While I was in North Carolina for the East Coast Marketing Conference, I stopped by the front desk of the hotel and asked the young guy working the counter if there was a restaurant/microbrewery/eating establishment that everyone talked about and visited on a regular basis. He proceeded to tell me all about one of his favorites, the Flying Saucer, a local watering hole with “200 beers on tap.” So I went. It was a Wednesday night and the place was packed.
Now it turns out that there were “only” about 80-90 beers on tap, but enough other varieties of bottled beers that all in all, they carried well over 200 beers. Besides the impressive array of taps on the wall, I was amused to find out that people were paying $18 just to sign up as part of their “UFO Club”, then set out to drink those 200 beers. When they accomplished that goal they would get a commemorative plate with their name attached to the wall/ceiling of the bar, and the official title of “Beerknurd.”
There were lots of plates on the walls, so I did a quick bit of math and figured out that the owner was a genius.
Those 200 beers, at an average of $5 each meant that each plate represented a minimum of $1000 spent by one person. Especially when you realize that those 200 beers probably meant 25+ visits, that most people like to go out with friends, and friends often eat dinner together. Then I found out that this bar is one of several across the Carolinas, Tennessee, Arkansas, Kansas and Texas, and not a franchise. With all those locations and that kind of following, all I could think of was Jackpot!
But it wasn’t just the money that added up.
By boosting the variety of brews, the owners not only set themselves up as experts, but they encouraged individuals to discover different tastes. With the 200 beer UFO club they made it a fun quest that friends could share. And with new keg tappings each week, the variety keeps changing so the bar never becomes boring. Heck, they even put out commemorative and unusual beer glasses (anyone interested in a Charlie Sheen, Father of the Year glass?), then provide a place online for people to sell and trade.
There are lots of bars and restaurants that go belly up or never amount to much. These owners have taken an ordinary business, turned it into a community, and created a brand that resonates with their target audience.
I know you don’t sell beer, but how can you take a business that most people think of as ordinary, and turn it into something they want to share?