talent to perform, which can help make your brewery stand out from others

Knowing the Rules and Regulations for the Great Outdoors

Before you take over the sidewalk, parking lot, or rooftop to get your brew into more hands, check with your local authorities first.

  • You may need permits to set up your business in areas that aren’t already covered by or part of your brewery
  • Also, outdoor common space such as the parking lot or sidewalk may not be part of your property or real estate agreement. You will want to double-check who owns that space and if you need a contract or amendment to use it
  • If creating space on your rooftop, back patio, front porch, or other areas, you would be wise to determine that the structures are structurally sound for these new uses and their increased weight load

Depending on the proximity of your location to your brewery, you may have specific equipment concerns:

  • Do you need to refrigerate and/or heat food or beverages?
  • Do you need a power source?

When it comes to food and drink, make sure you have the proper permits and licensing in place. What you have for your physical business may not extend to other locations, even right outside. And, if you are planning on selling beer instead of just offering tastings, make sure you know if you have to sell/offer food. Many states will not allow alcohol sales without food.

There may be community ordinances in place that you need to know about the use of glass versus plastic or paper versus china. You will also want to understand trash removal. And last, you will want to know if there are any noise ordinances in place regarding the sound level and how early you can open or how late you can stay open.

And Don’t Forget

As your expanded brewery game plans develop, you’ll want to involve your insurance agent and insurance company in what you want to do. In addition to the permits and ordinances you’ll want to research, you will need to understand how your insurance may be affected by your changes.

For instance, if your equipment is used improperly and breaks, you may not be covered for the repairs. Or, if someone suffers food poisoning from the food truck, you’ll want to know that the liability is with the food truck through the contract you signed, not with you. The same goes for any contracts you enter, such as getting permission to use the parking lot for al fresco dining or if someone is injured playing a game outside.

Your insurance broker and your insurance company can play a valuable role in protecting you from increased liability. They can quickly identify your coverage gaps for the new risks you may not even realize you have.

A company like Philadelphia Insurance Companies (PHLY) has a lot of experience assessing the new risks associated with new ventures. We have a long history of covering the unique needs of craft breweries and craft distilleries across the country. To learn more, read about our coverage here or talk to a PHLY agent.

So when you’re ready to expand your brewery’s footprint and customer experience, make sure contacting your broker is on your list. Even if you’ve already moved forward with your plans, it’s never too late for a risk assessment and to implement any necessary solutions.

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