In 2014, Greg Boehm had just bought a new bar in New York City and was inches away from the finish line when he decided to delay the opening for one month and use December for a Christmas pop-up called Miracle.
“We did well enough. Doing a Christmas pop-up isn’t as easy as it sounds,” he says. Four years later, Boehm and his team have the Christmas cocktail pop-up down pat and more than 80 bars and restaurants worldwide participate. For a small franchising fee, Miracle gives restaurateurs the keys to Christmas cocktail pop-up paradise.
“We know exactly the ins and outs,” Boehm says. “We’ve seen the subtle differences of what makes Christmas pop-ups very, very successful or not successful at all. We’re so dialed into the details and, like many things, it’s all about the details.”
Among those details are custom-crafted beverage glasses and barware available on Boehm’s website retailer Cocktail Kingdom. The same high-quality barware available on Cocktail Kingdom (see Page 52 of our 2019 Buyer’s Guide for more) is only available to Miracle pop-up participants.
Exclusive swag access aside, Boehm says the real benefit to restaurateurs is the new and different crowd that the pop-up brings in.
“People are using it both to create excitement and to create more business—to bring in a different customer base than they otherwise would get,” he says. “Customers are people who even live nearby and never came to the restaurant until the Miracle pop-up. And now they’re regular customers.”
The pop-up creates a lot of hype. Participants gain access to photography that brings the brand to life on social media. Miracle pop-ups are almost guaranteed to cause a line.
“People don’t want to leave so they’ll stay and eat," Boehm says. "They’ll be there before and after. We’ve heard a lot of really good success stories just because of the overflow.”
Many of these customers may also have never experienced craft cocktails before. Boehm sees folks learning about and getting hip to the cocktail craze through the pop-ups. For a self-proclaimed cocktail nerd like Boehm, that’ the real joy.
“I’m so happy to see people who maybe haven’t had great cocktails before coming in for the Christmas cheer and actually realizing, ‘I like cocktails!’” he says. “It’s that discovery of the infrequent cocktail drinker realizing that cocktails can be so delicious—even if they just came for the kitsch.”