Indiana on Tap Managing Editor, Adam Schick lays out IOT’s mission and the encouraging growth of the craft beer community in the Hoosier State.
[dropcap]I[/dropcap]ndiana On Tap lives by one motto: “Because a smarter craft beer drinker is a better craft beer drinker…”
That’s been our goal since day one, when we were just an idea born out of Launch Fishers in the basement of the Fishers Public Library in fall of 2013. What exactly does a “smarter craft beer drinker” mean though, and how were we going to get there?
Originally our goal was to be a media company, one that tried to cover the craft beer industry from all angles but still with the voice of craft beer enthusiasts, not experts. We began to reach out to people talking about Indiana beer on social media like Twitter and Facebook. Our small team grew from a core group of four owners to a team of 10 people around central and southern Indiana covering the state’s best festivals and getting behind the scenes of the industry.
There were bumps and bruises for a while, trying to design our content around what was needed most. There were already people talking about Indiana craft beer, people who had been doing a great job of it for a long time already, so finding an area of the industry that wasn’t being talked about yet was the biggest challenge.
To find that niche, we decided to cast the widest net possible. We’d send as many people to as many events around the state to talk about as many breweries as we could. We’d talk about everything from beer reviews, to festival writeups, to homebrewing products, to industry trends. We’d try to do it all, and by the beginning of 2015, our Writing and Reporting Community had grown to around 25 members around the state talking about anything and everything related to Indiana craft beer.
By January 2015, as our audience continued to grow, we put in plans to take Indiana On Tap to the next step, and the Tasting Society Marketplace was born. For those that don’t know, the Tasting Society is Indiana’s first and only craft beer membership rewards program. For less than $50, Marketplace members get over $600 in gift certificates to craft breweries and brewpubs around the state. If the member takes a photo at the brewery with their Tasting Society ID card, it gets counted towards their total checkins. After a certain amount of visits, members get rewarded with added perks and bonuses from Indiana On Tap and the breweries themselves.
The goal of the Marketplace was never to make money for us; instead, we wanted to incentivize people to finally visit that great craft brewery across the town, county, or even the state. We wanted people from Bloomington to base a trip to South Bend around the great breweries there, and vice versa. We wanted to introduce as many people to as many of Indiana’s breweries as possible, and that’s just how it has been playing out. Do yourself a favor and check the #TastingSocietyMarketplace hashtag and see how engaged our members are every day. And that community grows every day.
Among other things, we’ve added an Indiana On Tap bus to our fleet, allowing us to travel the state more freely and introduce more folks to more breweries. We’ve kicked off our semi-monthly Tasting Society tasting events, small, informal gatherings of like-minded people who love to get together and taste great beer. And we have put in motion plans to launch Indiana’s official Craft Beer Week, bringing together in April Indiana’s breweries in one unified effort to cheers toward everything that makes them great.
There’s a lot more room to grow for Indiana On Tap, as there is for the Indiana beer industry in general. We just aim to be there right beside it, informing the Indiana craft beer drinker as much as possible, because, after all, a smarter craft beer drinker is a better craft beer drinker.
[author title=”About Adam Schick” image=”https://www.indianaontap.com/uploads/2/3/9/9/23999973/1805165.png?136″]Adam Schick is the Managing Editor at Indiana on Tap. Besides being a fun guy and an avid beer drinker, he once talked Donovan Wheeler into walking out of Oktoberfest with a large glass stein…something he has yet to use.[/author]