How to Get People to Happily Pay $125 for 5 Beers

The other weekend, I attended Dark Lord Day at Thee Floyd’s brewery. This event is considered one of the High Holidays for beer enthusiasts. It’s the only day all year you can buy Dark Lord Russian Imperial Stout in bottles. Tickets sell out in a matter of minutes and thousands descend on a small brewery in Munster, IN. This is our story.

The Economics

You need a ticket to get in ($15). Then you wait in line – sometimes for hours to purchase your allotted 4-pack of Dark Lord ($60). And if you’re one of the lucky ones, your scratch-off ticket will give you the opportunity to buy a single bottle of an even rarer version of Dark Lord ($50).

Grand total $125 – not counting any other beers or smoked meats you might buy while you’re there.

Let me reiterate that – $125 for 5 bottles of beer. How can Three Floyd’s get away with this? Why do people put up with the long lines and steep price tag? Easy – people love Three Floyd’s and are willing to invest the time and money to get their hands on such a prized possession as Dark Lord. They don’t look at the experience as being “put out” or “fleeced”. Instead they see it as an opportunity to be part of a select group of people that are very luck to receive what they’ve been given.

Most brands would kill for this kind of devotion.

The People

So who are these people who are willing to make such a commitment? Well, for one – me. And I’ve done it twice now and have no plans of stopping in the future. I don’t think I’d consider myself to be a disciple of Floyd, but I’m sure others would argue. Here’s what the initiated know:

Three Floyd’s has a cult-like following and has been considered one of the best breweries in the country for the last five years or so. They don’t typically use crazy ingredients or unusual brewing techniques. They just pump out typical styles that have untypical quality. Secondly they control the flow. By building up such a strong reputation then limiting distribution, this small brewery that lives in an industrial park in Munster, IN, has becoming one of the nation’s most popular, highly demanded breweries .

The Insight

Love is better than like.

People who just like your brand are just customers. They can be loyal, but not really going to go out of their way for you. But people who love your brand will go through every level of Hell to get their hands on what you’re selling. The thing is, how do you make people love you?

For Three Floyd’s it comes down to intimately knowing their customer base and giving them exactly what they want from a brewery: Exclusivity. Reputation. Quality. Rarity.

Beer fanatics go ape for this combo. And while that combo might not be your silver bullet, there’s a combo out there that will work for you. So how do you find it? Listen to your fanatics. Your biggest fans will also be your harshest critics. What you can learn from them can help you convert all your “likers” into “lovers”. And while the people who love you are less than those that like you, your love bugs will be the ones that spend the most with you – time, money and effort. They are not people you should ignore, cause if you lose that bond with them, the rest will soon follow.

Love is a two way street, so show some to get some. And to wrap this up, here are two solid quotes that you should keep in mind are you’re building relationships with your customers:

“If you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with”

-Billy Preston

“In the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make”

-The Beatles


(Photo via helpermonkeybrews)

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One Response to “How to Get People to Happily Pay $125 for 5 Beers”

  1. Rod Rakic
    May 8, 2012 at 6:59 pm #

    I love this.

    Every business that struggles to compete on price should read this. Good stuff.