Top 5 Tips To Hosting Your Own Beer Festival

Have you ever wanted to host your very own beer festival? With warm summer nights just around the corner, now is the perfect time to start planning your Summer Beer Fest 2017. The unique and quirky ales industry has boomed over the last 5 years, and as a result has made a huge dent in the profits of the big brewers. So how can you tap into (no pun intended) the success story of real ale? Well hosting your own real Ales Fest is a great place to start…

Here are my top tips for first timers.

  1. Know your audience

First of all, you need to be confident that your business has an appetite for real ale. If you have never seriously served it, you may be offering something your audience is just not prepared to buy. If you are a brewer controlled pub you obviously may not have a choice over what you can serve. As an independent, the world is your oyster!

Make sure you have a crystal clear idea of the age, interests and palette range of your target guest. Know what it is you want to serve rather than what the breweries want to sell you! Contact local breweries to discuss options available for your beer fest. Partnering with one decent supplier who can play “host” to the festival is a great way to dip your toe in the water. They may offer a sale or return for their product in return for exclusivity (win-win for all involved). Alternatively, you can host a collection of ales, with a variety of everything from stouts to pale ales and perhaps some fruity ciders as alternatives. Be aware of ABV’s of the products and be sure to advertise them clearly – some drops can be more potent than others and you need to keep people informed!

  1. The price is right

Be conscious of what your target market have available to spend! If you are targeting students or pensioners having a variety of lower priced options available is advised. If you are targeting a more affluent crowd, holding a couple of rare kegs at a premium price is a great way to go. You could charge an entry fee into the event though this could put people off before they have even got through the door. If you do wish to have a ticket or entry fee the products must be heavily discounted. Encourage your guests to try products that aren’t shifting. People may need reassurance that what is on offer is worth it. Don’t let their concerns cost you a sale! Your guests should feel value from the event if you are planning to make this a regular affair in your business.

  1. Entertainment

Because music can raise the enjoyment level of your event tenfold, be sure to book a great act! Again work with an act who is the perfect alignment with your target market. Head to Youtube to check out previous performances if you have never seen them live and don’t take just one person’s recommendation – it could result in your event finishing far sooner than expected if your act clears the pub! Go with a quality local act who can hopefully bring an audience of supporters that love real ale. There should be a synergy with everything you have on offer to keep bums on seats (and dancing feet moving). Loud music and dancing always up the bar spend so a livelier act would be my personal recommendation but you know your audience better, just be sure to serve them!

      4. Dish of the day

Be sure you have a food offering. If you don’t your guests to forage for food elsewhere, and they may not return. A stripped back Ales Fest friendly menu is a great way to keep it simple. Hand to mouth food such as sandwiches, hot dogs, burgers and nachos are perfect products to soak up the alcohol and require minimal cutlery and plate ware. Be sure you remember your Vegetarian guests. By not considering them you could lose entire groups of people because one person is not catered for.  

  1. Banging the drum

Finally and most relevant to remember, no one attends an event that they didn’t know existed! You need a plan of how you’re going to tell the world (and your target market) what is happening. From posters to beer mats, t-shirts to Facebook ads the marketing opportunities are endless. Be sure you have the budget to play with when it comes to the marketing of your Beer Fest. Without trying to sound cliché you got to spend it to make it.

Do you need help to get your marketing machine in order? I created my 10 point checklist on “How to plan and market sell out events”. Download it here for free >>>

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