Participating in Wine & Beer Festivals

There are so many wine and beer festivals. Is it worth participating? How do you decide? Based on the experience of other wineries, we have some created a list of  pro’s and con’s to participating in these events:

Pro’s Con’s
  •   Get in front of a large targeted audience
  •   Customers who would be willing pay to taste   (where permitted)
  •   Customers likely to buy on the spot
  •   Exposure to many potential customers in a   short period
  •   Potential for competition awards and   recognition
  •   Instant ROI on marketing investment
  •   Face time with customers, opportunity to   educate and build relationships, you can tell a story and answer customer   questions
  •   More sales of less popular and more   characterful products
  •   Sensory experience can be the gateway to purchaser   decision making – you can create what a liquor store can’t
  •   Immediate customer feedback, more   cost-effective than a focus group
  •   You can make sales while marketing, recoup   investment immediately
  •   Festival may not be consistant with your brand   image (e.g. a party festival for a premium brand)
  •   High-cost festivals may not bring enough   revenue to cover the costs of participating
  •   May be required to use limited staff of the   winery/brewery to serve at tastings
  •   May not get a prime location if you are newer   to the festival, increasing the challenge to make sales at the festival


On balance, if you research and chose your festivals well, they can be a cost-effective marketing and sales channel for wineries and craft breweries. Preparing to attend takes minimal effort. Here’s your checklist:

  • A banner and table skirt
  • Product to sell
  • Sales receipts
  • Credit card processing system (consider one that works from your smart phone)
  • Stickers or promotional items
  • Tasting cups
  • Garbage can/dump buckets
  • Ice and a way to cool your beverages
  • Comfortable shoes
  • Snacks for the booth workers
  • Literature and brochures about products and brand
  • Sign-up sheets for your wine club, social media and e-mail blasts
  • Logo items to sell
  • Promotions for attendees to attract them to your establishment, and a festival discount offer
  • Your best staff to staff the booth
  • Floor mats
  • Aerators for wine (to get the best tasting experience)