By Doug Miller,
Columbia Life Magazine —
When Adam Carton, owner of Frisco Tap house and Brewery on Dobbin Road, asked Lynne D’Autrechy to animate his beer menus, her first thought was “we don’t get that request every day.”
“When we tapped a new beer, we had been unceremoniously updating our video displays,” explained Carton. “I thought it would be cool if we instead brought a little fanfare to the occasion.”
Once D’Autrechy, president of Buzzquake Marketing, understood the concept, she readily accepted the job. “I have to give Adam credit for a great idea. It was a fun project.”
Now, when one of 56 kegs run dry and is replaced with a new variety, the old name is removed via one of several animated scripts that include a bomb or hinged text. Similarly, when a new beer is added to the list, Scrabble-like tiles spelling out the name drop into place in a random order one at a time.
Frisco Tap House was the first establishment of its kind in East Columbia, but the addition of several new craft brew pubs in recent years, most notably Victoria Gastro Pub and The Ale House Columbia, has upped the competition. In a span of three miles beer aficionados have no less than five watering holes to choose from, each featuring an impressive assortment of draft and bottled beer.
“It’s the sincerest form of flattery,” said Carton with a wry grin.
Flattered or not, Carton intends to stay ahead of the competition.
“Our customers tend to be well-educated, technology-oriented folks,” said Carton. “We recognized that several years back when we first went with flat-screen monitors above the bar to display our ever-changing beer selection. Animating changes to the list was a natural progression that patrons seem to appreciate.”
On a recent Thursday evening, 43 people joined an impromptu, friendly competition to be first to identify a new beer as “Great Divide 18th Anniversary Ale.”
“It’s fun to stand in a crowded barroom as people try to guess the name,” said D’Autrechy, a computer scientist by training. “I get a sense of satisfaction from knowing I made that happen.”
“Lynne was good to work with; she brought my concepts to life,” said Carton.
Leveraging technology to foster a sense of community in a barroom exemplifies the subtle marketing that Carton believes is most effective. It seemed to work. An unscientific study of what people ordered shortly after the animation script ran revealed a lot of requests for Great Divide.
“This is just the first step. I have more ideas I plan to implement,” said Carton.