Loyalty in the craft beer market can be shown in a number of different ways. For consumers, it involves trying a number of different beers from a single brewery, introducing others to that particular brand and taking a trip to where the magic happens.
For brewers, it can be more complicated. They are focused on creating great beer with which they can build a solid foundation. When they are starting out, any kind of official loyalty program can be difficult as every dollar counts. Once you are established, you have the means to create something with more substance like the Barrel Society at Night Shift or the Friends of Harpoon membership.
Now, Sam Adams has joined that list with the Sam Adams Brewer Patriot Club. With the free membership, patrons receive:
- Exclusive event invitations,
- Access to event pre-sales,
- Discounts at the Boston brewery gift shop (40 percent during the holiday season),
- Special education sessions with the brewers
- Tour reservations for up to 20 people during select times
- Official membership card.
To officially introduce the program, Sam Adams hosted a launch party at the brewery. The invitation only event was more than most could have asked for. Free of charge, attendees received four drink tickets, an additional free pint of Sam Boston Lager for a toast by Sam founder Jim Koch, a tour of the Nano Brewery, a small sample of the latest version of Utopias, free food from Salvatore’s and Top Shelf Cookies (one made with Sam Adams Fat Jack) and live music.
The toast from Koch, which essentially opened the event, was onpoint. He spoke about the early life of the brewery that is located in “an odd little corner of Boston.”
He said that the area was far from the safe neighborhood it is now, adding that there were six murders in the area in the early days “like real murders, people died.” Now, it is a place where people travel for beer like a religious mecca.
“People come and we try to give communion,” Koch said.
He thanked the crowd for their patronage and their friendship before toasting all those in attendance. He then hung out with the pourers, sampled the taps and took pictures with anyone that wanted one.
The beers on tap included Boston Lager, OctoberFest, Rebel IPA, Rebel Rouser, Grapefruit IPA, Fat Jack Pumpkin and Kosmic Mother Funk. Anyone that signed up for the Brewer Patriot program and received a card could also enter Utopias room for a sample of this year’s vintage.
Easily one of the highlights of the evening was a chance to tour the Nano Brewery. Typically off limits to the public, the Nano Brewery is essentially the test kitchen for Sam Adams. Looking like a laboratory crossed with a fancy home brewing set up, the Nano Brewery is staffed by two people – a brewer and a co-op. Small groups were taken into the back room, where a special test beer available for attendees and the brewer was available to answer any and all questions.
Overall it was an excellent kickoff for the Brewer Patriot program and a five star event.