Beer and chocolate evening
Where: Head of Steam, Durham
The idea: An evening of beer and chocolate tasting in the pub’s bar area.
How it works: Customers tasted beers from the full Duvel Moortgat range which had been matched with different types of chocolate. A representative from the Belgian company talked customers through the matchings. Guests paid £3 each, on the night, to enjoy this open event.
Marketing: The evening formed part of a programme of tasting nights which were advertised via in-house posters, on the pub’s Facebook and Twitter pages and via word of mouth.
Be prepared: The managed house needed to liaise with the beer company over the chocolate matchings and to order in additional beer stocks. Pairings included Liefmans Cuvee Brut with dark chocolate, La Chouffe and Houblon Chouffe with a chilli variety and Vedett White with Terry’s Chocolate Orange.
Pay-off: Showcases the brewery’s diverse range; builds relationships with brands; increases customer awareness of beers and encourages them to try new products; provides a good opportunity to introduce new beers; creates a great atmosphere in the bar.
Key benefits: The tasting nights attract a regular following resulting in increased footfall; increased sales on products being tasted.
Advice: Manager of the Head of Steam site, Simon Ritson, says: “Careful selection of a brand is a must. Choose a premium brand and, for a no risk strategy, opt for a range that is already popular.”
Best outcome: 30% uplift in beer sales on the night
Eat me, drink me: gin & food-fusion night
The Jekyll & Hyde, Birmingham
The idea: To reach customers sharing the pub team’s passion for food and gin
How it works: For three nights a week, Bitters 'n' Twisted pub company’s freehold the Jekyll & Hyde offers an “Eat Me, Drink Me” food and gin-fusion menu in its Victorian gin parlour. Seasonal dishes are made with or inspired by gin, such as Tanqueray gin moules marinière and cinnamon and Hayman’s sloe gin-glazed pear tart.
Marketing: Posters, social media, pub website and newsletter boost awareness, alongside an early-bird free cocktail offer on Thursday evenings and early on Fridays and Saturdays.
Be prepared: Print special menus and train staff well. Differentiate the evening with soft lighting and by showing a black-and-white film in the background, for example.
Pay-off: Creates point of difference around food; encourages the pub’s gin-parlour footfall while raising the profile of gin and its versatility.
Key benefits: Boosts Thursday sales when the pub’s gin parlour is not usually open, offers an extra dimension for existing customers and brings venue into Birmingham’s restaurant portfolio.
Advice: Make an event out of something you love and feel passionate about.
Be aware that restaurant service needs extra resources, staff training and kitchen facilities.
Best outcome: More decadent enjoyment and new diners