August 14, 2012

The War on Thursdays

This is an unusual year in Phoenix as we're still talking about beer events beyond April. In years past, most of the industry packed up their tents for Flagstaff only to return sometime in September.  As I talk to breweries and beer cultural veterans, most feel as though a busy beer summer is the new normal.

We're deep in the guts of August--a very hot and unrelenting August--and it seems as though most beer businesses are targeting Thursdays as the battlefield. As an example this week's (August 16) Thursday:

Four Peaks Beer Dinner at Lons:
Alaskan Beer Dinner at T. Cooks:
Each of these are spectacular and given the caliber of the Chefs and the restaurants, $65 is not a bad price. The beers are admittedly standard line-ups for the most part, but that's not the point of beer dinners. The star should be the pairing and one should be prepared to think about a familiar beer in a new way. You don't go to a pastry shop and exclaim, "Oh they're using flour. Good God can't they find something a little more exotic!" (Well maybe YOU do.)

Normally, ASH has it's Happy Hour on Thursday. It's been moved to Wednesday at Hungry Monk perhaps to make way for Flanny's Port/Lost Abby Tap takeover. Though I serve as the ASH President, I don't schedule the Happy Hours. I can imagine that given the firepower put out by the distributors the beer bars and the breweries, ASH may have to pick a different day to hold their humble event.


I'll mention also that Whole Foods Chandler always has a Thursday special. This week it's Craft Cans and a Growler Fill Happy Hour. Consult one of many Facebook groups for details on that.

Facebook, it seems is the weapon of choice for Thursdays War. It's getting increasingly difficult to link to these events without having an account and it's truly a shame. Once in awhile there is a website link, but it's often incomplete. For example, the Four Peaks menu above was on Facebook, but the menu is not available on the Lon's website. You shouldn't have to have a social media account to drink beer.

I repeat. You shouldn't have to have a social media account to drink beer.

I'd love to hit any of these, but I have 2 other conflicts. The first is a showing of Riff Trax Live - Manos Hands of Fate which is being satellite-simulcast into Valley theaters. Riff Trax is alumni of MST3K and it is a guaranteed 2 hour belly laugh. Personally, I could use that as much as a good beer dinner.

The second conflict is that I have agreed to judge Wit beers for Crescent Crown's Homebrewing Club.
(Homebrew winners before Beer dinners!)

AMENDED:
RULE 5A facebook account should not be required to drink good beer. Every business should have a website and update it as frequently as other social media or at least provide a feed via their website. Using Facebook only is as bad as restaurants having a PDF wine list and no beer list on their flash driven website.

RULE 6: Thou Shall Not Ignore The Other Non-Thursday Days of the Week for Beer Events.


7 comments:

  1. Speaking for my place of work, we also post all our events on our website calendar as well as in our brewsletter. But yes, Facebook has become the medium for all events that include beer, and it's easier to connect with and communicate through than a website. It seems that for most people, blogs take too long to read, Twitter isn't enough or clicking through a link takes too much effort, and trying to find a company website sometimes can be challenging, not to mention probably less than 20% have beer listed anywhere on them. And like I said before, it feels like we need two Thursdays per week now that there are so many events going on at the same time. It'll be interesting to see when this craft beer bubble bursts.

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  2. I should expound a bit and say that Facebook is the absolute best way to promote an event, however, the information about the event should live somewhere that anyone can get to.

    I can't link to a Facebook event and expect that the reader will log in or create an account to get the relevant details. Often the events are non-public (Facebook setting) when I'm sure the intent was public.

    In that case, even an ardent Facebook user won't get to see that info if they're not in the invite.

    I'm editorializing (not pointing fingers) but in many cases it's lazy marketing. Businesses should also be aware that the flake out rate on Facebook invites is terribly high.

    All I ask is for businesses to ask themselves how a non-Facebook use would find out about an event.

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  3. My biggest issue with the way Facebook is used for events is the whole invite process. That a business page or fan page can create an event is all well and good, but when it comes to getting people to RSVP or even recognize that they are able to RSVP to the event is a whole different game. Sure, I can invite all the people I'm friends with personally on FB, but not all of my friends like or are connected to the page I run, not to mention this leaves out the other bajillion people on FB who might be interested in the event that I'm not friends with personally. Business pages should be able to invite everyone on their business page (I know they don't do this for spam and whatnot, but c'mon, there's gotta be a better way).

    But yes, I completely agree with where you're coming from and yes, pretty much all of the businesses I see are lazy or don't want to pay someone to market their events on social media or update their websites. I'm surprised at the number of business owners who don't understand, embrace, or even appreciate that this (the internet in any capacity) is how people find out about stuff now. Not paper handouts, newspapers, or table top ads.

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  4. Good post Rob - enough to put on my marketing persona to answer and add a few points.

    - As someone who handles PR and marketing for several restaurants, both mom and pop and corporate, I know what websites should be. And the reality. It's not always the marketing person who has control or access to the site. Maybe it's run by the owner, or the tech division, or outsourced, and it becomes another level to cut through to get information posted. As with any business, some are much more organized about this than others. And as with events, some are planned weeks or months in advance and others not so much.

    Facebook is much easier, more immediate and more flexible for getting the first round of information out there.

    But agreed - it is not the best distribution point of the information for those beyond your loyal fans. Posting it on a calendar site like Local Wine Events or MetroMix is much better for a quick, online listing that everyone can access. Even better is to have a email database to send an announcement through a regular newsletter or Constant Contact type of template. These also have features to share with friends, so they can be passed along.

    - Now why Thursday? I wonder that too. My clients always ask for the slower days - Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday. They want to build activities throughout the week - not the already popular weekends.

    - Finally, for anyone interested in learning more about social media and event promotion, it's the Roundtable discussion at Social Media Club Phoenix tomorrow night. http://smcphoenix.com/

    Cheers!

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  5. Agreed that it's frustrating to not have a single place where beer events are posted. I've done my best to create an updated events calendar at: www.azbeersommelier.com, but admittedly things like beer dinners, happy hour specials, and "tap takeovers" often miss my list, because they occur and change so frequently that it's difficult to stay on top of everything. I'm also focusing fairly exclusively on Arizona craft beer, so events that promote non-Arizona beers are also going to miss the list.

    Here's what I propose: we create a Google calendar with members of the craft beer community as administrators (I've realized that it's too much work for 1 person). Administrators can enter and change event details as they becomes available through social media, brewery newsletters, etc. That calendar can then be shared across various websites (sharing the calendar code is super easy) and promoted on social media for those who are on Twitter, Facebook, etc. So the idea would be that there is one calendar out on the web that is maintained by a variety of people who care, and anyone can go look at the events or the calendar can be published on multiple sites.

    Who's with me? Email me at: rob@azbeersommelier.com and let's make this happen!

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  6. Oddly, Rob, we're having that discussion in the belly of the beast

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/AZCBL/permalink/306238782808445/

    If you need an invite to that group, let me know.

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  7. As some might have noticed, with few exceptions AZ Girls' Pint Out has our events on Thursdays. When I started the group I experimented with other nights of the week with dismal results. While we get requests for other nights, for better or worse the majority of people seem available on Thursday night.

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