Last week we tried our very first Virtual Brewers Night. We sent the beers and the schwag down to Alligator Soul in Everett and told everyone to show up with their smart phones in hand. We didn’t really know what to expect, but we thought it would be a relatively fun adventure no matter how it turned out.
Over the last three years, we’ve had a lot of success with Boundary Bay Brewery on social networks. We’ve built up our online community to over 12,000 members on Facebook and almost 3,000 on Twitter and are happy to say that it’s still growing every single day. We’ve found fun, unique ways to interact with our online friends – from writing Haikus about Cabin Fever to recommending favorite BBAY beer and menu pairings. We even ran a contest around Father’s Day where people wrote about which Boundary beer their Dad was the most like in hopes of winning a membership to the Washington Association of Beer Lovers. It’s been a lot of fun and we’re always looking for new ways to connect with our social media community. So, we decided to take the basic idea of a tweetup and turned it into a Brewers Night.
Here’s a little bit of what BrewSpeak blog had to say after attending our Virtual Brewers Night: “So, amid splendid food and drink, and with live music from “Stan is Love”, it was time to get down to some serious tweeting. The twitter feed was up on a tv screen, with both Alligator Soul and Boundary Bay actively participating, offering prizes for correct answers, and raffle tickets. If you want to see the tweets from the night, search for the hashtag #bbaygotsoul. You’ll find a fair few tweets from us as well. Pretty soon some of the more avid tweeters were gravitating towards each other, and before we knew where we were we were actually having real life, proper conversations! We had an excellent chat with Tim Gormley from www.beerblotter.com. The beer blotter guys have been blogging for about a year, and based on the conversation with Tim, and a look at their blog, I can heartily recommend it. We have a lot to learn from folks like Tim – a good guy with a love of great beer. It was also fun to meet Tim Lorang from www.timlorang.com. Tim is a man of many talents, who among his many skills, counts himself as a social media integration specialist, with a background in both wine and beer. Who knew such people existed? All in all, despite the slightly odd premise, I’d count the evening as a success – with the evening made better for us by being big winners at the raffle. So Cheers to both Boundary Bay and Alligator Soul for an innovative event that will hopefully be repeated.”
On our end of things, it was a little bit odd…and definitely jealousy inducing! It’s rough to be holed up alone in your office at 8pm on a Thursday night interacting virtually with people drinking your favorite beer on earth and talking about it…while you get none (at least ’till you’re off the clock!). As the night got rolling, people posted pics of themselves at the brewers night…standing at the bar with a beer in one hand and their phone in the other. Even the owner of Alligator Soul posted a pic of his “command central” – his laptop loaded up with Tweetdeck to track all the happenings of the night. My pic was less fun…just me in my office. But it was fun to get to “see” what all these Social Media users looked like in real life. It was a bit like dodgeball as we kicked off the trivia via Twitter and awarded tickets for correct answers. It was a challenge to track all the people interacting with us and Alligator Soul throughout the night, but with the help of Hootsuite, it was definitely doable! We were impressed with how the night went, overall, and would absolutely do it again.
Thank you to all who joined us for our very first Virtual Brewers Night. We really appreciate you being willing to go on this social media adventure with us. Till next time…Cheers!