Holiday Dip Offense: Creative revenue generation

In Part 2 of our Holiday Dip series, we’re transitioning from defense to offense through what we’re calling: creative revenue generation.

But first…

Turning The Holiday Dip On Its Head

It’s a pretty badass paragraph:

“Our actions may be impeded… but there can be no impeding our intentions or dispositions. Because we can accommodate and adapt. The mind adapts and converts to its own purposes the obstacle to our acting. The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way.”

Marcus Aurelius wrote that in his Meditations almost 2,000 years ago… Probably in the middle of a war or something.

You know… the dude from the beginning of Gladiator who pisses off Joaquin Phoenix when he bypasses him in favor of Russell “Are you not entertained!?” Crowe to take the reins as emperor.


The idea of the impediment to action advancing action is the mental shift we’re about to undertake when we switch from Holiday Dip Defense (cash flow management) to Holiday Dip Offense: creative revenue generation.

So that’s your first prescription for this week. Allow yourself time to consider this question:

Is it possible to turn the Holiday Dip into an opportunity?

…and come back with an emphatic, “Yes.”

Not a, “Yes, we have the answers and know exactly what to do.”

But instead a, “Yes, it’s possible. I’m not sure how but it’s not beyond us to figure out how to make it happen.”

In the next few sections below I’m going to give you some ideas on this… But remember, these are examples. It’s about the shift in frame more so than the tactics.

Make that shift now and commit to the challenge of turning the dip into an opportunity to unleash your creative problem solving on yet another “impediment to action.”

(Speaking of badass, here’s a book recommendation from the team I’m just digging into: Ryan Holiday’s Obstacle is the Way gives the full treatment to this topic if you wanna check it out.)

Quick Wins via The “It’s Santa!” Effect

Spoiler alert, …

The Holiday Dip revenue generation quick wins are pretty much what you would expect.

Can releases and events.

But not so fast.

Though those two tactics are part of every brewery’s regular repertoire, it’s that extra effort and those small details that add up to start to move the needle.

And plus… we have something working in our favor:

Some people get reeeaaallllyy excited about the holidays.

excited chevy chase

I call this The “It’s Santa!” Effect.

Here’s how it plays into our quick wins.

The Holiday Can Release

If you’ve followed along with our Taproom Pro Tips, you’ll already know that a limited-run monthly can release is an essential building block for a successful taproom.

The holidays are a perfect and natural extension of this concept.

But here’s the deal. Catch the last two lines of the pro tip:

Oh and remember, make it something special, flex your brewing muscles. Brown ale in a 16oz can is not special.

And that couldn’t be more true during the one time of year where people want to be home instead of out somewhere… so you DEFINITELY need to give people a reason to venture out in the cold.

You know what’s in? Pumpkin Oreos from Trader Joe’s.

You know what’s out? Pumpkin beer.

People do stouts, porters, darker beers. But that’s only half of the equation… savvy marketing is also a requirement to take full advantage of The “It’s Santa” Effect.

halloween release bent water
Bent Water up in cold weather territory, is already all over the holiday releases.

I’ll leave the solution up to you and your creative brewing geniuses with their ear to the ground…

But what I will say, is don’t be afraid to get something new and different out there. As marketing legend Seth Godin says, This might not work… is at the heart of all important projects, of everything new and worth doing.”

The Holiday Event Schedule

Now, if you’re a brewpub you’re already booked solid through New Years for holiday parties…

But if you’re a taproom, you’ve got some work to do.

You may want to make food accommodations.

You may want to get some social or civic groups in there if they don’t want to do the whole stuffy sit down thing.

Or you may want to (playing right into the hands of The “It’s Santa!” Effect) call in the big guns: St. Nicholas himself.

I’ve always seen pictures with Santa work really well… just sayin’.

santa atlas
Atlas was on the Santa train last year.

So with that, remember that these are quick wins.


  • Get the message out to the team during next week’s taproom meeting.
  • Get the event schedule full of holiday-excitement-stoking ideas.
  • Get the promotion machine into full effect.

And start, bit-by-bit, to turn the dip upside down.

The Final Push (For Your Sales Reps)

So at the outset of this series I said that for the most part, distributors hands are tied at this point.

Well… I lied.

Yes, November is the last real push of the year for wholesale.

And yes, December is a wash. After the last big pickups most distributors go radio-silent for the season.

But what that does mean is that for these 3 measly weeks before the world shuts down…

It’s prime time for your sales reps to shine.

Herd those cats, get them fired up to push, and…

  • Up the account visits to 15 per week.
  • Attend 2 events each week and work the networking magic.
  • Stay in the distributor’s face (in the nicest, yet “Okay I’ll up the order just to get you away from me,” way possible).

Now is the time.


P.S. Bonus accountability points if your Dir. of Sales not only sets the agenda, but leads the charge into battle.

Premium + Pricing = Profit (The Holiday Party Package)

This is The Ranch at Rock Creek:

the ranch at rock creek
From The Ranch at Rock Creek’s (premium) website.

And at $3,600 per night during summer, it’s the most expensive luxury hotel in the U.S. As puts it:

Set among 10 square miles of rugged Montana ranchland just outside historic Philipsburg, Montana, The Ranch offers guests over 30 outdoor recreational activities, 29 unique accommodations featuring four different styles (lodge rooms, canvas cabins (glamping), historic barn and luxury homes), memorable ranch cuisine, and a full-service spa. Families, couples and friends will discover that The Ranch at Rock Creek is a special place that offers the best of America’s “true West” without sacrificing true comfort.

Sounds… nice?

But here’s the question:

Why would any reasonable person pay $3,600/night, when one might just as easily visit the same exact Philipsburg, Montana for the Travelocity best value price of a whopping $133/night?

montana hotel prices

The answer, of course, is people pay for EXPERIENCE.

In particular, people will pay a massive price premium for the same category of service when convenience, luxury, and social status are involved. Quite possibly even a 2,706% price premium per our dude ranch example.

Let’s bring it around to our holiday revenue generation conversation.

The Premium Taproom Holiday Party Package

I want you to build and market a taproom holiday party offer. But not just any taproom holiday party…

I want you to build and market a taproom holiday party offer that will blow the roof off your profitability and maximum revenue potential.


Offer three options…

  • Option 1: The Standard. Whatever accommodations you typically make for parties interested in booking your space. Typically this means the host handles the heavy lifting, and you’re there to man the bar and keep the lights on.
  • Option 2: The Value Offer. Here you should offer more value and less work for the host. An idea would be to coordinate the food, or offer some sort of custom/novel setup for guests.
  • Option 3: The White Glove Service. Food, private jockey box with staff, multiple options of beer… massages, moon-bounces, a custom-made ice sculpture of the guest of honor… The point is, this option should be limited only by your imagination and your willingness to utter a sky-high price without an audible *gulp.*

There’s some psychology behind this.

In short, people are willing to pay significantly more when (a) multiple options are offered (and the conversation moves from “Should we?” to “Which one?”), and (b) the discussion is framed around a big number (the premium option).

So here’s the key:

Your top White Glove Service option should be priced really high.

Like really, really high.

At least 5x your Option 1 offering, with your Option 2 somewhere in the middle… which will push potential buyers toward the middle pricing option as the “bargain” when framed against both the tippy-top price, as well as the decreased level of service present in your baseline option.

Just like that, viola’! You’ve at least doubled your typical holiday event revenue.

Now stack some marketing and push behind it, and you may even find yourself unlocking a new “pocket” of premium event clients, who would have otherwise bypassed your basic offer.

Sure, it’s not that easy. But it could be…

Next Steps

  1. Lay out the three options. Bulleted scope for each in table format, side by side. Make sure to stretch yourself with the White Glove Option above and beyond what’s comfortable.
  2. Apply a 1x, 2.2x, 5x pricing curve as a starting point. Then adjust either scope or pricing from there as needed.
  3. Send me the options you come up with for feedback. Mostly so I can tell you that the third isn’t priced high enough.
  4. Build out and execute the promotion plan. Start with the personal network and expand out from there. Meet, call, and generally get new eyeballs on the opportunity. When you do have an interested sales conversation, make sure to introduce the White Glove Option first to frame the discussion.

And now we bring it full circle…

I Want YOU (Back In The Game)

Ready for this, ?

My biggest of Holiday Dip revenue generation wins is not an event, not a limited edition release, and not a pricing strategy…

It’s you!

sales win uncle sam

Think back to when you opened.

What did your day look like?

Chaotic, right?

Hand in everything and you were selling all at the same time…


A couple of anniversaries hit and you moved into semi-selling and CPP (Chief Paper Pusher).

Now you barely have your hands in it (which believe me I’m all for… except in THIS scenario) and the distributor and accounts miss you.

The Challenge

For the months of Dec, Jan, Feb… I want YOU!

I want you the owner to become a sales rep again.

Spend some days with your reps, take on your own territory, and rev up that wheelin’-and-dealin’ relationship-building energy again.

Now to be clear, if you’ve got your Holiday Dip handled via killer profitability, cash reserve, expense management, or any of the litany of other creative revenue generation avenues available to you and your team… this isn’t imperative.

But it could be friggin’ cool, right?

The return!

Rocky gets back in shape for Drago. King Leonidas leads the 300 into battle. The ole’ veteran dusts off the helmet for one last playoff push.

You get the team fired up, and at the same update your strategic database. You get some new boots-on-the-ground experience to learn what’s changed since you were out pounding the pavement, and start to come up with some new strategies you can instill in the team.

So if you’re not projecting at least breakeven…

Or you’re sitting there looking at the projections and find yourself still feeling a bit hungry…

I am asking you to get back in the game for 3 months.

Head down, no bitching, just do it.

Next Steps Toward Growth

And that’s a wrap!

I hope you’ve found value in this series.

If you have any questions, feedback, or input on what we’ve covered here… please do email me at and strike up a conversation.

If you couldn’t tell, I get jacked up on this stuff.

And as always, if you think our strategic guidance and financial discipline might just be the breakthrough your brewery needs, I invite you to fill out our discovery questionnaire and schedule a call.

All it takes is one call to determine if we’re a fit, and we’ll be the first to recommend another option if we’re not…

But it could just be the most valuable call you make heading into 2020.

Talk soon and Happy (early) Holidays!

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