Why Successful Tap Takeovers Help Exposure for a Craft Beer Brand

Being able to let a sales rep have one-on-one time with a consumer and be able to connect and either introduce or strengthen a relationship is vital in brand awareness and loyalty.

A recent trend in customer interaction has been tap takeovers of various setups to help with that connectivity. Breweries such as Short’s Brewing in Bellaire, Michigan or Madison, Wisconsin’s Ale Asylum have taken tap takeovers to heart to help push their branding and have found success.

Jon Wojtowicz, a field representative which Short’s Brewing described as its “Beer Liberation Specialist,” said he considered a successful tap takeover as one that all parties come away happy.

“I feel the true measure of success … is solely dependent on the number of guests you interact with,” he said. “Whether realistic or not, a good goal for every tap takeover is to try and interact with every customer that is in attendance that evening.”

Hathaway Dilba, Ale Asylum’s director of promotions, said a great place to host an event is an establishment that “literally embraces the craft beer industry and understands that the same old format of a beer dinner or sampling doesn’t work every time.”

Tap takeovers can benefit all participants in the three-tier system Wojtowicz said.

“[They] provide marketing exposure to each tier, increase beer sales at a given location, and provide breweries and accounts with a platform to interact with patrons,” he said.

The two brewery reps shared their thoughts with Brewer on how to have a successful night.

Ale Asylum Tap Pour 800x300

RESEARCH: Dilba said Ale Asylum looks at its existing markets and those it plans to enter and becomes familiar with craft beer venues and their promotional practices.

“This snapshot helps us in our promotional planning and to get a feel for what appeals to their customers,” she said.

Many establishments ask for such a promotion, Wojtowicz added. Knowing what is expected from the agreement is key as well and can change depending on what the venue is and its history with craft beer, its location and the exposure it gives to craft beer. Some events may have 35 taps, while others have only four, but all should be viewed as a value when we look at the long term goal of permanence and market share for craft beer,” he said.

BRANDS: Getting some unique and limited beers into a tap feature is important, but a real key for success is being able to highlight some of a brewery’s core brands.

“Not only are these the best introductory beers for folks in attendance who may be new to your brand, these are also the beers that will be the most readily available to purchase again either at the location where the takeover is taking place or at neighboring retailers,” Wojtowicz explained. “Often, we find that our brewery’s best selling beers are the beers that still blow first at any kind of tap takeover, whether at a prominent craft beer bar or a new location or market just getting into craft.”

MUTUAL WORK: Social media works wonders agreed both Dilba and Wojtowicz.

Dilba makes Facebook event pages and tweets about the event 1-2 days prior. Wojtowicz said working with distributors to make sure proper beer menus and posters are being created is also key. Dilba said that if an establishment isn’t willing to put any promotion behind it and expects the brewery to bear the brunt of the work to heed caution. Wojtowicz also warned that some establishments may seek out free beer or “kickbacks” in the deal. He feels those places should not be considered for these types of events.

HAVE FUN: Finding an interesting spin can help create an extra kick to the event. For Ale Asylum, it has partnered with O’so Brewing to have “tap battles” which helps open social media and in-person engagement. So far each has “won” a tap battle and will vie for the a third time this fall to claim a “golden keg.”

“The camaraderie that results from these collaborations is very meaningful and creates a bond between our two customer bases,” Dilba said.

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