Here's what smart Craft Breweries around the country are doing to cope with COVID-19.
Smart Craft Breweries in Colorado are no stranger to the booms and busts. Hand-dug gold was our first rodeo, and today, thanks to the Coronavirus, it’s our handcrafted golden craft beer under threat.
Rather than quit, we’d like to suggest continue serving your community with your craft beer offerings. Here are eight actions you can take to prevent the next Colorado ghost town.
1. Expand off-site beer distribution wherever you can. Think liquor stores (which data says are booming amid the panic), wholesalers, and delivery services. And don’t forget about restaurants, because when they re-open, they will have to adjust — fast. Ramp up crowler, growler, and cans capacity now.
2. Cancel all physical on-premise and off-premise events until mid-May, and look at later events when it looks like things MIGHT settle down. Organize and promote video meet-ups/conferences for benefit nights, game nights, community groups, and regular customers,and deliver beer in advance. Webinars are actually pretty cheap (or free) with easy-to-use applications like GoToMeeting, Google Hangouts, Skype, Zoom, or other platforms. People need socialization right now, and if you can organize and promote it to your fans and community,
plus offer pre-event beer delivery or curbside pickup, you will win new and perhaps lifelong customers.
3. Be able to cover 60 days or more of operating expenses. Seek out cash or solid credit lines to cover cash flow gaps. Talk to a bank, friends, or family. On Tap Credit Union in Golden,Colorado, is one worth talking to. https://www.ontapcu.org/
4. Work with your food truck partners to set up efficient delivery service and drive-thru for beer and food. Uber Eats, DoorDash, Grubhub, and other delivery partners can help. If your volume dictates, convert waitstaff to delivery.
5. Immediately reduce hours for in-house wait staff and bartenders — but offer them work where you can: Manning a curbside pickup location, delivering beer (and food if feasible), generating outside sales. If possible, job-share or collaborate with a nearby microbrewery in same situation.
6. Re-calibrate operating hours to suit delivery schedules — they’ll probably be a bit different from walk-in hours.
7. Talk to your customers via every communication possible: live radio, email, Instagram, surveys, online ordering, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, mobile-friendly texting, your user-friendly (and frequently updated) website, and an excellent phone system for orders.
Bonus idea: For the geekiest audiences, host a Trivia Night via video conference. (Craft Breweries in college towns are showing great success with this approach, but you can do it anywhere — and make it a “must-do” by starting with “by invitation only” or targeting certain demographics: bored parents with kids; Star Wars fans; music lovers, etc.). You might be able to charge a nominal fee to get it started.
8. THE BIGGIE: Distribute your beer, gear, and gift cards through e-commerce outlets wherever legally possible. TAKE HEART: Safe, creative and legal approaches are out there. The CCBHOF can help you set up on-line merchandise and gift cards quickly. See our Services Here: https://coloradocraftbeerhalloffame.com/pages/colorado-craft-beer-hof-services
Most craft brewers are DIY'ers. And, hey, if you’ve managed to find clever beer names that weren’t already taken by another brewery, finding ways to keep your craft brewery and customers afloat through a pandemic should be, by comparison, a walk in the park,right?