aTis The Season For Holiday Promotions

The holiday season is most often about family and philanthropy, and to get in on the holiday cheer, bars and nightclubs are becoming more charitable. But what about the holidays brings about these charitable actions? People want to give back, says Sam McNulty, operator of Market Garden Brewery & Distillery among other bars in Cleveland.

Yet, it’s also about building up the community. Consumers appreciate brands that are conscientious of the community, he says, and the holidays bring to mind those less fortunate. “It really makes sense. The business aspect aside, it’s just a good promotion.”

The Local Chicago
The Local in Chicago

The goal is “for everyone to have a good time,” adding it’s also about giving "communal high fives" to people in the Cleveland community who want to help those in need, explains McNulty. Indeed, this is the eighth year for Market Garden Brewery & Distillery to team up with Toys for Tots for its annual holiday promotion. This year it was held Thursday, Dec. 5 and guests who donate a present receive a complimentary beer in exchange.

Meanwhile, The Local Chicago is introducing an inaugural charity mixology event that began this month with plans to last all year. David Flom, proprietor of The Local, is also reaching out to the Chicago community. Each month, a local, well-known mixologist will partner with the bar and restaurant to create a cocktail for The Local’s menu. A dollar from each drink will benefit the charity of the mixologist’s choosing.

The promotion is about “highlighting the best talent in the city and to give back,” he says. So far, it’s been successful. On the first night of the promotion on Dec. 1, 75 people came in to try the cocktail and donate to charity. With the cocktails priced at $13, Flom believes his clientele won’t hesitate to spend the amount if they know the extra dollar is going to a good cause.

In addition, Flom wants to highlight the community and local talent. “For years restaurants wouldn’t share customers,” but he’s trying to build those bridges with other restaurants.

McNulty agrees; hardly a week goes by that he’s not collaborating with other business owners in the Ohio City neighborhood of Cleveland. He believes “a rising tide lifts all ships," especially in the hospitality industry.

In fact, McNulty wants everyone to have a good time, which is why every year after the promotion, the team sits down for a post- analysis, taking notes about past practices and what to tweak. For example, the main thing they did for this year’s promotion is increase the shelf space to store toys and stock up on more beer for guests.

“Last year when we did it, we did have quite a few beers run out,” he says. “It was a good problem to have, but now this year we were prepared for it.”

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