Earlier this year, Canada’s Grain&Grit Beer Co. responded to community trends and customer feedback (both in-person and online) by launching its Dog Day Bash. Knowing that its patrons loved to bring their dogs on-site and interact with other pet owners and pups, the Hamilton-based craft brewery organized a festival-type experience that catered to this niche market. Looking to fill a gap in the marketplace, attract a wider audience of dog-loving people, and strengthen its reputation as a dog-friendly venue, Grain&Grit reached out to specialist businesses in the area to take part in the festivities and build future working relationships. Defined as an event for dog and beer lovers to not only gather and connect with each other but also local business owners, the bash was the first of its kind to take place in the city.

In addition to having fur babies as the primary focus, Grain&Grit also prioritizes creating strategic partnerships and giving back to the community. During its Dog Day Bash, along with hosting a handful of local vendors, the brewery launched a collaboration beer with Loyal Canine Co. and partnered with Ladybird Animal Sanctuary to donate a portion of the proceeds from the event to the local charity.

With a shared passion for dogs, beer, and community, Grain&Grit and Loyal Canine continued their working relationship by co-creating the Dog Day Sour IPA. Since the owner of the company also runs a marketing agency, Bellwether X, the team documented the process of making Dog Day Sour IPA and Dog Day Bash, from start to finish. In exchange for providing images and video content to use to promote the beer and the event, the brewery generated awareness of both brands with every post on social media.

“The idea for Dog Day Bash emerged from getting to know our target market better over the two years that [Grain&Grit Beer Co.] has been in business and learning just how important dogs [were] to our audience. We noticed that every time we posted on social media about dogs, we had some of our highest engagement,” explained brewery owner, Lindsay Mrav.

“Because of that, we decided to do a weekly Dog Day. Every Wednesday, we offer a 10% discount on 12oz draught to dog owners who bring their pups to the brewery. Our audience loved this, so we decided to take it one step further and create Dog Day Bash.”

With an established following, Grain&Grit relied heavily on Instagram and Facebook to spread the word about Dog Day Bash. Using ads, posts, and stories, the brewery naturally connected with its online audience. Plus, leading up to the event, the team sent an e-newsletter to its 1,000+ subscribers and promoted on-site via signage. Overall, Grain&Grit spent a minimal amount of money on an Instagram ad and printing.

“We also held an Instagram contest, where we asked participants to take a photo of their dog with Grain&Grit beer, post it, and tag it with #ggdogdays. The prize included goodies from our Dog Day Bash vendors, so they all shared the contest and event to their audiences as well, which helped us gain more exposure for the event,” Mrav added.

The Impact

Goal achieved: The brewery connected with more community members who are pet owners and gained new followers and customers.

Throughout the entire day, the brewery experienced a full house with some people waiting in line to get in.

From speaking to the attendees of the event, the brewery’s team learned that Dog Day Bash attracted several first-time customers, many of whom expressed interest in returning to the brewery with their dogs.

The collaboration beer was well-received and Grain&Grit sold more cans of the beer at the event than expected.

Grain&Grit experienced an overwhelming increase in social media engagement on the day of the event. Followers engaged with the brewery’s content via DMs and comments.

In the week following the Dog Day Bash, Grain&Grit gained 150+ new followers, which is more than its weekly average.