Editor’s Note: This content is meant to be read as an online extension of a supplement that appeared in the January/February issue. It is not meant as a standalone story.
Events and Charity
Another advantage a family shop like Peco’s enjoys over Big Box stores is the ability to better organize events. The logistical challenges are fewer, the corporate hurdles non-existent and the community more involved.
Peco’s hosts numerous events throughout the year. These range from regular tastings to large-scale festivals. They boost customer awareness while fundraising for Delaware charities. The Great Pumpkin Debate is one of Peco’s most popular events. Hundreds of customers descend upon a local park each year for a beer fest that allows guests to vote for the best pumpkin brew. Among the day’s festivities are live music, hayrides and barbecue.
The seed for this idea germinated five years ago from conversations among Peco’s staff. Employees would debate which fall beers best featured pumpkin. There was no consensus. The debates continued. This amused one customer so much that he emailed the store to comment on how he enjoyed the banter, and thought it hilarious that staff could not agree on a superior pumpkin beer.
In response, Peco’s organized an in-store tasting. The next year, the event brought in 150 people. In 2014, 500 people took part in The Great Pumpkin Debate. This year, attendance topped 650.
Peco’s also hosts an annual Derby Day Whiskey Festival for the Kentucky Derby. Under a tent in the parking lot, they set up a viewing party, with a big-screen TV, local barbecue, cigars and whiskey.
The store was also lucky enough last year to land a shipment of Pappy Van Winkle bourbon. Rather than sell this immensely popular, scarcely-allocated whiskey, Peco’s upped its Derby Day ticket price and included a half-ounce pour of Pappy. Two hundred people attended.
Events such as these — and Peco’s regular tastings and food-truck nights — increase customer awareness while bringing in additional business. They also benefit the community. Funds raised at these events have benefitted state organizations such as the Delaware Human Association and The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Chapter of Delaware.