Secret Hopper

Mystery Shopping and Consulting for Craft Beer Businesses

How Engagement At Your Brewery Affects Your Guests' Spending Habits Elsewhere

It should never be taken for granted that your tasting room is the epicenter of your brand. Whether your staff is serving a first-time guest, or a frequent visitor, their visit is not only impacted by the quality of your beer, but also the quality of their experience. With so many great drinking establishments readily available, you should strive that your guests enjoy their visit at your brewery, but also crave your beer when not there.

With this said, your competition is not just the 7499 other breweries. Your competition is the bottle shop down the street, the craft beer bar with a ton of buzz, the pizza place with 77 taps, and even the super, hip chain restaurant that flaunts words like “craft” and “artisanal” in every menu description. And let’s be honest, very few of us go to the same craft beer destination every time we go out. We like to explore and try new places. “Loyalty” isn’t craft beer’s middle name. But luckily, since your beer is distributed, you can help minimize the fact that they didn’t choose to visit your business and maximize their experience while they are out and about.

The Brewers Association and Nielsen put out a ton of fascinating data in the 2019 Craft Beer Insights Panel Survey Results. This study, dubbed “Getting Inside the Mind of the Craft Beer Consumer – 2019” touches on what’s going on with brewery visits and follow up sales. 51% of those surveyed state that they are not particularly loyal to any one or sets of craft beer brands. According to the study, 58% of those surveyed purchase “a lot/little more” of a brewery’s beer after visiting. Those purchasing more stated that they are 60% likely to make these purchases while at a retail store and 54% likely to purchase the brewery’s beer at a restaurant/bar. The study does not discuss the contributing factors to why the guest is more likely.

With regard to the educational component, 43% of those that have chosen to visit a brewery’s tasting room rather than a bar have done so to learn about different beers. 36% of those that have chosen to visit a brewery’s tasting room rather than go to a traditional bar have done so because they know the staff will be more knowledgeable. However, these are the only, brief mentions that touch on the importance of engagement.

Through a Secret Hopper study consisting of 1142 non-paid brewery visits, we analyzed the effect of engagement on brewery guests’ likelihood of purchasing a brewery’s offerings at other establishments. The goal of our study is to take a deeper dive into how a brewery staff’s interaction with guests further influence consumers’ spending habits.

When a guest receives low engagement at a brewery, they are 43.6% likely to purchase that brewery’s beer at other establishments. With neutral engagement, a guest is now 66.5% likely to purchase that brewery’s beer elsewhere. As engagement increases to moderate, they are 86.8% likely. When a guest receives high engagement at a brewery, they are 93.2% likely to purchase that brewery’s beer at other establishments. Through a prior study, we discovered that guests receiving high engagement also spend 17.1% more than those receiving low engagement.

Buy Elsewhere Chart.png

A brewery guest receiving high engagement is 49.6% more likely to purchase that brewery’s offerings at another establishment than when a guest receives low engagement.

The value is twofold. Those guests receiving higher levels of engagement not only spend more within your tasting room, but also are more likely to purchase your brand while at other businesses. This may seem intuitive, but high engagement is not always present. Based on a study of 5064 non-paid brewery visits, guests are still receiving low/neutral engagement 22% of the time. High engagement is happening during 42.3% of visits, and moderate 35.7% of the time.

Remember that the growth of craft beer is not only dependent on those purchasing pints at breweries, but everywhere craft beer is sold. Help create an entire memory surrounding their visit. The experience makes the beer taste better. Let your guests savor your beer then seek it out.

We would love to offer any brewery that reaches out after reading this article one free Secret Hop*. Please email andrew@secrethopper.com to schedule. Cheers!

*1 free visit per brewery per calendar year