On November 4th, 2014, I put an announcement on social media that I was giving away free beer. And, wow, did a lot of people want to take me up on that offer. I guess that’s what I wanted. A good friend of mine called it “liquid promotion.”
I offered up test batch tasting of my homebrew for private parties to help gain fans and get feedback on my creations. I’d throw my portable four-tap draft box (a.k.a. jockeybox) into my car, along with all the gauges, tools and carbon dioxide to properly serve from it; plus two to four small homebrew kegs of beer. I’d set it up in people’s living rooms, back yards, porches and decks and hope the people at their party would drink my beer – and like it too.
My first one was for a private party thrown by one of my former managers from American Family Insurance. He threw that party in December of 2014. My last [official] private tasting event was for one of my wife’s former coworkers at her house, in mid fall of this year.
With all the busy work that is going into construction and finalizing details of the brewery and restaurant, I have to call an end to the free tasting parties. But I still might find a way to give people another chance or two to get a free taste before I’m open.
The demand for these parties got a little too strong at times, and I didn’t have the homebrewing capacity to say yes to every party opportunity. So if you asked and I wasn’t able to serve for your party, I apologize.
Over the course of the year that I offered them, I kept a log of the parties. Here are some stats and interesting things that happened:
- 24 official parties (and a few impromptu “I’ve got beer and I’ll bring it by” parties)
- There was a seven week span in April/May/June where I served at nine parties. I was basically out of beer at the end of that time period and had to take a couple week break
- I estimate I served over 500 people, ranging in age from low 20s up to people in their 60s and 70s
- I estimate I served 250+ gallons of beer total, over that year. Although that is a decent amount for a home brewer, to offer some perspective, at the brewpub each batch of beer will be 150+ gallons
- One of the earlier parties spawned three additional parties and a private investor in the brewpub from the attendees. That is a definite success
- The award for the “most prolific drinkers” party goes to a group of about 30 to 35 people who consumed what would amount to $600+ worth of beer, if served at commercial prices
- I served at a party for a private flying club which netted me two future plane rides, which I’ve since cashed in on. One of them was in this really cool old air force trainer: a T-28 Trojan, built in 1950. We flew from Madison to Lone Rock for breakfast. I bought him his $9.50 breakfast. He paid for the $95 of gas we used in that short trip. Being a brewer is awesome
- At one party, I ran into the parents of the kids I used to babysit when I was 16. Those kids are now in their upper 20s/low 30s and one has kids of her own. (I turn 39 this week, so I suppose that makes sense, but it still makes me feel old)
I had a blast doing these parties. I loved the social aspect of it and loved talking beer with people. I was proud to serve my beer and learn what people liked, and didn’t like in a beer.
Of course, my main goal in these was to gain fans and I certainly got a lot of email addresses out of it, as well as some new Facebook fans and Twitter followers. Hopefully people liked the beer well enough to show up when I’m open. And I hope they bring their friends.