The week of the 2011 Big Ten Championship football game was a big one at Kahn’s Downtown, as college-level light beer tolerance and extensive tailgating drove sales to near store-record highs. Game day itself was quite a spectacle, with increasingly jolly groups of sports fans returning two and three times to top off. Empty boxes stacking up. Lines at both registers, all day. That kind of thing. By the time the dust settled, more customers than ever before had walked through our doors: 450. Wow! What amazing traffic!
The above is an example of something I’ll call “Pre-Super Bowl Perspective.” It’s where you think you’ve seen a) crowds b) eye-dropping alcohol consumption c) a certain level of crazy d) anything at all. But you haven’t, really. On the Thursday before the big game, a cool 617 folks made purchases here (“cool” is not an insignificant word, here. It connotes the attitude one must take when the former redline becomes the new warm-up). It was going to be a ridiculous weekend.
The Bud Light Marketing Committee did Kahn's a favor by setting the price for Bud Light aluminum bottles at $7 Ludicrous! We could have easily charged $7, but $3 was a fair price for America's most popular light macrobrew. We figued that if we charged fair prices, then revelers would find their way into Kahn's downtown again and again.
Well, it worked. We were slammed, inundated, engulfed, etc. The revelers began streaming in just past noon and only stopped after we literally shut the door in their faces. Speaking of faces, new ones became regulars in the course of an afternoon (though I spent most of my time recognizing these through the doors of the beer cooler, which I stocked relentlessly, and not fast enough). Discarded cardboard filled every available nook, a one-in-for-every-one-out line had to be marshaled at the front door, a mountain of bottles had to be swept from the entryway, and in the end we found ourselves entirely out of everything Bud-Miller-Coors.
There’d been 1500 customers in one day, and that number does not account for the many groups of 3 and 5 and even more who threw in together. It all seemed a bit post-apocalyptic, late Friday night. But following a few emergency beer orders we came back Saturday and did it all again. Needless to say, there has never been anything like it and probably never will be. At least until Indianapolis gets on the regular rotation for the Super Bowl (I’d vote for it!).
Oh yeah, and those $3 Bud Lights. We ordered an absurd quantity and sold it all. Over 130 15-bottle cases in two days, which if you do the math adds up to a fairly rousing success for both Kahn’s and Anheuser-Busch.
I heard the Village did all right too, considering.