What a Consumer Wants from a Brewery Tour

Any day and any time could be a chance to deepen your brewery’s connection with a consumer. Big Grove Brewery understands that and is flexible when it comes to giving those that are curious a chance to take a peek.

“Brewery tours start with hospitality and connection with the people,” said Big Grove’s Danny Standley, the brewery’s “Beacon of Hospitality” and a partner of the company. “Some people are going to want details. Some people want to hear about the business and some people want to know about the person and what the space looks like.”

Standley said right now Big Grove’s staff is built on being flexible and knowledgeable about the business. Big Grove doesn’t have a formal brewery tour, each space is different and its four locations are challenged by space constraints to give large-format tours.

“What we do instead is enable our team to give a tour if a guest wants to peek back in the brewery, our staff is prepared to engage and show them,” Standley said. “Anyone who has an interest is generally offered a tour on the spot.”  

READ MORE: How to Make a Brewery Tour Fun Even in a Small Space

Calling it “Relentless Hospitality,” Big Grove will let whoever is running the tour bring their personality.

“They need a line of knowledge to answer questions,” Standley said. “Most importantly they need to be able to connect with the people on the tour in an authentic way.

“We want them to say ‘I don’t know’. What an opportunity to follow up and create a connection.”

On a larger scale, COOP Ale Works has created a tour that has resonated with not only customers but also with community and business partners alike, said Taproom Manager Brett Unsell.

“Making the brewery tour informational and fun is very important to us,” he said. “Many guests have been drinking our beer for many years, some for over a decade, and have very high expectations of our company and we strive to deliver on that experience.”

One of the methods COOP has implemented to bring more people to the space would be offering free tours to the first 15 people that come to the taproom every Saturday starting at 1 p.m. and again at 6 p.m., along with enhancing our taproom programming that highlights not only its core products but also our specialty and seasonal beers.

When customers first walk into the taproom, Unsell said they get them accommodated with the space and also the beers on tap.

“When it comes to having tour guides for our brewery, we make sure that they are familiar with the equipment, our portfolio of products, and also the history of COOP Ale Works, and how we got our start,” Unsell said.

It helps to be flexible and personable, Unsell said about the staff that conducts the tour.

“In my experience, I have found that talking about personal events and experiences, especially the funny and/or embarrassing ones, makes for a more entertaining experience,” he said.

Here are some ideas to think about when forming a brewery tour plan:

  • Offer a tour of the brewery’s premises, from the brewing and fermentation process to the bottling and labeling of the beer.
  • Create a self-guided tour with audio or video recordings of the brewer sharing their knowledge and expertise.
  • Allow guests to sample some of the beer in the taproom or offer a flight of beers.
  • Include a behind-the-scenes look at how the beer is made, including a tour of the brewery’s equipment.
  • Offer a beer and food pairing session, highlighting some of the local ingredients used to make the beer.
  • Introduce guests to the history of the brewery, the different beers they brew, and their brewing process.
  • Give attendees a souvenir, such as a t-shirt, glass, or branded beer bottle-opener.
  • Allow guests to bottle or can their own beer to take home.
  • Create an interactive experience by inviting attendees to help brew a beer or design their own label.
  • End the tour with a Q&A session with the brewers.

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