What to Do When You Want to Increase Taproom Sales

It’s no secret that breweries with taprooms typically see the highest profit margins from on-site beer sales. Without the cost of packaging, shipping, or paying a distribution partner, you can hold onto a lot of the profit from each draft sale. Plus, the taproom is a vital component of your company’s branding and overall reputation.

Knowing the taproom is likely your most lucrative sales channel, making small changes to operations, marketing, or sales strategies can help you maximize those dollars. How do you do it? You have three options: increase efficiency, increase sales per customer, or increase overall customer count.

Increase Operational Efficiency in the Taproom

Operational Analysis

To figure out where you have gaps, you’ll want to start with a self-audit of taproom operations. With a self-audit, you’ll review SOPs, financial operations, HR programs, safety and compliance processes, and marketing and sales tactics. This will give you a starting point to focus on the biggest issues.

Want a free taproom operational analysis template? Download our Taproom Toolkit »

Use Technology to Work Smarter

Sure, software costs money. But when it comes to your taproom staff’s time, you want them focusing on providing excellent customer service and selling more beer — not wasting time on administrative tasks. The right software systems can help your team communicate better with the back-of-house team, keep accurate records, and more. A few solutions we’d recommend include:

  • Point-of-sale and ecommerce
  • Inventory management
  • CRM and/or email marketing
  • Internal communication or messaging
  • Keg tracking
  • Restaurant reservation management (if you have a restaurant)

Get a more in-depth look at key taproom technology requirements »

Increase Sales Volume or Frequency per Customer

Hire (& Train) the Right People

You might not think of sales as starting with hiring, but you should. When you have great taproom servers who know how to upsell, you’ve won half the battle. Servers should be friendly, knowledgeable about your products, and ready to offer well-timed suggestions to guests. Simply asking whether someone wants another round can encourage additional sales. In fact, The average guest who is asked to order another beer spends 16.3% more than guests not asked. By the same token, letting a guest know about an upcoming product release they may be interested in (based on what they ordered during that visit) could encourage them to return. Additionally, guests who receive high customer engagement are nearly 50% more likely to recommend and/or return to your brewery. (Source: Secret Hopper)

Don’t miss the taproom hiring and interviewing tips in this guide »

A website pop-up from Divine Barrel Brewing encouraging newsletter sign-ups

Keep Your Fans Informed

If you have any type of email list, you should be sending a regular newsletter to let customers know what’s going on in the taproom. You can build your list by having taproom servers offer free merch (something small like a sticker or coaster) in exchange for a guest’s email address. You can also ask customers to opt in when they order from you online. In your newsletter, hype up your upcoming product releases, promote your club or subscription (if you have one), and get people excited about taproom events.

Reevaluate Your Pricing Strategy

Pricing is a basic part of running a beer business, but one that you can easily forget to revisit. Has it been more than a year since you last reviewed prices? Your costs may have changed (maybe dramatically) since then. If you’re still targeting the same profit margins, or even trying to improve them, the math might be off. Use data from your inventory and production management software to help you decide what prices are reasonable for your business and your customers. Need to go back to basics? Use these guidelines for setting your beer prices.

Increase Customer Count (AKA: Marketing 101)

We get questions all the time about marketing. Marketing is hard! And with all the competition out there, it can feel overwhelming. Luckily, you don’t have to have a six-figure marketing budget to build a loyal following. The name of the game is consistency and frequency. Here are a few simple tips:

  • Post on social media regularly (at least once per day) so your fans know what you’re up to. If you only have time to focus on one social media platform, we suggest Instagram. Publish daily happenings to your story and plan in-feed posts for (at a minimum) every product release and taproom event. If you have a little budget to use, experiment with Facebook and Instagram ads to drive purchases or taproom visits. 
  • Decide on your brand aesthetic and messaging and let that inform every marketing choice you make. Your website design, social media graphics, digital ads, merchandise, and taproom decor should all feel like they “go” together. This goes beyond logos and colors — what kind of “vibe” are you after? What type of customer are you hoping to attract? Why would they choose your brewery over another? Make sure your branding reflects those differentiators. 
  • Make sure your website includes all basic information a potential customer would want to know. That includes what drinks you offer (ideally an up-to-date taplist), taproom hours, location, any relevant policies or FAQS like parking and food options and whether dogs are allowed, and prominent links to your ecommerce site if you have one.

P.S. Get inspired with the best brewery marketing campaigns of 2021.

Want to Dive Deeper Into All Things Taproom?

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Our Taproom Toolkit is an extensive guide filled with best practices for taproom hiring, communication, technology, marketing, sales, bookkeeping, and more. It’s free to download, and you can get it now. Like, right now.

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Written by Josh McKinney