Groupon Shmoupon and Kickstarter woes

Ok, so everyone likes them a deal! Right? I’m no exception, but before you buy that groupon to try out that new brewery or support a brewery’s kickstarter for a good deal read this, then make your decision.

Groupons are not always financially beneficial. In fact, you might pay MORE than just going to the brewery and getting the same items. The brewery itself is getting less of the money when you buy through groupon. If your intent is to support your local craft breweries it doesn’t as much as just buying from them. I’m still willing to get a good deal off Groupon, but it has to be an actual good deal. So, the brewery has to offer the deal for less than what they charge for the same item. Yet you might be paying more? How does this work? Well, Groupon themselves gets a big chunk of the profits from your groupon purchase. The brewery, or any other business for that matter, will often take the cut in order to get their business out there so more people know and potentially become customers. The temptation, however, is to not lose money. The temptation is to actually make money off of groupon. I have found that most brewery groupons offer something, like a flight of beer then add stickers (again with the stickers… I have voiced my opinion on this ubiquitous brewery marketing strategy haven’t I?) or an empty growler, or a pint glass, or a “tour”. Then, they mark up the cost of the “experience” and price inflate it so that it can be on discount through groupon. Example. Let’s say a normal flight of beer is $10. They add a sticker and a “tour” and claim the cost is now $17, and they are offering it on Groupon for $12 (MORE THAN 25% off!!!!) Groupon takes their cut… let’s say 2. and the brewery is getting $10 for the flight and just write off the 15 cents it costs for the sticker and the “tour” doesn’t cost them anything. You don’t actually get a good deal. I’ve never been to a brewery who wasn’t willing to just give me a sticker if I’ve wanted one. In fact, many offer and I decline. So, why do it? On the consumer viewpoint there is no reason. For the Brewery it might get the word out to people who didn’t know about them before. In fact it is not a good deal most of the time and leaves a bad money grubbing taste in my mouth that often makes me feel crusty towards the brewery than I otherwise would have felt. If you are going to offer a deal in order to get my attention to visit you, then offer a real deal and take the upfront cut in the hopes of getting a repeat customer who is loyal to you. I have bought 3 groupons that were straightforward and had a slight discount on a flight of beer. One wasn’t’ that much of a discount, but was for a brewery I already liked and I got a pint glass, which I did want from them. (I generally don’t want pint glasses unless I really already like the brewery.)

Kickstarters: So this is sort of universal to kickstarters. The problem lies in the fact that you are trying to raise money. Thus the rewards you give can’t cost more than the donation, because then what’s the point? I’m with it! I think that breweries, at least the ones in Ct, are woefully uncreative. They have a product (Beer) which I assume is the draw for all donors. People support a brewery’s kickstarter because they like beer, but many breweries completely ignore this valuable resource. They offer things like hats, key chains, sometimes pint glasses, but often stickers… lots and lots of stickers (have I mentioned my feelings on these stickers yet?) no, I don’t have a problem with the stickers. It’s a cool idea if I had a use for them, but I don’t. Anyway a few, for a very very exorbitant price offer rewards of a growler fill, or a mug at the bar, etc. Why aren’t they using their most valuable resource? Their BEER!?! Seriously. Let’s say they charge $10 for a flight. Even knowing that the flight is $10, I would be willing to pay $15 for their kickstarter with a reward of a flight knowing that I’m supporting them. The actual flight doesn’t cost them $10. It is a markup to make money. It is a business, so of course they need to make money. Their cost is substantially lower. So offer a flight of beer as a reward. Or a can of beer. People generally go to a brewery with a friend or a group or what-have-you so 1 person with coupon for a free flight from kickstarter will most likely bring in others as well who will pay full price. Same with a pour. Use a pour as an option for a few dollars more then it would cost retail as a kickstart reward.

One Kickstarter drew me in for what I would otherwise not be interested in. I’m not a fan of IPA beer. This brewery exclusively is brewing IPAs. I have very little interest in drinking their beer, but the TOX Brewery in New London, Ct did a $1 reward where anyone who donated a dollar or more would get their name on a big art piece with all the names of people who backed their kickstarter. I like supporting Ct local businesses. I want to support the craft brewing community, and just because they brew beer I’m not interested in, doesn’t mean I don’t want to support them. I gave them $1 just because my name would be on their wall. I wish more Kickstarters would have stuff like that. Either slightly more expensive versions of the things I would already buy from them, or big acknowledgements for small donations. It costs time and money to buy product and frankly people don’t really wear it or use it. 1 in 10 will actually wear or use it. It is a massive amount of unnecessary waste. Save the planet… offer beer as a reward. OR a ticket to an exclusive kickstarter party, or stuff people actually want.

So all in all, I find that currently, maybe things will change, but the groupon and kickstarter options for breweries in Ct aren’t very good and should generally be avoided. Just go to the brewery, bring your friends, spend your money there. Post pictures of you having a good time there on your social medias and tag the brewery and vote for your favorites in local voting things the The Best of CT in Hartford Magazine. If you want a good deal check and see if your brewery has a happy hour or a “slow day” where there is a discount on pints.

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