Beer. Lots of beer.
This prime frontage property – adjacent to “the loop” in Bridgeport, CT – is a microcosm of two national trends in media and consumer tastes.
Billboard execs John and Bruce Barrett, brothers who own Barrett Outdoor Communications in nearby West Haven, bought the building in Bridgeport in 2002. They put a billboard on the roof, visible from high-volume Interstate 95.
Built in the late Forties, this site was a distribution center for newspapers printed in New Haven, Waterbury, Hartford, New York, and Boston. Twice a day, newspapers were folded, bundled, and shipped for home delivery.
Now a 12,500-square foot brewpub called Brewport occupies this space, offering craft beer, pizza, and salads. Menus are displayed in vintage newspaper vending machines.
Trend No. 1: Out of home media (billboards and other formats) will overtake newspaper ad spend in 2019, according to media forecaster MAGNA.
Trend No. 2: Craft beers are hot.
“One craft beer trend is certain for 2017: it’s boom time,” said industry publication Beverage Dynamics.
Billboards teased the opening of Brewport in June 2016, and continue to promote the pub.
“While driving into the office today up 95 through Bridgeport I noticed a digital billboard that simply said Coming Soon… BREWPORT. Pizza and Beer. The two things that will spark the revitalization of Bridgeport. We’ve been waiting YEARS for Bridgeport to turn things around and that time is finally almost here in the form of delicious slices and cold pints,” Kevin Begley posted on website CTBoom on May 10, 2016.
Elected officials applaud the job creation.
US Senator Richard Blumenthal, D-CT, helps make pizza
Brewport has 24 taps and 20 more beers in bottles, says master brewer and partner Jeff Browning.
“All beer drinkers are polygamists,” says Browning. “We want people to come in, have a few of our beers, and then try something else.”
One of Brewport’s craft beers is called “Old News” (8 percent alcohol), a tribute to the newspaper heritage of the former print distribution center.
“News of the day would be shuffled through our doors and Old News drinks to that heritage. We brewed this double using old-school hops and traditional American malt for an in-your-face flavor and intense hop character,” says Brewport’s website.
The Barrett brothers are not the first to cross-promote via billboards.
Since the summer of 2016, an iconic rooftop billboard near an approach to Manhattan has advertised iHeart Radio. The 8,000+ square foot billboard is operated by iHeartMedia unit Clear Channel Outdoor Americas.
Atop the old Ruppert Ice House on the New York skyline
In St. Louis, a company called DDI Media is part of the enterprise that owns Drury Hotels. A Trip Advisor contributor posted this online review:
“After seeing the billboards for this hotel (Drury Inn & Suites, Valdosta), I called the Drury reservations line before we actually got to the hotel . . . the kind gentleman quoted us the best rate . . .”
The first Drury hotel opened in Skieston, MO, in 1973, rooms were $10.88 and up.