​See How Rhinegeist Transformed its Charitable Giving in the Taproom

Establishing a community program ​can help your brewery to connect with your audience​ while getting your beer in front of new faces​ along with building relationships that ​can be ​pivotal to the future of your business. ​From the start, Rhinegeist​ wanted to make that impact on their area of Cincinnati and it’s transformed over time.

Beth Boswell​, ​the DEI and Community Coordinator​ for the brewery, shared at the 2024 Ohio Craft Brewers Conference how the brewery started with what many breweries do, by creating a pint night​ where $1 of a sale would benefit a local charity on a specific night. But they wanted to evolve that notion.

​”Community programming establishes you as a supporter,” Boswell said. “Those people and organizations will show right back up for you in ways that you could never predict right now.”

In 2019, ​they moved to what ​Boswell referred to as the token model.

READ MORE: Fast Growth at Rhinegeist

​Instead of $1 for every pint sold, a wooden token ​is given with each beverage purchased —​ alcoholic or nonalcoholic —​ from 5-8​ p.m.​ on Wednesday evenings. The token can then be used to vote for one of the four featured charities for the month. Each charity receives a standard donation, but the charity with the highest number of token votes receives a bonus donation​ at the end of the month.

​”The reason that we made this switch is that sometimes ​through the year ​we simply see less drinking,” Boswell said. ​”Everyone knows how ​Dry January feels as a brewery, but do the nonprofit partners have to suffer?

​”What we were seeing is that nonprofits didn’t want to participate during the slower months in the brewery, ​and we wanted to level the playing field for everybody.​”

By moving to this model, ​the brewery was able to set an expectation with the nonprofit so that they knew exactly what their potential donations ​would be; both ​on the high end and the low end​; while also giving them an incentive to drive traffic to the brewery.

​Boswell said they always recommend​ the charities that are featured to use the ​brewery’s taproom that month for a board meeting​ or other event as well.

​”While nonprofits are competing for the largest donation, many are small enough that this night also functions as an exposure opportunity,” Boswell said, adding it can introduce them to new audiences, including those who are just hanging out in the taproom that night.

Photo courtesy Rhinegeist Brewery

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