Case Study: Tap and Handle
Tap and Handle was founded in 2012 by Jeff Willis, who cut his teeth in the beer bar business at Austin, Texas institution The Ginger Man before relocating to Colorado where he was part of the launch team for Backcountry Pizza in Boulder. In the years since, Tap and Handle has received numerous awards, from the Coloradoan’s award for “Best Beer Bar” to recognition as one of Draft Magazine’s Top 100 Beer Bars in the country. Willis returned to Austin to ply his craft beer trade again, and Tap and Handle’s new ownership, led by Katie Davis and Andrew Fitzgibbon, continues the legacy of showcasing the absolute best that craft beer has to offer.
When we began working with Tap and Handle, they had a great beer bar but needed to create a more distinct, bold brand that reflected the quality of the beers inside. They also lacked any digital presence to speak of. We started with a brand refresh. Here is the previous logo:
The digital presence was next to spread the word of the great brews and atmosphere. We established a cohesive and platform specific strategy to implement:
- A brand new, updated website
- Live menus that were integrated with the website customers could always see what was on
- An email program to keep loyal customers abreast of upcoming tappings and events
- Established social media channels
- Built paid campaigns to drive business to the taproom
- Developed an app for bartenders to manage digital menu
With the new mediums established to drive customers to the taproom, we turned our attention to the customer experience within the establishment. We worked with the operations team to revamp the menu, beer program, and the building.
Rather than classifying beers by style, we believe in classification through flavor. With that in mind, we built out 7 menu sections:
- Bright and Crisp
- Malty & Sweet
- Roasty & Rich
- Fruity & Spicy
- Tart & Funky
- Cider & Mead
The new structure allowed for a more functional shopping experience. The menu also features 8-10 words that describe the flavors rather than describing the style. 'Rich, sweet roasted malt and dark fruit aroma' is far easier to choose than 'black ale' was the methodology.
Our goal was not to be everything to everyone. Tap and Handle is for the beer geeks of the world. With that positioning strategy in place, we made the conscious decision to focus on smaller, niche breweries that were either self distributed or brought in through one particular distributor (allowing us to build our points with them). Tap and Handle is also a brewers bar, meaning that it's important to build and maintain good relations with brewing friends, for very limited release beers and events.
In the short time we worked together, we increased revenue by more than 35%.