One of the things that I think makes a local craft beer pub or tasting room special to the locals is the brewery special. It doesn’t have to be available all the time or even for all beers, but in my experience it is a gesture that the local clientèle appreciates and keeps them coming back for more.
When I was in college, the Humboldt brewery had Thirsty Thursdays, much like breweries and bars in all college towns have. At the Humboldt brewery that meant $4 pitchers of their signature Red Nectar, red ale all night. Even on a college student budget that was affordable and we’d even pony up the extra $2 for a pitcher of Oatmeal Stout to mix it up. I bet I could count the number of Thursdays I didn’t patronize the brewery on one hand and it made paying $6-$8 a pitcher or $6 for a six pack more tolerable at other times. I felt like they were giving back a little, yet with standing room only every Thursday night I don’t think it hurt their bottom line either.
Again I’ll put in a shameless plug for the People’s Brewery. Without fail, since they opened their tasting room, Wednesdays are Growler day with $2 off growler refills all day and Thursdays are Pint day, $2.50 pints. Sure it encourages business just like any “sale” but it is also like a thank you to the locals and visitors who are in town and can go straight to the source.
On the other end of the spectrum is my own local brewery, 50/50 in Truckee CA. The only special I know of is their $1 beer special one day a year on their opening anniversary. Yes they will throw a party or two each year but I don’t know of anything else because to be honest I stopped going. It just felt too much like all they are out to do is make a profit and there is just no local love. I guess they feel that they are the only game in town so they don’t need to “discount” for any reason. Too bad because a local beer special is an event and it brings people out. If nothing else it is a good excuse to go grab a cold one, try a new one, and reminds you how much you like the place.
So to all you craft brewers and soon to be brewers out there, yes it’s a business and you have to run it like one, but take care of your local base and give them a little something special.
I’d love to know what the best local craft beer special is in your town. Spread the love.