by Kelsey Nash
When reconcepting a watering hole a few years ago, the team behind Brew Exchange wanted to create a space that pushed customers out of their beer comfort zones.
And so their stock exchange-themed bar was born, spurring guests to “buy low, drink up,” trying new varieties as they go. As customers order more of a particular beer within a category—IPAs, for example—its price goes up to reflect the demand.
Prices fluctuations are displayed on a Wall Street-style ticker that runs the perimeter of the bar area, as well as on flatscreen TVs throughout the concept, says Nick Adams, managing partner at KPG Hospitality—the group that runs Brew Exchange, which is located on Austin’s infamous 6th Street.
“The [beer] that’s selling is going up in price and our algorithm within our POS and our ticker system is driving the prices of the other IPAs down,” explains Chris Horne, also a managing partner at KPG.
To maintain some control over costs, the team manually sets daily price ceilings and floors. They also took domestic brews out of the game, fearing customers would bristle at paying, say, $6 for a Miller Lite.
In addition to engaging guests, fluid pricing also helps keep inventory moving, giving sluggish brews a shot in the arm.
While a selection of wines is available, beer is Brew Exchange’s main pull, with 72 drafts and more than 120 varieties on offer. The bar is also gearing up to launch a line of beer cocktails this fall, Horne says.
To boost traffic during weekdays, the 3,500-square-foot concept has tested “Market Crash Tuesdays,” where it intermittently “crashes” the price of certain offerings to their all-time floor. Doubling down on the financial theme, staff ring an old school-style bell to announce the deal.
“People are always interested in it,” Adams says of the stock market aspect, adding that the bar particularly draws a lot of interest from out-of-towners.