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Buzztime - Business Bar Trivia by Buzztime

Gotta love a good beer quote…

“He was a wise man who invented beer.” –Plato

“For a quart of ale is a dish for a king.” –Shakespeare

“Great beer bringeth customers, great taprooms turneth them into regulars.” –

Ok, we made that one up. But it’s timeless advice if your goal is to increase sales at your brewery. The key is designing a taproom that’s so inviting, even the “I-Just-Came-for-the-Can-Release” guy sticks around for a pint or two. To help you out, we researched top breweries nationwide to come up with the ultimate checklist featuring everything from the latest brewery technology to décor trends.

Taproom Tip #1) Think “Tank” and Show Off Your Brewery Technology

Don’t hide those shiny tanks behind a wall; show everyone where the magic happens. Integrate your brewery technology into the overall taproom décor.

Of course, for quality control you’ll want to put up a handrail or glass partition. But keeping your brewery technology on display fosters an authentic “behind the scenes” atmosphere that makes patrons feel like they’re a part of something special. For proof of this tank-forward design concept, look at some of the busiest taprooms coast to coast: from Dust Bowl Brewing Co. in Turlock, CA to The Alchemist Brewery in Stowe, VT (home of the legendary Heady Topper).

Another benefit of putting your brewery technology at the heart of your taproom décor? Patrons can get to know your staff, chatting with them as they tend to those precious brews. People want to gather at a place where everyone knows their name and they can say “I know the brewers.”

Taproom Tip #2) Up Your Game and Create a Social Scene

Besides big shiny beer tanks, what else draws customers into taprooms? A lively social scene. And spoiler alert: big crowds rarely just “happen.” To cultivate a crowd, just add fun and games…literally. Turn to brewery technology focused on entertainment.

The latest trend in brewery entertainment draws inspiration from the bar scene. Yes, the pub quiz or trivia night concept is gaining ground at breweries nationwide.

Now, places like Burgeon Beer Co. in Carlsbad, CA are hosting live trivia with a modern twist thanks to brewery technology. Instead of paper and pens, players use their smartphones to submit answers. It’s a less formal, more social take on live trivia that perfectly fits the relaxed brewery vibe. As an added bonus, this type of live trivia brewery technology starts at just $25.

Not into entertainment aided by brewery technology? Go old school and host a murder mystery theater night like the Buried Acorn in Syracuse, NY. Across town at Good Nature Brewing, patrons participate in “Pimp My Pint” events where they turn plain pints into works of art. You can never go wrong with darts, fooseball, or cornhole boards set up indoors.

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Taproom Tip #3) Expand Your Taproom Beyond Your Four Walls

If you really want to bring the crowds to your brewery, take it outside. Setting up an outdoor taproom works double duty in increasing sales. First, you’ll pack more people into your brewery by expanding your square footage. Second, the outdoor scene acts as a “living billboard” that shows folks all the fun they are missing. In fact, studies show that outdoor seating can increase revenue up to 30%.

When setting up an outdoor area, be strategic. Use brewery technology like heat lamps to extend the patio season, even when temperatures drop. Obviously, at night you’ll want to light up the place with lanterns like Foam Brewery in Burlington, VT.

Taproom Tip #4) Catch Their Eye (and Ditch the Ladder) with Digital Tap Lists

Unless you brew the same thing, all day, every day, your taproom’s beer list is going to need constant upkeep. That’s where brewery technology like digital tap lists come in. The latest platforms are so simple to set up – and integrate with your existing screens or TVs. You can even use digital signage to hype up your events, merch, tap releases, you get it. With the ability to add eye-catching graphics, digital signage brewery technology also adds energy and visual excitement to your taproom.

You gotta grab a ladder to update the beer list at Bell’s Brewery in Kalamazoo, MI.

Taproom Tip #5) Do it For the ‘Gram: Mug Shots, Murals, Selfie Stations…Oh My

In your quest to bring in more business to your taproom, let your customers do some of the legwork. How? By focusing on your “Instagramability.” Basically, set an iconic scene that will have everyone with a social media presence clamoring to take a photo at your place. After a while, people tire of taking pictures of your brewery technology (no matter how stunning your copper-hued tanks may be). Need inspo? We got you:

  • Wings are taking off as a trending backdrop on Instagram. Hire a local artist to paint angel wings, butterfly wings, bat wings…any kind of wings. Then, watch people line up for selfies like they do at Angel City Brewery in Los Angeles, CA.
  • Make it easy for customers to take those selfies. Embrace brewery technology and set out selfie sticks.
  • Got millennial pink? For some reason, everyone under the age of 35 has a thing for pale pink (especially when paired with green plants). If it fits into your brand, find a way to integrate this “it” color into your décor. Throw in a few potted palms. Instant Instagram glory will be yours.

• Create a backdrop that ties into your brand, like the “mug shot” setup at Prison City in Auburn, NY.

The mugshot backdrop at Prison City Brewing in Auburn, NY.

Taproom Tip #6) Give ‘Em Options When They’re Hopped Up to Shop

Craft beer lovers want to rep their favorite breweries (that’s you). So, give them the opportunity by setting up a store within your taproom. It could be as simple as displaying t-shirts and hoodies behind the bar area. Or, go a step further like Founder’s Brewery in Grand Rapids, MI and Fiddlehead Brewing Co. in Shelburne, VT and create an actual on-site store so patrons can indulge in a little retail therapy. Oh, and skip the outdated, giant cash register and opt for cutting-edge brewery technology instead – like mobile POS systems that run off an iPad or Android tablet.

Taproom Tip #7) Bring in Meals on Wheels

After investing in cutting-edge brewery technology, the average microbrewery won’t build out a full commercial kitchen. That’s why breweries like Cigar City in Tampa, FL rely on food trucks. It really is a win-win. Patrons get the food they crave. And you get an uptick in customers: food trucks have seriously loyal fans, who will follow their fave trucks…right to your brewery. In fact, many cities and towns now host craft beer and food truck “rallies” like this one in South New Jersey.

These 7 taproom tips – from décor secrets to cool brewery technology – can help your place become a destination for big groups, the happy hour crowd, weekend day drinkers, you name it. Now, go tap into this checklist already…