April 01, 2019

National Beer Day: Does it mean more business for local bars and breweries?

In this article

  • What is National Beer Day?
  • Do local bars do more business on National Beer Day?
  • What National Beer Day looks like at the average bar across the country
  • Where was National Beer Day the biggest?
  • What About New Beer’s Eve?
  • Taking advantage of National Beer Day (and New Beer’s Eve) if you own a bar

What is National Beer Day?

With “official” holidays like National Lumpy Rug Day and National Ampersand Day, it’s easy to hear the words “National Beer Day” and assume it’s just another pointless holiday.

Well, you might be surprised to discover National Beer Day is a rare unofficial holiday backed by some pretty significant history.

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9 months before the end of prohibition once again legalized alcohol sales across the country, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed a law called the Cullen-Harrison Act. The law made it legal to brew and sell beer containing up to 4.05% alcohol by volume.

Upon signing the legislation, Roosevelt said, “I think this would be a good time for a beer.” Americans nationwide agreed with the President, consuming 1.5 million barrels of beer on the first day the law went into effect.

That day, April 7th, became National Beer Day.

Do local bars do more business on National Beer Day?

National Beer Day might have a rich history, but does translate into busy taps at local bars and lounges? Or is National Beer Day just another day in April for the majority of Americans?

To answer this question, we analyzed transaction data from 2018 at 42,000 small, local businesses across the country. We started by taking a high level look at the biggest days for local bars nationwide. In 2018, these were the top 5 days of the year for local bars across the country:

As we detailed in a previous post, St. Patrick’s Day is huge for local bars. Local bars averaged a 29% increase in revenue compared to a typical Saturday.

National Beer Day, as you can see, came in as the 5th biggest day of the year for local bars. Some of this, perhaps, was due to the holiday falling on a Saturday last year. Well over half of all revenue for local bars comes in on weekends, with 25% of all revenue coming in on Saturdays alone.

So was National Beer Day’s appearance in the top 5 days of the year anomaly due to its falling on a Saturday in spring, when local bars do quite well overall? Or is interest in this unofficial holiday and its historical roots simply on the rise? It’s hard to know for certain, but let’s take a deeper look at the numbers.

What National Beer Day looks like at the average bar across the country.

Here’s a look at what the typical bar experienced on National Beer Day.

Bars across the country brought in 70% more revenue on National Beer Day when compared to the average day throughout the year. When compared to other Saturdays, however, the increase in average revenue dropped to a mere 5% increase.

So while National Beer Day does stand out as one of the top days of the year, there’s far less evidence that it wasn’t just a slightly busy Saturday.

Where was National Beer Day the biggest?

There’s little evidence that National Beer Day is on its way to unseating St. Patrick’s Day as America’s top drinking holiday. But are there any areas in the country where National Beer Day particularly stands out as a huge day?

We analyzed performance of bars at cities across the country to see if there were any where National Beer Day greatly outperformed the typical Saturday. Here’s what we found

Columbus, Ohio comes in as a clear winner with a huge 34% increase in average revenue compared to a typical Saturday. Phoenix also saw an increase of over 30%, but this could be attributed to the importance Spring Break and Spring Training has on bars in that area.

Big cities like Baltimore, New York, and Washington appeared in the top 10, suggesting that the holiday might truly have impact for bars in certain parts of the country. Particularly when you consider Milwaukee, the brewing capital of the country, appearing as the 10th-ranked city on the list.

What about New Beer’s Eve?

New Beer’s Eve marks the night before National Beer Day and is a much newer unofficial extension of National Beer Day. A high level look at the day from a national perspective shows modest increases over a typical Friday.

National Beer Day was able to crack into the top 5 days of the year with a 5% increase over a typical Saturday. New Beer’s Eve’s 4% increase over a typical Friday, however, wasn’t even enough to see it crack the top 100 days of the year.

That doesn’t mean that New Beer’s Eve has yet to catch on anywhere, though. There are several cities that experienced big increases in revenue over the typical Friday.

Here’s a look at the top 10 cities for New Beer’s Eve:

Boston, where National Beer Day was kind of a bust, had a huge Friday on April 6th, 2018. Green Bay, another big beer town, also saw a much larger New Beer’s Eve bump over National Beer Day. Lincoln, Baltimore, and San Antonio all cracked the top ten for both New Beer’s Eve and National Beer Day.

Taking advantage of National Beer Day (and New Beer’s Eve) if you own a bar

Whether you’ve heard of National Beer Day or New Beer’s Eve, you should consider heading out to your local watering hole to celebrate an important day in our nation’s history. And if you own a bar, pub, brewery, or anywhere beer is served, you should absolutely use these days to try and drive more business your business your way.

National Beer Day may not have the kind of power to drive business on its own. But it’s clear that a little extra publicity could translate into above-average revenue.

Run a social media campaign to increase awareness of the holidays. Offer special discounts or feature limited-run brews. Look for outside-the-box ways to associate your bar as the place people should go to buy a cold one and celebrate National Beer Day.

When it comes to marketing a small business, leveraging unique and interesting days like these can go a long way.

Check out our post on building an effective marketing plan for your small business for more tips and suggestions.

And if you’re really looking to take things to the next level, reputation management software like Womply’s can help you get new customers and keep them loyal.

Sign up for a free demo today and see how local bars like yours have been able to use Womply to increase their revenue by 20%, bring in 22% more repeat customers, and save 10 hours of time per week.

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