Perth’s Otherside Brewing Co. has ramped up its Beer Tycoons programme, tapping into the consumer trends favouring local businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Otherside has run its tongue-in-cheek ‘own a bit of a brewery’ campaign since 2017, although consumers don’t actually own shares in the brewery – which could be a blessing in disguise given the challenges faced by crowdfunded businesses and their investors.
Pierce Ericson is the event manager at Triple1Three, Otherside Brewing Co.’s parent company, and said that the programme had seen a resurgence in recent months.
“Beer Tycoons has been going for a couple of years but it’s been kicking up a notch in the past six months, and we’re looking at how to get Tycoons more bang for their buck,” Ericson said.
“It’s a loyalty programme, for $250 their name gets put on one of the bricks of the brewery and a load of exclusive benefits.
“Then for the life of the programme they get discounts on the beer, we do an AGM which is a tongue-in-cheek thing but we treat it like an actual AGM, we book some bands and we brew their own beer for them.”
Loyalty programmes are of course nothing new to the brewing industry, as breweries seek to capitalise on and give back to super-fan consumers.
But the success of a beer club or loyalty programme depends on long-term engagement as well as regular updates and perks, and in this respect, Otherside has been very successful with its Beer Tycoon programme.
“It’s created a loyal community, we’re up to 800 members now. There’s a sizable community growing, and it’s a good way for us to get more personal with our customer base as well.
“For those people that are really into what we’re doing and really into their craft beer, it adds more of a personal touch.”
It is this creation of an elusive culture, which has been an organic process on unaffiliated Facebook groups like the Reschs Appreciation Society or the Hunter Valley Beer Snobs, that has been key to Otherside’s success and it’s undeniable that the focus on local businesses and products which was prevalent during COVID-19 has also contributed.
“There’s a culture, especially in Perth with the Perth Beer Snobs discussing what they drink and getting to a beer first. Our Beer Tycoons club, it’s us having our own little group of people, they get to try some of our beers first and get input into what we do, and they get to be a part of the process,” Ericson said.
“That really appeals to them and builds some great brand loyalty, when they get to tell their friends they get to try it a week before everyone else. It’s a culture as well as being about the beer.”
Keeping the group active is key and requires a lot of engagement from the team at Otherside.
“Because we have the brewhouse, and Beer Tycoons is very Perth-centric which means they are often regulars, and they get to speak to the brewers or Ash our venue manager. We’ve created a group that’s really active, it’s just a really nice community.”