MadTree 2.0 Grand Opening
I knew the MadTree 2.0 Grand Opening was going to be a popular event but I never would have guessed that 15,000 people would show up. Yes, 15,000 people were in attendance on February 11, 2017 to celebrate MadTree Brewing opening up their new production facility, taproom and event space.
They served over 47,000 pints of beer over the 14 hour event.
That’s 3,357 beers per hour, 55 beers per minutes.
Yes, they were serving nearly a beer a second for 14 hours straight!
But what caused this? Why would 15,000 people show up to a brewery grand opening?
History of MadTree Brewing
Those in Greater Cincinnati do not need an introduction to MadTree Brewing but the rest of you probably have never heard of them. So a quick history of this brewery is needed.
MadTree Brewing made it’s first batch of beer on January 12, 2013. Later that year in April, they opened their taproom with 5 beers on tap. Right out of the gate, they were canning 2 of these beers – PsycHOPathy and Happy Amber. For me, they were one of the first craft beers that made me realize that canning was the future of the industry.
Cincinnati embraced this new brewery. The beer was great and they had a strong marketing strategy to capitalize on the craft beer trend. Over the next few years, their original location was pushed to its limits and production was maxed out. At the same time, their taproom became one of the most popular in the city. This was highlighted when Catch-A-Fire Pizza (traditionally a food truck) set up permanent residence in their taproom to feed the masses. Their was an obvious battle for space and a new location was inevitable.
On January 6, 2016, it was announced that MadTree was moving and expanding. It would be an $18 Million dollar expansion of a property only miles from the original. MadTree 2.0 would provide more brewing, larger indoor and outdoor taproom, event space and corporate offices.
So after a year of building out their dream facility, MadTree announced the grand opening would be on February 11th which is close to 4 years after their original location opened. The stage was set for an epic day in Cincinnati Craft Beer history.
You can learn more about them on their website.
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MadTree wasn’t taking a huge risk with their new location.
Demand for their beer was obvious so they had confidence that a larger facility was the right move. But they also knew that it would be important to create a taproom and event space that would continue to attract visitors. Their original taproom had achieved this and it would be critical to replicate this at their new location.
The MadTree 2.0 Grand Opening would need to drive more attention than anything they had ever done. These are the key factors that helped them pull off an amazing launch event.
Have An Existing Fan Base
This wasn’t a brand new brewery; they already had thousands of raving fans. so popularity definitely played a factor in their attendance. MadTree is one of the most popular craft beer companies in the Greater Cincinnati area. They have built a strong following through amazing beer and marketing. So when they announced their new location, the city took notice. Cincinnati was craving a large taproom in a convenient location and MadTree had a plan to meet this need.
Have An Amazing Beer List
So a beer event is only as good as its beer. MadTree has amazing beer and for their grand opening they pulled out some of their all time favorites. From barrel-aged to sours, they brought out their biggest hits to make sure that everyone had a good reason to come by.
But they didn’t stop there. Nope, they went the next step and brought in guest beers from all over the country. Specifically, they secured beer from breweries that do not distribute into their area. The ability to try beer that isn’t easy to get just fueled the fire and craft beer fans continued to build anticipation for the MadTree 2.0 Grand Opening.
In addition to their own beer, here is a list of the guest breweries that had beer at the event:
Creature Comforts, Columbus Brewing Company, Bell’s, Modern Times, Sun King, Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales, Upland, Jackie O’s, Little Fish, Fat Head’s, Sierra Nevada
The tapping of limited beers were timed throughout the day. This was necessary logistically but also to encourage customers to stay longer. And it worked, they ran out of beer and had to close the following day to recover.
Have Great Marketing And Outreach
I love marketing and MadTree did a great job marketing themselves over the past four years. But basic marketing didn’t get 15,000 people to show up. Throughout the year it took to renovate and prepare the space, MadTree was actively including their fan base in the process. A dedicated Tumblr page was created and updates were regularly posted to their social media.
Then as they approached their grand opening, they really kicked things into high gear. They were being featured on every news source that they city has. TV, web, radio and social media all were talking about their new location and the grand opening. Morning local news did a number of interviews with the MadTree staff. They also hosted a series of “soft opening” events for fans, media, and others that were closely connected to the company. All of this pushed their exposure further than ever before.
Have The Weather And Your Neighbors Cooperate
Cincinnati in February is normally cold, snowy and generally not the best time of year to do an event – especially one that has an outdoor element. But MadTree Brewing has celebrated their anniversary every year at the same time. So it only made sense to open their new space at the same time. Then something amazing happened; Cincinnati had one of the mildest winters that I can remember. The day of the event it was in the mid to upper 60’s making it ideal for their event.
But it wasn’t just the weather that cooperated. Across the street is Crossroads Church. It is a massive multi-site church that is very active in the community. They helped MadTree by allowing them to use a portion of their parking lot. This gesture provided hundreds of additional parking spaces.
Community Builds Beer And Beer Builds Community
All the factors above played a part in getting thousands of craft beer fans to attend the MadTree 2.0 Grand Opening. But this event went well beyond attracting the local craft beer enthusiasts. Something else was at work.
One of MadTree’s favorite sayings is “Community Builds Beer and Beer Builds Community” which is very similar to what I say “it’s all about community”.
15,000 people came to this event because craft beer is building strong communities.
That’s right; it wasn’t about the beer. It was about the people.
MadTree built a great venue. They did a great job promoting it. The weather was perfect. There was plenty of great beer. But the bottom line is it goes beyond all of that.
I guarantee that many came to this event even if they didn’t like their beer. They came because they wanted to be with their friends, family and peers. The modern taproom is a great place to share life with those around you.
It was more about being part of the community than drinking beer. 15,000 people could have found many other places to drink beer but they chose to be part of a community celebrating the success of a local business.
There is a long list of reasons why people came to the event but in the end, everyone was drawn to the MadTree 2.0 Grand Opening because craft beer is building community.
Have You Been A To A Brewery Grand Opening Recently?