Fest Practices, Part 1


So, you own a brewery. Or a cidery, distillery, winery, bar, restaurant, etc. You get it—you sell alcohol. In order to do so, people need to know you exist. If they don’t, your doors close. If they do, but your product sucks, your doors close. If your brand isn’t compelling or memorable (in the right ways), your doors close. Your job isn’t to just not close—it’s to blow the doors off the place and thrive. 

open sign

If you’re reading this, you likely have a vested interest in the brand you represent. To some degree, you have a direct influence on how successful you are (or aren’t). Your company has or might be getting ready to invest thousands, if not millions, into launching a brand that I’ll wager you wouldn’t hate if it became recognized as a household name. 


If you haven’t thought about that question or can’t answer it with conviction, stop reading this now. Grab a drink, go someplace quiet, and figure that out first, then come back. Okay, you’re still here. Or, welcome back.


There are concrete, non-debatable things you have to do in order to operate a business just to get it off the ground. And, there will always be ever-infinite lists of what you should and shouldn’t do to distinguish yourself as above-average. Because, in the chance that your closest friends, family, investors, or loyal customers aren’t being honest with you: average is for losers. If you’re going to open a business and phone it in, just hang up.

If you’re prepared to check your ego at the door and put the work in, you’ll flourish. Your customers expect you to. 

beer festival girl


This shouldn’t be your first rodeo, but it may—if so, it’s all good. Either way, you have a choice. Most will go through the motions and blend in with the other hundred or so other exhibiting brands. To be fair, many attendees who are there to just imbibe won’t notice or care. However, you should

Our industry isn’t slowing down. New taprooms open daily, and eventually, if not already, they’re going to open next to you or across the street. And, they’re going to compete for your business. Whether you like it or not, everyone is gunning for bigger or at least consistently reliable market share, shelf space, and butts in seats. Those who move the needle are paying attention to the details and refuse to be average.

It might be uncomfortable evaluating your brand’s event activation with an objective eye, but you have to do it. You also have to create a safe space for your employees and management team to be honest with you. That assumes, however, that you’re cultivating a culture that wants to be better than average, and values when it is. Establishing a standard higher than fake-it-until-you-make-it is going to require more work upfront and may result in a couple of scraped palms from failing forward, but you will quickly learn that it’s worth the effort.

The following series of blog posts hopes to help you shorten that learning curve. It compiles what we’ve learned from our customers and attending festivals all across the country. It will guide you with strategic, practical applications along the way. Hopefully, you’ll challenge yourself to raise the bar on what successful event presence looks like. 

Continuing reading Part 2: Assess Internal and External Factors. Or, subscribe to our newsletter to have it land in your inbox automatically.