We Threw a Beer Instameet… Here’s How It Went
Minnesota has a thriving craft beer scene.
With some 150 craft breweries from top to bottom of the state — and more popping up faster than anyone can keep up with it seems — Minnesota’s a happening place for craft beer enthusiasts. At last count, we’re only about a third of the way to our goal of visiting every brewery/microbrewery/taproom in MN.
As we’ve been blogging our way through the Great North’s craft beer scene, we’ve discovered an equally thriving online community. From other craft beer bloggers like us to casual sippers, licensed brewers to homebrewers, it’s evident that there’s an extensive and yet tightly knit local community of craft enthusiasts. We’ve interacted with many of these people online — liking photos, swapping comments, DM-ing conversations about favorite beers or breweries. But our motivation as Ale Adventures has always been the relationships, so about a month ago, the inevitable happened — we decided we wanted to meet these people.
Back when Adam lived in Oklahoma, he discovered a group of fellow photographers and models who would meet up once or twice a month, shoot together and usually get food or drinks afterwards. They called these events “Instameets,” probably because the meet-ups usually consisted of people who most commonly met and interacted over Instagram. The meet-ups were a great opportunity to meet people who had something in common and have fun over a shared interest.
“Why can’t we host an Instameet for craft beer bloggers, social media influencers and enthusiasts around Minnesota?” Adam wondered. We didn’t know anyone else hosting events — at least by the name Instameet — so we decided to host one ourselves.
Our first step was securing a location.
We wanted to choose a brewery that would have some draw and so chose one in Minneapolis called Utepils with lots of space, a warm atmosphere and great beer. We also happened to have a contact which didn’t hurt as he managed to secure us some space and discounted drinks.
Our second step was to invite and promote.
With this being our first Instameet, we decided to host it by invite-only, specifically targeting individuals who had a strong social media presence or online following. Our hope was that these individuals would be able to add further promotion and clout to our event and building interest in future Instameets. In retrospect, the limited invitees was probably disadvantageous. We invited about 35 people one month in advance, garnering positive responses and verbal commitments from many of them. Even if only half attended, we figured, but they brought a significant other or plus one, we could still have as many as 50. We would have been thrilled with that turnout. As it turned out, only six showed up.
The day of the Instameet, we arrived armed with markers and stick-on name tags.
Something Adam had appreciated about previous Instameets was that people wore name tags with both their Instagram handle and first name. As many people recognized the Instagram handle but didn’t know the name of the person behind it, so the name tags made perfect sense.
As far as the actual Instameet went, it really did go well.
Our goal was to meet people, and we did. Maybe only a few, but we met some pretty cool people. From fellow beer bloggers to a lifestyle blogger, a female fly fisher and a couple photographers, we had a pretty varied group of individuals, careers and hobbies. But we did all share one tasty thing in common — great Minnesota craft beer.
The response from those who made it to our Instameet was positive, and they encouraged us to host another one soon.
We also received quite a bit of belated response from people who didn’t make it for various reasons but expressed interest in attending a meet in the future.
Overall, we’re really thrilled with our first Instameet. It was definitely a learning experience, and we’d probably do some things differently if we hosted again. But it was also rewarding to organize an event, see people with a commonality come out, meet cool people and enjoy great craft beer together.
Have you ever hosted an Instameet or similar event? What did you do different? What made your event successful?