Retail Trends

Cheer Up! Here’s How 4 Beer Brands Made the Most of Pop-Up Events

Photo: Rice Press
Written by Tom Coleman

Pop-up bars have become a staple of city living for years. They are the perfect place to meet friends, try drinks you can’t find in your local pubs and get photos that will make all your Instagram followers jealous. However, beer brands and breweries are only just starting to understand how they can use more pop-up events to engage with customers and generate interest in new lines of beer.

While pop-up bars are designed to promote new beers, the best pop-ups incorporate multiple different experiences in order to entice customers. This can range from hosting unique events, using unexpected spaces or highlighting the relationship between food and drink, all with the aim of giving customers a memorable day and a taste for beer that will want them coming back for more (responsibly, of course).

Photo: Skøll Tuborg

1. Skøll

Skoll’s raison d’être is to ‘explore the unknown’, therefore their latest pop-up event sought to live up to this mantra. They chose to host a pop-up event in the long abandoned St Martin’s metro station in Paris, offering beer enthusiasts a chance to explore a forgotten relic of the city not previously accessible to the general public.

As a relatively new beer brand, established in 2013, Skoll already has a sense of mystery and excitement attached to them, which was perfectly complemented by the location of the abandoned metro station. The pop-up is set to run between April to September 2018, offering an immersive trip to the depths of Paris and a chance to educate prospective customers about their brand.

To ensure the experience was completely unique, Skoll decided to hire a digital artist to create a lights installation to set the mood of the pop-up. To entertain visitors to the metro station, they hired a mixologist to demonstrate new flavours of the drink and a levitating glass. They also used the event to launch new packaging for the beer, adhering to the idea of ‘exploring the unknown’

Not only did visitors have the once in a lifetime chance to have a pint in a disused metro station, but also got to be the first to taste the new Skoll beers.

Photo: Leeds-live.co.uk

2. Camden Town Brewery

Having been founded in 2015, Camden Town Brewery was aware of the need to innovate in order to differentiate themselves. When they chose to pop-up in Leeds, they realized they needed a variety of different events to engage with customers. Just as their own range of beers was diverse, so too was their potential client base and their event needed to reflect that.

The Brewery therefore held a week long range of fun events that worked with various artists and musicians from the local area, and also offered the opportunity to sample their range of beers. Visitors to certain pop-up events had the chance to work with Leeds based artists to create a vinyl cover or a Sunday newspaper to reflect their own interests. They also held a pop-up art gallery filled with exclusive pieces of art designed by artists from around the city, with beer tasting all part of the experience.

Having a beer is a huge part of British culture, and the Camden Town Brewery made sure to host events around this idea. For example they hosted a surprise gig from a local band, and also held a comedy night where beer enthusiasts could unwind while hoping to catch the next big comedian before they get their big break. They also launched a ‘BFF Speed Dating’ event so participants could bond over their joint love of beer, and hopefully find a lifetime drinking buddy.

While most of the pop-ups were just for fun, there was one that was a bit more practical. The brewery launched a pop-up hairdressers where both men and women could get their hair cut, for free. While they were waiting, they could relax and have a beer. 

The week long group of pop-up events was a great example of how to engage with your customer base. It provided great experiences which were complimented and improved by the presence of beer, that also engaged with the culture of Leeds and showed that they were invested in the city. 

Photo: The Moodie Davitt Report

3. Voodoo Brewing Co 

The main attraction of pop-up events is that they provide the unexpected. The Voodoo Brewing Co pop-up was testament to this, as they chose to pop-up in Pittsburgh International Airport, helping travelers unwind before their flight.

The pop-up pub mixed the intimate feel of a pub, seating only 25 people, with an open air layout in order to recreate the feeling of being outside. The space was decorated with a graffiti chalk board and wooden pallets to imitate the atmosphere of their other trendy bars. The pub also offered USB charging facilities so that passengers could charge devices before their flights.

However, the heart of the pop-up shop was most definitely the beer. The pop-up had 12 core draft beers for customers to choose from. With such a broad selection of drinks to offer customers and a unique drinking experience, the pop-up pub was a great way to improve the travels of those at Pittsburgh International Airport.

Photo: Rice Press

4. Tiger Beer

Tiger Beer is one of the world’s most recognizable alcoholic brands, unsurprising when you consider the drink is sold in more than 75 countries. Even though the Singapore based brand started in 1932 and is found all over the world, the beer only recently launched in Japan. To make sure they made an immediate impact on the Japanese market, they launched a pop-up bar to try and bridge the gap between the cultures of Singapore and Japan.

The Tiger Street Food Support Fund was established to help promote Singapore’s unique street food culture. One chef who received support from this scheme, Mr Tan Yee Wang, therefore created multiple dishes to be served at the pop-up shop, proving the brand’s commitment to their principles. The dishes included his own staple prawn paste chicken, as well as har cheong kai rice burgers that were developed with a Japanese chef, Shoichi Ueda. This culture clash helped engage Japanese customers with the brand by providing them with a sense of familiarity, yet also introducing them to Singapore’s culture.

The pop-up sought to make itself a social hub by hosting musical performances, hoping to entice passing trade. Tiger Beer wisely used food and entertainment as a way to interest passers by initially, therefore encouraging them to visit the pop-up and try Tiger Beer. Not only did the customers get to be the first Japanese customers for Tiger Beer, but they also got to enjoy brilliant music and food while they did it.

These beer pop-ups are evidence of how pop-ups can be more than just an opportunity to introduce the public to a new line of beers. They can be intriguing and exciting social events that offer an insight into different cultures and introduce people to new hobbies and friends. While these events are designed to sell beer, they are just as appealing because of the experience they offer.

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About the author

Tom Coleman

Storefront Contributor - Tom Coleman writes about the retail industry, specialising in the pop-up sector. Currently an undergraduate at the University of Exeter reading English and History, he splits his time between Hampshire and Cornwall, UK.