“Pub Crawl” Huge SuccessPosted: April 16, 2009
Many college students frequent downtown Athens, at times running up bar tabs on beers and mixed drinks.
For the entrepreneurial minded Pi Sigma Epsilon, this segment of consumers was an untapped source of revenue waiting to be exploited in an effort to raise money.
The business fraternity conjured up “Pub Crawl,” an event for college students to get drinks cheap at participating bars.
“People always talk about jumping around from place to place,” said Thomas Barrett, a member of the frat. “So we knew if we could get a few bars on board to support the cause, it would be a good way to raise some money.”
The frat chose April 8-9, a Wednesday and Thursday night, to hold the “Crawl,” sold the idea to 10 bars and printed up t-shirts, which sold for $12 apiece. Anyone wearing the shirt on the intended nights received drinks at discounted prices.
Popular bars including J.R.’s, Sideways and Flanagan’s headlined the participating bars, lending credibility and popularity.
“We really wanted to get well known places on the list, just to add to the positive vibe,” Barrett said. “Once the ball got rolling, there wasn’t much that could stop it. Sideways and Flanagan’s joining was a huge boost.”
The proceeds were donated to Relay for Life, a charity group made famous by former President Jimmy Carter who builds homes for families in unfortunate circumstances.
“Relay for Life reflects leadership with members of a given community helping those down on their luck,” Barrett said. “They go out, help people overcome trials and tribulations to get back on their feet. That’s why we chose to donate the money to their organization.”
The frat was hoping to sell 400 shirts. The end result exceeded the projection, as 700 shirts were sold, at $5 profit per shirt. Also ad space was sold on the shirt, adding to the total.
Members of the frat fanned out across Athens, selling shirts to friends, and also to students with a table set up in Tate Plaza. The bars helped out as well, selling shirts in the week leading up to the two night frenzy.
“We we’re extremely pleased with the turnout,” Barrett said. “It really helped out the frat and the cause. We had tremendous feedback.”
For those who bought shirts and participated, it was another night of fun in Athens, with added benefits.
“There was a big group of us who went together, and we had a big time,” said Carmalita Haney, who went out Wednesday. “Most of the bars were packed, and we made the most of the night.”
The bars, which were paid $300 to offer the deals, held the distinction of what drinks to offer at reduced prices. The strategy paid off.
“Having different drink specials at each bar kept everything interesting,” said Taylor Baker, visiting from Chapel Hill, NC. “We went to all 10 bars and each time we walked into a new bar we were kind of anticipating what drink we could get. We didn’t get bored, I’ll say that.”
The bars were happy to help the cause, but Jonathan Messer, a bartender at 8e’s bar, indicated the profit worked two ways.
“We did lose some money with the drinks we offered as specials,” he said, speaking of a sweet tea vodka for $2 and $1.50 well liquor. “But, we had a bigger crowd, and some people with the shirts on still bought other drinks at full price, so the bar still got its share.”
For some party goers like Chris Taylor, contributing to a good cause was justification for large spending.
“I’m glad the money went to charity, because counting the shirt I spent $88 dollars, which for me is a major loss,” he said.
Despite the loss of cash, the night was a success for all involved.
“We didn’t have any reports of any fights, or incidents,” Barrett said. “Everything went perfect. It was a smooth night and everybody had a great time.”
Added Taylor: “It’s drinking in Athens, with the charity aspect giving the green light. I got to drink, be with friends and help out a charity. What more could I have done on a Wednesday night?”
The event received great feedback, Thomas said, and the fraternity hopes to make “Pub Crawl” an annual event.
“It was such a hit, we have to do at least once a year,” Barrett said. “I’d like to hopefully do it more than once a year in the future.”