​How Should You Roll Out a Price Change in the Taproom?

​The cost of doing business is going up and having to pass some of that cost on to the consumer is something you just have to do as a brewery to help keep those razor-thin margins at least in the black. Breweries across the country have shared that the price for a pint of beer, even at their own taprooms, has had to go up. It’s no different for Wild Heaven Beer and co-founder Nick Purdy said it was needed.

In less than nine months, the Atlanta brewery has raised prices twice, first going up a dollar per pint on all of its tiers of beers and then an additional 50 cents more recently.

“Our philosophy has always been that the taproom is not a place for a discount, that we’re never going to be viewed as somebody undercutting all the wonderful bars and restaurants that carry our beers,” he explained to Brewer. “We don’t want them to ever think we’re trying to undercut them. And so we don’t, in general.”

Prices have always been on the lower end in the taproom, he noted, but the lower end of what you might find in fellow beer bars. Wild Heaven tried to have a $4 pint for as long as they could. But late last year, Purdy said it just had to end. ​The changes happened overnight, he added.

“We had beers at $4, $5, $6, and $7. We basically moved everything up $1,” he said. “The way we did it, just one afternoon, the prices were different. No one ever said a damn word. And no one gave us any feedback that we ever noted. We just notified all of our Taproom GMs and said ‘Make this change immediately.’ That afternoon, it was done and I never looked back.

“I’m sure most people hopefully didn’t even notice. Or if they did, they understood and didn’t say anything. But we had no feedback to my knowledge on that. Then we did it again a couple of months ago and added 50 cents. So we’ve gone up $1.50 in eight months with two increases. It’s just been absolutely necessary.”

Announcing such a change is never going to be a conversation you want to have, especially online.

READ MORE: The Info Consumers Need on Your Taproom Menu

“What conversation are you hoping comes out of that? I can’t imagine why we would, unless it became sort of an existential thing, like, Hey, we’re gonna charge $10 for beers, because that’s the only way we can exist,” he said. “If it was that sort of thing, maybe you have to put out some kind of statement justifying that.

“We looked around at some other nearby brewery taprooms, I thought we were basically about $1 lower on average and maybe a little less than most breweries near us, so that first dollar increase to me only felt like being a little bit more within the mainstream of what’s already happening. And that’s probably one reason why no one batted an eye. I don’t think people even care or notice in most cases, and I can’t say that’ll be the last one. But it certainly has helped. I mean, I’m getting $1.50 more per beer than I was since December of last year.”

In retrospect, Purdy feels like they probably did wait a little too long.

“We want it to be a delightful experience, we want people coming into the brewery to feel special,” he said. “While we will never try to undercut our retail partners in our bars and restaurants on-premise, we always felt like we could at least be at the lower end of the normal range. That should feel appropriate when you come to visit a brewery. Maybe we’re $1 less than some places you could be, but I think at this point right now, the cost of everything has gone up, but we’re actually not able to reflect that in all of our lines of business.

“For better or for worse, we have to do what we’ve done.”

Photo courtesy Adobe Stock

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *