Tap into the Craft Beer Boom

Tap into the Craft Beer Boom

May 13-19th was American Craft Beer Week and it was celebrated by millions of Americans with the same passion as Christmas, 4th of July or Memorial Day weekend.  It was a full week celebrating American craft beer and boy did we enjoy some wonderful, mind bending, hard-to-find beers.

The reason I am in front of you today confessing my beer indulgences of the last 7 days is to try and plug you into one of America’s biggest, booming consumer trends.  The hottest growth sector in America right now is craft beer.

Craft beer followers are passionate. They will pay more for quality and will travel anywhere to try a beer they are interested in. They will NOT stay at your establishment if you only have “corporate beer”.  This is something you need to know.

Many customers will define you by what you have on tap!

Craft Beer Industry Growth

Craft beer industry growth reminds me of previous industries like personal computing, the internet or the 80s music boom. As business operators we are always trying to identify consumer trends to integrate into our business.

2012 U.S. Craft Beer Statistics: (courtesy of brewersassociation.org)craft beer boom

  • Craft beer sales grew 15%
  • 108,440 small brewing jobs were created
  • Craft beer sales was $10.2 Billion
  • 409 new breweries opened in 2012

The craft beer business is BOOMING because of a passionate customer base.

Customers are Passionate About Craft Beer

Millions of thriving thirsty fans are in search of great craft beer and will travel anywhere to get it.  You really should get to know these consumers.

Craft beer people are very socially connected, ready to travel and happy to spend $8-$22 for a beer.  They visit breweries as a group on a regular basis.  They spend lots of time and money trying to discover unique and hard to find craft beers.

I have been to 15-20 breweries with friends and family and happily spent lots of money on everything they offer.  They have great food, gift shops and beer. We always share our craft beer trips on social networks and also take pictures to make our friends jealous and to show we found another good craft beer location.

Craft beer fans are passionate groupies and the search for new beers is the ultimate scavenger hunt. Some of the best craft beers are brewed in small batches and there are bragging rights on great finds and lots of great stories to tell.

You want this kind of spending and sharing passion from your gaming guests, too.

Adding a Brewery, Tap-takeover or Craft Beer Event?
It is easy to “tap” into this passionate group of consumers!

Do you have a brewery or do you have craft beer events?  You too can have fans from around the country coming to see you. Which direction is right for you?

Adding a brewery to a casino to capture this passionate group of consumers is not new.  I have been to the Triple-7 Brewery at Main Street Station in Las Vegas, Brew Brothers at the Eldorado in Reno and the Feather Falls Casino in California’s in-house brewery as well.


  • You get your own beer reputation and potential cult following
  • The most profit-per-glass is brewing beer in bulk


  • A lot more work and commitment
  • Bigger up-front costs
  • You’ll need a seasoned brewmaster

It goes without saying that it is important you create great beer, too! To start your own brewery you’ll need a brewmaster that has passion for the art of brewing.  It will be a partnership just like you have with your chef.

The goal is to create great beer people love and consistency from batch to batch.

Tap-Takeovers, in my opinion, are the easiest way for anybody to get started. A tap-takeover is when you bring in an outside brewer and let them replace all your beer on tap with theirs for an evening event.  I love a good tap takeover.  These are all the rage right now and it’s cheap and exciting for everyone involved.

Brewers are artists who love to share their art.  A tap-takeover is a great honor for the brewer and your guests so everyone is easy to work with and eager to please.  These are very win-win situations for you, your guests and the brewer.


  • The brewer is motivated to make this inexpensive for you for exposure
  • You can have a different brewer every week, allowing for many profitable events
  • Craft beer people will come back over and over – building great loyalty
  • Great for inexpensive VIP events and food-paring parties


  • Someone has to arrange, negotiate and manage the brewers

A brewer normally brings 5 types of beers so your guests all find something to love and they get more people tasting their favorite craft brews.

Craft Beer Events are growing like gangbusters all over the country. Reno itself has craft beer events like Brew Ha Ha at John Ascuaga’s Nugget,  BBQ Blues and Brews at Eldorado Hotel & Casino, EuroFest at Sands Regency, CanFest held at the Peppermill, and so many more.  The crowds are quite impressive!


  • Craft beer events sell out
  • Guest come prepared to spend time and money
  • Sell lots of food easily too
  • Guests tell their friends “you missed it, man” and the events grow each year
  • The event builds a reputation and grows easily with less marketing budget


  • Increased marketing budget for the first events
  • Profits spikes once – only during the event
  • A large venue area is needed

These are great events and, when managed properly, guests are putty in your hands for everything else you want them to buy or do at your event.  They came to get involved in all the games, contests and fun that you can offer.

Make it fun, have fun yourself.


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