THE DISTILLERY AS A VENUE INVITING SPACE INVADERS FOR FUN & PROFIT
s much as a distillery is a manufacturing facility, in the modern spirits industry it often serves additional functions as a tour path, visitors center, bar, and possibly event venue. The advantages of the additional revenue streams paired with heightened guest exposure from those hospitality operations seems self-evident, but there are always special considerations when outside visitors are involved. The unique case of “distillery as event venue” has potentially the most monetary value through venue rental fee, bar sales, gift shop sales and additional income sources — plus large events usually equal large numbers of guests. Also, hosting your own events is an opportunity for ticket sales and earned media exposure on top of the other values. Unlike guided tours and controlled visitor center programs, events can become free-form with guests taking liberties in your space, so a different approach to security and safety is required. Events may also require additional legal and administrative considerations, even above visitors programs or bar operations.
EVENT BASICS We’ll all been to, and probably all put on, some form of event. But there is a correct vocabulary in professional event management that is valuable to know and understand.
EVENT TYPES Functionally, there are two types of event by host and two types of event by invitation. If you are hosting an event in your space — say, a new product launch party or a concert — the event is venue-hosted or possibly a “special event.” If your venue
is being rented by an individual or organization that is hosting the event, that is a “client-hosted event.” An event which is open to the public, either with or without a ticket requirement, is a “public event.” An event with an invite-only guest list, like a wedding or certain charity functions, is a “private event.” So all events will be some combination of venue- or client-hosted; public or private; plus for-profit, fundraiser/charitable, or just a party (non-financially motivated). While these designations may seem obvious, there are substantial operational and legal differences among them.
THE PLAYERS As is implied above, the host of an event is the person or entity who wants the event to happen. This could be you, someone throwing a birthday party, a corporation having an executive retreat, a charity running a fundraiser, etc. The host wants his or her vision of the event to be realized and wants the guests to have a good time. Not to be confused with the host is the event planner. Sometimes these are one and the same, but they may also be separate. You might hire an event planner, so might the individual, corporation, or non-profit organization. From the perspective of an event planner, the host is their client. Many corporations have event-planning departments. An event planner’s job and desire is to execute the event to their client’s satisfaction. In order to pull off an event, many vendors may be involved. A vendor is any individual or organization that is providing services or products for the event. These usually include caterer, rental company,
WRITTEN BY TIM KNITTEL
entertainment, valet, or crew. Vendors may be hired by the host, planner, or venue. Volunteers are a special class of vendor who are working for the event for free or maybe some non-monetary exchange. (It’s amazing what people will do for a T-shirt.) And just for completeness, the venue is another special class of vendor which is both the manager of and the facility itself where the event takes place. Vendors want to execute their service easily (and profitably) and get positive feedback from their client and the attendees. Events cost money and so they are often subsidised by sponsors, who make donations — either direct cash, product, or other in-kind — in exchange for some value which usually comes in the form of recognition (re: marketing). The folks that attend an event, obviously, are attendees or guests. While the above definitions may seem self-evident, correctly understanding the roles, relationships, functions and values of each of the players in an event is core to correct development and execution.
A VENUE SPACE, PLANNED AND MANAGED So an event is created by the host, managed by the planner, executed by the vendors, supported by the sponsors (and maybe ticket sales) and experienced by the attendees at the Venue.
A BRIEF WORD ABOUT THE RULES Being a guest-ready venue requires more preparation than operating a visitor tour program. In many areas, there is a distinct legal difference between those two and there may be different requirements for licensing, fire
WWW.ART ISANSPI RI TMAG.CO M
The magazine for craft distillers and their fans.