Float Hybrid And Building A Better Bridge Between Music And Beer

There is little worse at a concert or music festival event that the realization one has to leave their seat or standing area — and venture forth to go buy a beer. Between the walk, the lines, the wait and the return, buying a cold one means a good chance that concert goers must accept the risk that they will miss some of the rock as it happens.

But Float Hybrid thinks it can help fix that experience — and keep the good times rolling (and rocking). The San Francisco–based firm trades on its ability to help its brand partners “navigate the future of emerging technologies and the digital experience” and then help those brands “design and develop interactive branded experiences for the new digital world.”

If it sounds hard, that’s because it is, and Float Hybrid works with a diverse lineup of brands — McDonald’s, GE, Pepsi, Paramount, Luxotica, Microsoft, Unilever — the list goes on, and the demands are always different.

And for the Free Press Summer Festival in Houstonthe branded digital experience they needed was, well, beer. Mobile beer ordering, specifically.

The concept behind the service is simple. Built directly into the concert app itself, the capacity allows fans over age 21 to order and pay ahead for the brew. Once the order is in, the customer is pointed to various refreshment tents around the festival grounds where they can pick their beer up. Once at the tent, the concert goer flashes their phone, grabs a beer and goes back to their seat. The customer is served fast, the service staff doesn’t have to wait for them to count through all the cash in their wallet or swipe a card, and the line is shorter for everyone else.

It is, notably, not quite the grab-and-go that other food pickups are, because the app sells alcohol, so users do have to show some ID before they away with their libations.

“This truly is the win-win experience for everyone at the event,” a Float Hybrid spokesperson told us.

The service in the field so far has worked well — and looks to be an area into which the firm will expand. Transactions times fell for those using the app at the festival — all the way to 1.5 minutes. The approval rating for the service was also extremely high — those who were surveyed as having used the beer order-head app reported 100 percent satisfaction with the experience. And the app’s usage for order drink-ahead is clearly on the incline. The festival’s order-ahead beer app last year got some use — this year use went up 18 percent, and approximately 75 percent of concert attendees in Houston used it.

So is this the future of drinking at a concert?

Float Hybrid didn’t have predictions but did note that experience has been greatly improved, and consumers generally gravitate toward a good experience.

“We are hyperfocused on the fan experience,” said Keith Bendes, VP of marketing and strategic partnerships at Float Hybrid, who led the creative design of the feature. “By offering fans a way to purchase drinks directly from their mobile device, we can shorten the wait times and allow fans to maximize their time in front of the stage.”