It’s no mystery that your taproom can be an outstanding source of revenue. And while your beer speaks for itself, those who belly up to the bar at your brewery want more than just fresh brews – they want an unforgettable experience.

But you know this already, right?

So to liven things up and make your brewery the place to be, you offer weekend tours, showing curious beer enthusiasts an abbreviated overview of the complex process from grain to glass at your humble facility. Out in the taproom you have ESPN on the TV, a local classic rock station playing in the background, and your bartender is scrambling to fill bowls with pretzels. Outside, a thirsty patron tosses a cornhole bag with one hand and grips a pint with the other, as the line for the food truck steadily grows. Such a scene might sound all well and good, but the reality is that your grand vision for an exciting social hub is nothing more than another faded portrait of the modern American craft brewery.

Maybe you figure you’ll do special one-off beer releases every month to krausen up a little excitement, but what about the other 29 days you’re open? Yeah, it’ll take some time before you get that kitchen going, but even when that happens, you’ll still need to find creative ways to brew lasting loyalty with your customers.

Enter Experience Design. It’s an award-winning recipe that integrates every aspect of the customer experience, with each element blending together in a deliberate and purposeful way to convey your unique brand personality. That’s right. Your brand personality. No, not just the artsy logo on your labels and the clever connotations of your beer names. It’s the very soul behind your malty, carbonated concoctions, the raw passion that beamed from your eyes as drops of sweat rolled down your neck during your very first investor meeting.

Experience Design captures that passion and drives it home to the heart of your customers in every part of their purchasing journey, from the beer aisle in the supermarket to the walls of your taproom. This strategy is what sets you apart from the rest of the bearded wort boilers and tells the world that you make more than extraordinary brews – it proclaims why you pour pints of pride.

Customer loyalty comes when your most avid fans share that personal pride with you and make it their own. However, the personal pride that you and your customers share must also shine throughout your taproom experience. Here’s how:

Make meaning with music

Have you ever thought of why you crank up the tunes in the minutes before your taproom opens? It’s because you’re looking to set a specific mood for your customers, and nothing accomplishes that goal quite like music. Simply put, the comfort of music amplifies the relaxed state of mind we’re in when holding a fresh pint.

But if you want to create a memorable experience for your customers, the last thing you want to do is throw on some random CD or radio station to fill the silence. The idea is to rock a handcrafted soundtrack that touches the heart of your customers and expresses the soul of your brand.

Like balancing your malt bill with your hops, a thoughtful Experience Design strategy will help you strike this crucial balance between brand vision and customer preference, so that your customers develop that all-too-important sense of belonging at your place. And with the right music, your taproom isn’t just your place anymore – it’s your customer’s place.

Win them over with visuals

Sure, beauty is in the eye of the beerholder, but your customers don’t just want to see the TV on the wall and a sweaty glass on a wet coaster while they quaff your beers. With every visit to your taproom, your customers want to dive face first into your unique brand story – and from a customer’s perspective, differentiating your brewery from the hop-slingers on the other side of town isn’t all that easy when your menu is scribbled on another dusty chalk board. More importantly, can your customers actually read your offerings on that chalkboard, let alone the IBU and ABV info written below the beer name?

If you want to immerse your customer into your brand story, it’s helpful to put yourself into their shoes and think about what they see when they first step into your taproom. Do they get a sense of your love for making great beer? Are they inspired to try your different offerings? Do they see you as one of those rare innovators in craft beer, or as another empty brand with some shiny stainless tanks, a couple IPA’s and a load of capital? The answers to these questions will help your Experience Design strategy begin to ferment.

The bottom line here is to do whatever it takes to enhance the visual experience in your taproom. Whether you’re displaying antique mugs and giant malt bags on the walls or energizing your space with digital screens that feature your beers, the goal is to win the heart of your customers by capturing their attention. By our very nature, humans are visual creatures, and there is no better way to ensure repeat visits to your taproom than by providing an engaging visual experience that illustrates your unique brand story – with uncanny precision.

With a thoughtful Experience Design strategy that focuses on the latest in visual solutions, such as digital menu boards and branded television, you’ll easily distinguish your brand from the rest. By using the right digital platforms and personalized templates to display your menu and images of your beers, your offerings can be as crystal clear as a fresh pint of pilsner. Again, put yourself in the customer’s shoes and imagine seeing those malty masterpieces bubbling in all their carbonated glory on a dynamic digital display. Now that’s how you grab your customer’s attention.

You can even use those screens to display images of the brewing process to help educate your customers and further explain the story behind your brand. Put out some mason jars with base malts and hops, and all of a sudden happy hour becomes an interactive brewery tour without your customer having to leave his bar stool. Ultimately, seeing the product is the first step towards believing in the product, and the right visual experience can turn first-timers at your taproom into lifelong brand-believers.

Mobilize your malty offerings

Nearly two-thirds of all Americans are smartphone users, and studies have shown that 42% of those people use their devices to make purchase decisions. For brewers like you, that means you can draw thirsty customers to your taproom by connecting with them through location-based mobile beacons sent directly to their smartphones. You can generate brand loyalty by alerting your best customers with daily specials and discounts, or notify them when you’re tapping a special keg. Doing so, you’ll further develop that sense of belonging and help encourage customers to come back to their place.

Though your beer speaks for itself, you need to think beyond what’s in the glass if you want to develop brand loyalty and drive taproom traffic. With more than 4,000 breweries in the U.S. today, it’s more important than ever to set your brewery apart from the rest – and employing a comprehensive Experience Design strategy in your taproom will convert new and existing customers into full-fledged brand advocates, one by one.

Keep in mind – crafting a sound Experience Design strategy requires the same effort you put into designing and brewing your beers. And like brewing beers for a large audience, Experience Design is something you want to get right the first time – every time. With the help of an expert like Mood Media, you’ll create an unforgettable customer experience with each visit to your taproom and build lasting brand loyalty. As a local provider with global scope, Mood Media is the world’s specialist in end-to-end music, visual, and mobile solutions, each specially handcrafted to express your distinct brand personality.

Any brewery can quench the palate with a great beer, but without providing a stout customer experience that reflects your brand story, after time those special ales begin to pale.

What’s your recipe for an unforgettable customer experience?

– Submitted by Jeff Sheerin, Marketing