Bar Activations 101: A Dummy’s Guide To Being A Beer Promoter

Courtesy of Lynda Chalker. Image from

If you’ve read this story on working as a beer promoter, you’ve probably realized that being one comes with occupational hazards just like any other job. That story is just one of the stories. A lot more happens on the scene and people have different experiences. Since graduates normally take up promotion jobs before venturing into other interests, I thought they could benefit from an overview of this side hustle.

The following is just but a guide to enlighten you on some of the risks you are likely to encounter while you work as a beer promoter.

The good

  • Ask questions during the interview. Some include the type of uniform the brand uses, the places the agency markets their brands, how much you will be paid and when you should expect the salary.
  • Experiential marketing is the best arena to learn common sense, some major marketing and social skills. Amass them.
  • You are your networks. These are the people who will boost your sales. Maintain rapport and keep your relations professional.
  • Mingle with as many people as you can. You can meet with CEOs, Managers, Influencers, Djs, makeup artists, big time and micro-celebrities. Good thing is that you share two goals already. The venue and the need to have a good time. Since people have their guards down establish relationships and foster lasting networks.
  • Be your sisters’ keeper and maintain relationships. These are the closest people you have to best friends. You never know when you need saving from a pervert or someone who thinks you deserve to be sexually harassed for working late into the night
  • Have fun.

The bad

  • Being swindled

Be aware of agencies/middlemen who will never pay you or will change the amount (wage) you agreed upon after your working hours are over. Sometimes it happens and you cannot do anything since there’s usually no contract involved. In addition, your terms of payment are basically based on a verbal agreement between you and your team leader. Therefore do your research, make friends and ask for advice.

Courtesy of Lynda Chalker. Image from
  • How much do you mind showing skin?

More skin more sales. If you don’t ascribe to this mantra, ask the supervisor about the type of uniform the brand uses. This is also helpful so that you can carry or wear warm clothes. You can catch a major cold or illnesses from working through the night in light attire (Did I just use my mother’s voice?).

  • You are walking on a thin line

To be honest as a young unemployed girl with a million and one needs and wants, the wage a beer promoter gets might not sustain you. Therefore, learn the art of trade and use your wits to facilitate your needs. By wits, I do not mean exchange sexual favours for tips. What I mean is that sometimes the people you meet are ready to have a chat and a drink with you. You don’t have to gobble down all your drinks. Make friends with bartenders and trade what you don’t need with what you need (cash). You might have to part with a tiny percentage of that cash but it will be worth it. That is how you will get the money to facilitate your transport and other basic needs when you are called upon for the next gig. I mean you don’t want to say that you do not have the means to get somewhere when a line of other ladies are waiting to be called for the same gig.

  • You are your own bodyguard

Know that weirdos exist and it is not one time that a promoter, male/female has been drugged only to find themselves with nothing on (no wallet, shoes or money) but the clothes they had worn.

Therefore, know that when you’re going back to your place it is between you and your God on that road. No agency will cover safety expenses, like taxis and other expenses. It is up to you to always have cab fare when you can’t risk using public means.

  • Your smile will cost you
Courtesy of Lynda Chalker.

You are in the service industry and smiling is your key to success. Even though sometimes your smile will not reach your eyes, Your face muscles will hurt nonetheless.

  • You will become a mobile number distributor

On top of marketing, you will also have to become a number distributor to get some people off your back. Get ready for hotline blings and it will only mean one thing. It is very rare that you will find love in a hopeless place (This might be relative though).

  • Competition is high.

Just like in a modelling agency you might encounter some type of jealousy and malice. Don’t take it too seriously remember everyone is just trying to survive.

  • Sometimes you will have to play cat and mouse games with bartenders since you are working and interfering with sales in their territories.
  • You will also learn how to wait tables and be a cashier. Be cautious not to let anyone pull a fast one on you, because you will be the one to pay the bills.

The ugly

  • Social issues

You will tolerate sexist comments, sometimes sexual harassment, discrimination and body shaming. Add bullying and offers that will shock you senseless. Read more on working as a beer promoter can be a hazardous job.

Since competition and high power struggles are a thing there’s also an insatiable hunger for attention. In this context, you can only choose to tame or feed your beast.

  • Sponsors are at your disposal.

If that doesn’t float your boat just know you will still be mistaken for a floozy looking for a man to save the night and most importantly pay her bills. I mean how else should you justify working in a bar till late into the night?

  • You leave work late in the night

Or is it morning? Sometimes the next day finds you at your designated place of work. In this case, what you need to worry about is how to get to your place/home especially when your working hours end at 3 or 4.a.m.  Simply, mind your safety.

  • Avoid entering into people’s cars.

It’s all fun when you guys are getting to know each other and flirting. Until after that quiet and awkward silence when you realise you didn’t think your actions through. You are currently at the mercies of a stranger and beg the heavens that he is not a serial killer because that’s how you ended up meeting your maker. (Cue evil laugh: Muaahahaha).

Seriously though, be cautious. Someone might give you a ride all in good faith but it doesn’t guarantee that they will take you to your destination.

  • Serving a sentence is possible (No pun intended)

This might happen once in a blue moon -again, no pun intended – if NACADA finds you at the wrong place at the right time, and vice versa. Well basically – and this is what they said to us – “You are promoting drugs.”  Whatever we thought alcohol was, on that fateful day we were learnt it is a drug and not bitter juice.

  • My advice to you

You might envision yourself as one of the important people buying the drinks instead of promoting; however, if you believe that you are more than what people might think of you or view you, you are one step closer to crossing a milestone. Therefore instead of wallowing in self-pity, get out of your box and build your social skills. See life from different angles and make your 8 hours or less, fun. Strive to make the best of that opportunity and be happy.

Check out how to start a side hustle


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I am a writer with interest in hair, beauty and fashion. I also like telling stories, but most of all I enjoy listening and reading them. If I'm not doing any of the above, I will be trying to crack a game of chess or monopoly. My biggest fear is being ordinary.