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Grand Opening

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We are considering a grand opening. Does anyone have any experiences that they would like to share about what worked or what to avoid. I did a search and was not able to find the topic addressed. Any feedback would be appreciated.

 

Thank you.........

 

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TOKEN SYSTEM FOR DRINKS FOR A FLAT $5!!!!

We were expecting around 500 people and ended up going through over 1,000 arm bands. Needless to say, we weren't prepared. We were ringing drinks out at the register for $5+tax. Miserable....especially when we realized our internet wasn't fast enough to upload our register sales and our security footage to the cloud...had to unplug our cameras half way through the night just to get sales to go through our POS system! We did a second event and sold drink tokens for a flat $5 out front and then people just presented a token at the bar for a drink. SOOOOOOO MUCH FASTER! Also, make sure you have plenty of good help around, especially bar tenders. Also, disposable is good. We ordered a bunch of plastic cups with our logo on them. People loved them and they could take them home or toss them in the trash...regardless, we didn't have to wash glasses which saved a ton of time. You definitely want some food and music too. That got people to stick around a lot longer. We partnered with a local not for profit that sold Chick Fil A sandwiches. Looking back, we raised a lot of money for a great cause, but it would have been nice for consumers to have more options....food truck(s) maybe?!?! 

Anyway, just my $0.02 from a little "podunk" town in southern IL!

Good luck!

Adam

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Great info Stumpy!  We're also thinking about this topic as we will be having our Grand Opening on July 9th.  

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Congratulations to all the fellow Grand Openings.

Adam, thanks so much for the insight. Did you advertise to get that many people or do specials etc? I think the token idea is fantastic! Thank you. We have food businesses around us we know and are going to ask to have sample tables set up and do live music as well. We will only be charging for tastes, no cocktails. Did you do tours? How did that go?

Thank you for your time and assistance.

Michael

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We are having our grand opening in conjunction with a 3 day festival in town that celebrates the Whiskey Rebellion.  The yearly festival draws about 20,000 people over the course of those 3 days.  We expect to bring in a lot of people so we are planning on

1) Setting up velvet ropes in the distillery so people can do self-guided tours and we will have employees in the distillery to answer any questions visitors may have. 

2) We don't plan on having tastings available at the distillery during the grand opening based on the number of people that could potentially visit.  We will have tastings available in the main festival tent.

3) Instead of having a cocktail menu this weekend, we will have one or two pre-made cocktails available so we can just pour drinks from pitchers.   I really like Stumpy's suggestion to bring in plastic glassware for this event.

4) We will have an empty 53 gallon barrel on display in the tasting room and will get visitors to sign it.  Those that also sign our guest book and include their email will receive updates as we fill/age/bottle the barrel.  Once the barrel is emptied in a few years it will be on permanent display in the tasting room.

Keep those thoughts coming, you only get 1 chance to have a grand opening and we'd like to do it right.

Scalawag, I don't mean to hijack your thread but your timing in creating this was perfect!  Good luck to you and Red Mountain as well!

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Scalawag,

We did advertise a little. Mostly on Facebook, local newspapers, and road signs. We had a lot of traffic from the banners we put out on the highway, alone. We also had an article on a larger food publications blog which helped pull some visitors from the Missouri side of the river. We didn't do any specials...just satisfied pent-up demand from months of hype building!

We planned to do tours every hour on the hour but I ended up doing them continuously from about 3-8pm with only a long enough break to scarf down a sandwich. Huffy2k's self-guided tours are a great idea. I had no voice by the end of the night from trying to speak over large groups...some of the tour groups were as large as 30 people.

Cocktails were a big $ driver for us that night....probably accounted for a little less than half of our total revenue. Maybe even doing like Huffy2k suggested and have some pre-made drinks in large coolers could be a nice little profit center for you....and easy to maintain & refill!

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Fantastic, thanks you both for all the great ideas. Your correct, only one crack at a grand opening. May as well do it the best as can be designed. Now I have more to consider...

 

All the best,

 

Michael

 

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Awesome discussion. Id love to hear more folks chime in

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We are currently building up to our Grand Opening. One thing we have been doing is trying to build the hype machine locally to get people excited and educate them on what a Distillery is.

We recently had a Still raising party. Kind of like an Amish barn raising, but without the beards and a lot more fun. We had about 100 people show up throughout the day and they got to be a part of fun. We basically had most of the still built and people got to see how it worked and add a nut or washer here and there. It was a huge success. We had a T-Shirt and food for them also.

 

 

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Hey Bull, sounds like a great idea and having fun too....I have friends in Baker, just down the road from you. I will let them know you're there and to come check you out.

 

Michael

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On 5/15/2016 at 1:33 PM, Scalawag said:

Hey Bull, sounds like a great idea and having fun too....I have friends in Baker, just down the road from you. I will let them know you're there and to come check you out.

 

Michael

Awesome thanks!

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I have been thinking about all the great ideas and was wondering how the grand opening translated into sales. Did sales in stores increase noticeably after the Event' and what was the response?

All the best,

 

Michael

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Hey Bull, Congrats on making it to your grand opening. Im interested to hear how it goes for you and some of the things you learn from it.

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Hello Bull,

I'm checking back with you to see how your opening went. Did it live up to your expectations? What worked and what would you do different next time?

I hope it went well and you're busily making booze.

All the best...

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Our grand opening was a huge success. We had 1012 people visit us this past Saturday. The whole event ran smoothly and there was hardly any wait times.

  • We checked ID at entry and gave them ID bands.
  • Then they went to the drink token station where they could purchase beer and cocktail tokens.
  • After that they were free to try tastings and buy drinks.
  • We had a separate bottle and merchandise booth where they could buy items. This made less of a bottleneck in the tasting room.
  • We had bbq pulled pork, chicken wings, chicken thighs, beans, salads, and desserts.
  • I gave scheduled tours and answered questions
  • We also had a photo booth area where they could take photos etc.
  • We had games for kids and non-distillery T-Shirts (I Love Agriculture) that we gave away.
  • For social media, we gave away stickers to people who checked in at our distillery and or posted photos.

We were humbled by how many visitors we had. (Our town has a population of 17,000). 

Once I get the photos organized I will post them. Let me know what questions you have.

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