Free drinks are a magical marketing elixir used throughout time to lure cheap, thirsty patrons into all kinds of preferred behaviors. What would you do for a Klondike Bar has nothing on what would you do for a gratis pint of your favorite fermented beverage. While the actual value of said free beer may merely be a few bucks, the very concept of somebody buying you a drink has infinite intangible value. For instance, that guy at the end of the bar who just bought everybody a round could be elected President. Half of the patrons just promised to name their next baby after him.
It should come as no surprise that efforts ongoing to get people vaccinated against Covid are now employing the free beer hook. Especially so since many pollsters have identified young to middle-aged men in the “beer-drinking demographic” as one of the harder groups to infiltrate with widespread voluntary vaccination. You could host a million more Jimmy Kimmel and Jennifer Lopez celebrity vaccination concerts and never move a soul in this group. But free beer? Now the gears are clicking.
We reported a couple of weeks ago on Budweiser offering a coupon for a free Bud at a bar for the first 10,000 vaccine selfies submitted by fans. Last week, the state of New Jersey cooked up a deal with a couple of dozen bars in the state to offer a free drink to vaccine recipients with their proper QR code. And now a brewery in Buffalo is taking the matter intensely locally, and upping the ante, with a Shot and a Chaser to everybody receiving their first vaccine shot right there in the bar.
Erie County, New York officials tested out a program with Resurgence Brewing Company in Buffalo to offer walk-ins a free pint of beer and a cocktail or shot of their choice for taking the jab. “Shot and a Chaser” — get it? Before we bother to get into bar jokes and medicine, understand that this one pub alone dramatically outpaced every single other Covid vaccine walk-up clinic in Erie County in the very first few hours it was opened. Not only are they jabbing people coming in for the free beer offer, but they’re also sticking people merely coming in for lunch with a little peer pressure.
County Health officials are now rolling out this program to multiple more beer-serving establishments because, well, because it works. Lines out the door have been reported at establishments offering free booze. As you might expect, largely 20-30 something males seeking to barter their left arm in exchange for the ten bucks worth of alcoholic beverages. Let us who are no longer in that demographic, not judge, because, you know we would have given up so much more for a Jack and free pint chaser.
As the nation’s Covid vaccination efforts switch now from managing appointments and lines for those who badly wanted the vaccine to the percentage of Americans hesitant or resistant to the vaccine, expect the promos and enticements to grow. What will they start offering up beyond free beer? I believe the hopeful answer for many is — even more free beer.
Sip strong, fellow beer lovers.