Wednesday, February 15, 2012

How to get free drinks and alcohol

Whether you want a free energy drink, or another type of beverage, it's actually really simple to get drinks for free.

From starting a drinking club, to becoming a fan of big brands, this blog post has five simple ways you can get your next drink for free, without having to pick up the tab on your round.

Start a Drinking Club
Back in my University days we started a club called "The Extreme Ironing society". Extreme Ironing involves people trying to iron in extreme places like halfway up a mountain, but for us it was an excuse to fill a dingy room and play drinking games. We went so far as to get shirts printed for all the members, and appear at open day fairs.

The point is that starting a club around booze is possible, and if done in the right way can become quite a presence. So you could try and get a few likeminded people together and form a small club around your favourite drink. To combat the negative view towards drinking, you would need to pitch the club as a tasters society similar to a Wine tasting club.

After a few meetings you would then need to contact the marketing and PR agencies of various drinks and explain the benefits of the club. This could include increased brand awareness in a key target market and gaining prestige at a known club. The goal being to show ways that the club allows the drink company to beat the competition and to help you  raise awareness for your club.

This worked especially well when Coors were persuaded to send 4 free pints and 4 free cans to every member of student accomodation in my University.

Visit Everyone
The cheekier option is to arrange work meetings at a local bar or restaurant rather than in the office. This is a nice way to make a meeting seem less official so good for new clients and the bill will either go on your company card on the clients. Naturally if it's going on your card/ expenses check with managers first, but explain how you would like to meet the client in a relaxed setting, or pitch it as a reward for a client who has been good to you all year.

Or accept any offers from companies who want your business, make sure to meet them and expect them to roll out the red carpet and pay for your expenses. If they want your business they will, and if they don't then you can simply go elsewhere.

Let's take this further with a specific example:

Free Relentless
My review of the Relentless Energy drink (from way back in 2006) is officially one of the most popular pages on the site. Madness considering that that site is all about how to get things for free and the review doesn't actually tell you how to get Free Relentless! Today I put that right with the story of how I got a crate for free and a free guide on how to get your own cans of Relentless Energy Drink.

Free Crate of Relentless

The story of how I got a free crate of Relentless is harder to mimic than some of the solutions below, but a useful tale nonetheless in showing why a soft drink company would want to give their drink away for free. Back in 2006 Relentless was the new kid on the block, made by Coca Cola who were not quite brave enough to display their logo on the can other than a small reference. It was a risky proposition. It's main advantages was it was twice the size of Red Bull with a similar taste (and better after taste).

Relentless needed people to become aware of their brand fast and therefore any exposure they could get would be beneficial. So they sponsored gigs (more on that later) hired ambassadors (and that) and tried to spread the word online (that's me!). At the time they mainly had a small site which some videos and images that had a good presence but few reviews. Thankfully I was friends with one of the early ambassadors for the drink who was able to provide me with a crate of product to review.

This was all part of spreading the word, which the replicable solutions for you below are also about. I got my crate simply be being available to promote their brand and here's how you do the same:

Relentless do very well with music and extreme sports fans. Therefore they spend a lot of time at events giving away Relentless. You can find a complete list of events here and at every event they attend Relentless is given away by the bucket load. Sure it's not worth visiting the event just to get a free drink but if this type of scene is your typical every day party or weekend away then you'll know which tent to visit for some free Relentless.

If you don't just love music or extreme sports and are actually pretty good at them you can consider applying for sponsorship. Relentless list the details to apply for this on their website and all that's required to be considered is to write a letter to the address below. A long shot yes, but likely to result in free Relentless for life:

Relentless Energy Drink,
Sponsorship Team,
5 Blythe Mews,
Blythe Road,
W14 0HW

Ambassadors (The Order)
Rather than Ambassadors Relentless have a scheme called 'The Order' which can be signed up for here. It's free to join and connects the community of fans. From this pool Relentless can find people to spread the word about their product so instead of being on the busy side of the free drinks table at a festival you'll be on the serving side which free crates galore behind you. Hard work, but thirsty work too and you'll definitely need some refreshment afte which they should provide.

Relentless have from time to time given away free cans via the media. A News of the World giveaway for example offered a free can for every reader. For the best way to find out when these giveaways will occur you can view the official Relentless twitter page.

Have you been able to get drinks for free? Why not share your experiences below:

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My Policy

Every product on this site has been received for free, and given to me by the product manufacturer or their associated PR organisation in return for a review.

I have no other personal or business association with these companies, and all reviews are written truthfully and based on my own experience. If I hate a product I will say so (and have done on many occasions!).