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2018 Year in Review – Partner Revenue


Every tour that The Maine Brew Bus conducts generates serious revenue for many other small businesses in Maine. Today we will see how much money is distributed to our various partners as a result.

Note: This is the third post in a series looking back at our tour operations during 2018. Click here to read the first post about Guest Composition or the second post about Tour Information.

The concept for our company is based on is that our guests pay us for an all-inclusive tour. We then pay our partners directly for the experience that they provide to our guests.

With 673 different tours last year that visited two or three different producers – as well as supplying either a full lunch or a locally baked vegetarian hand pie snack during the tour, these numbers really add up.

Last year our total partner payments made was a total of $109,162. The majority of those were payments made to our partners for alcohol and tasting fees which totaled $77,950 last year.

Snacks baked by our partners Ten Ten Pié in Portland.

Supplying food to our guests is another large portion of our payments. Last year we spent $31,212 on lunch and snacks.

Of course, our guests are inspired to make additional purchases as a result of being brought to each location on our tours. We track and report those purchases made as our Tour Guides submit reports after each tour including what was purchased at each stop.

Each week our management team reviews these reports and a value for each purchase session is estimated. Data is compiled for time period and partner, and a breakdown is made of purchase categories.

Last year the total purchases made by our guests is estimated to be $62,942. The largest type of purchase is Alcohol Off Premise (64.6%), or cans, bottles, and growlers to go.

Merchandise (27.1%) made up the next largest type, followed by Alcohol On Premise (8.3%) which are extra samples while at each stop.

Guest Purchases for all our partners in each of the categories during 2018.

Because we know each location, we also can take the value of additional purchases and divide it by the number of guests for any period of time to determine the Spend per Guest (SPG) averages at each partner.

This helps us tell which partners are resonating well with our guests which can be accomplished through a combination of a great experience, tasty products, and a fair opportunity for our guests to make purchases. In a way, our guests are “voting” with their purchases.

The average Spend per Guest (SPG) for all partners was $3.61 last year. There are clearly differences in type of product that are related to higher price point per unit for distilleries and wineries.

For Breweries, the SPG was $2.96, Distilleries saw $5.86, Wineries were $8.75, and those spots with Multiple Fermentations it was $2.55.

We are very proud of the amount of revenue that we generate for our partners through our tour operations. When combining our payments with what our guests are purchasing, the economic impact is over $172,000 for last year alone.

Our partners are all start-up entrepreneurs who have generally walked away from real jobs in order to do what they do now. Those previous jobs often came with a nice paycheck, and the safety and security of benefits – like medical coverage, paid time off, and vacations.

During one of our Zymurgy Homebrew Tours, these owners and brewers for Fore River Brewing Company, Foulmouthed Brewing, and Lone Pine Brewing Company met for the first time ever in November 2015.

To be able to provide direct revenue to these companies and then watch them grow and expand their businesses is one of the best parts of what we do.

And of course, literally driving customers to the front doors of our partners and giving them an opportunity to amaze and delight our guests can often create fans of these Maine-based brands.

Next up in our series looking back at 2018: a look at how our guests reacted to our tours last year through public and private review methods.

Don Littlefield is the General Manager of Brew Bus Tours. In a previous career, he worked as an overnight data supervisor for UPS. He enjoyed a Midheaven from Grimm Artisanal Ales while preparing this post. Twitter @BeerinME