Pay Attention to These Brewery Apparel and Uniform Trends Straight From the Craft Brewing Industry
With craft beer taking over, it's no surprise that patrons are increasingly heading to their local breweries for happy hour and dinner outings. We often focus on the apparel that breweries can sell to customers, but let's not forget about employee uniforms—a potentially large area for sales as the number of breweries continues to grow.
A recent article from Craft Brewing Business had some insights into brewery staff attire that could be quite useful to distributors looking for sales opportunities. For starters, the article pointed out that the right brewery apparel can have a positive impact not just on the brewery's guests, but on those behind the bar required to wear the uniform.
Here are some top takeaways from the article:
1. Formal vs. Casual
There can be a misconception that guests want to feel like they're being treated like royalty, and therefore the staff should be in formal attire to convey that vision. However, research from a team of psychological scientists from California State University Northridge and Columbia University found that formal clothing can create a "socially distant" atmosphere, which is not exactly ideal for a brewery. Breweries tend to promote a more casual environment, where people can go to unwind and feel like a part of a community.
Another online survey polled 1,500 craft beer drinkers and asked if they preferred their server dressed in casual clothes (like jeans and the brewery's T-shirt) versus a more standardized uniform. It found that 87 percent of respondents preferred the casual dress.
We just told you that brewery staff should appear more personable in their uniforms and on the same level as the patrons, but they also need to be clearly identifiable as staff. This might seem paradoxical, but it's actually a simple strategy. A branded T-shirt is the easiest way to provide this classification, but Craft Brewing Business pointed out that name tags are an obvious solution that's easy to overlook. Even better, a Secret Hopper study found that when staff introduce themselves, a guest tips 15.5 percent higher. A name tag doesn't exactly cut out the need for an introduction, but it provides some personality.
The article also suggested that breweries should consider having managers wear different clothing than regular staff if the number of staff members lends itself to it.
3. Employee Satisfaction
Of course, breweries want their employees to want to come to work and want to wear their uniform. Thankfully, the right brewery apparel can help with that. For starters, we already know the value of limited-edition and exclusive apparel, so it makes sense that employees would enjoy exclusive apparel, as well. Rhinegeist Brewery releases a yearly catalog of Rhinegeist branded apparel that is only available to employees. It includes flannel shirts, Carhartt outerwear, button-downs and even Patagonia items. Each employee gets a $100 stipend to spend on the apparel. It's a great way to get employees excited to wear the brewery items, and it still promotes a casual look.
“I’d like if employees wore our branded merchandise when they work, but I also feel it’s important to not force them to do so and let them feel comfortable and be able to express themselves," said Jon Colasurd, general manager at Rhinegeist, to Craft Brewing Business.
Another brewery, Exhibit 'A' Brewing Co., pays to have staff members' existing clothing printed or embroided with the brewery's logo on it. This is a great way to let employees have some control in their apparel choices, but it also creates some uniformity with the brewery logo.
Above all, if you're working with a brewery on their employee apparel, it's important that you know what message the brewery is trying to convey. This can shift from brewery to brewery, and the more successful uniform promotions will have a clear-cut vision that seamlessly blends into the brewery's identity.