While great beer is a crucial way to draw people into your brewpub or taproom, activations such as quizzes, movie nights, or competitions are useful ways to build up a crew of regulars and draw new patrons in.

One of the great benefits of hosting engagement events, especially regular ones, is the community that they foster around a community or venue. This is something that Lisa Ethé, Marketing & Events Manager at Tallboy & Moose, has noticed at her venue.

“Events and collaborations don’t just create opportunities for the brewery staff to engage with punters, but also for customers to interact with each other, building community and fostering a sense of belonging,” she said.

Steffan van Lint, CEO of Quiz Meisters, identified quiz nights as a particularly effective way to create community.

“Establishing a team is a community effort that often brings people from different walks of life with different interests together for a social weekly challenge,” he said.

“It also breaks down the barriers between groups in the room as you get to know the villains that always win, the rivals that always place near you, the class clowns that are just there for a laugh, and the bar staff that you know by name because they help answer questions when you go up to order a beer. With the community connection, players become loyal and don’t want to let their team, the host or the brewery down and want to return week after week to be a part of it all.”

Events also provide an opportunity for breweries to collaborate with other businesses, whether it be other breweries, event providers, or local community groups. Ophelia Phraphone, Akasha Brewing Co.’s Taproom Manager, explained the benefit of these kinds of collaborations.

“Collaborative engagement activities like this are always a powerful tool for everyone involved. By working with another brand, we get to share knowledge, resources and expertise to align our goals and create an incredible experience for the customer,” she said.

When planning an engagement event, it is important that it makes sense for the brewery.

Ethé explained: “We’ve got amazing craft beer breweries all over Australia and each of them has its own identity: a face, a place, a feeling. They all come with their very own story and often embody the character of the town or suburb they are in. They are so much more than ‘just’ a spot to drink but rather places, that foster community, as they host events, collaborate with other local businesses and provide the space to socialise.

“We’re trying to come up with unique and memorable events that help us to stand out, attract a diverse crowd and offer punters something beyond beer. We aim to showcase our products, our hospitality and venue, but also our values and identity with the events we host.”

At the Akasha taphouse, events that focus on the common denominator among patrons – a love of beer – have been particularly successful.

“We’ve always found educational and immersive experiences to be really engaging for our patrons. Our customers love beer as much, if not more, than we do, and events where we can offer passionate beer lovers a behind-the-scenes look at their favourite brew are always a hit,” Phraphone said.

Tallboy & Moose has introduced a number of unique events that have become quite popular.

“Events that have been effective are stand-out, unique activities like Wrestling or Heavy Metal Choir, as they helped us differentiate ourselves from other venues in our neighbourhood,” Ethé said.

While not every engagement event will be a success, Brightstar Brewing co-Founder Megan Parker encouraged breweries to learn from past experiences.

“I believe that venues that do their best to understand their customers – who they are, what they like – and are open to trying different activities to see what works are going to be poised to benefit. Sometimes they go well and sometimes they don’t, but either way they are opportunities to learn,” she said.

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