Have a beer, buy a crane

Liebherr is not a brand of beer. But if you didn’t know better, you’d swear it is.

That’s because the German company that makes everything from construction cranes to home freezers, replaced the tap from Spaten Octoberfest Munich beer with its own Liebherr tap.

The company has the beer – along with assorted sodas, water and wine – behind a long bar at the Offshore Technology Conference. Visitors belly up to get a drink and then stick around to talk about the company’s products. It’s busiest at lunchtime, said Jonathan Luikens, offshore cranes sales manager in Houston.

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Lots of booths serve American beer, he said, but no one else – that he knows of anyway – is providing a good German beer at the trade show.

“Lots of people remember us from year to year and come find us,” he said.

Does it increase sales?

“No one ever said: ‘I had a beer at your booth. I want to buy a crane,’” he said.

But the booth was busy and visitors seemed excited to look over the company’s huge range of products. And gaze at the beer tap.