Lyft, the ride-hailing app that provides more than 1 million rides a day, partnered with Chicago's Baderbrau Brewing to market a beer that lets people request discounted rides. The Five Star Lager will debut on Jan. 18 and be available the next day at 10 bars throughout Chicago before a broader rollout throughout the year, per the Chicago Tribune.
The 12-ounce cans will each feature a discount code that users can enter into the Lyft app as they request a car. Lyft has committed to a run of 1,000 cases, or 24,000 cans of the beer, before evaluating the promotion. The beer is a rebranded version of Baderbrau's South Side Pride, an easy-drinking palate cleanser that patrons may choose toward the end of a night out.
Five Star's discount offers 40% to 60% off a Lyft ride up to $5. The code expires within seven days and is only available on "classic" Lyft rides, not the carpooling Lyft Line service or Lyft Plus that offers larger vehicles.
Lyft's branded beer promotion is another way for the ride-hailing service to emphasize its availability to help people avoid driving while impaired after a night out. The company has collected reams of data about its customers' ride-sharing habits that have led it to focus marketing efforts where they're likely to have the biggest impact. A lot of that includes catering to bar patrons and gauging how and when they decide to go home, an executive told the Chicago Tribune.
If the collaboration with Baderbrau resonates with customers, Lyft may expand the promotions to other cities. Lyft's other efforts to promote safe driving have recently included a campaign with Anheuser-Busch to offer as many as 150,000 round-trip rides during weekends and holidays in 10 states. These types of partnerships have extended to other areas as well, driving success for the startup: Lyft last year partnered with Taco Bell to test a "Taco Mode" in its app that instructed drivers to swing by the fast-food chain's nearest drive-through window as they brought passengers to their requested destination. The partnership led to a 3% increase in visits to Taco Bells during the promotional window.
Lyft is overall trying to demonstrate how its service reduces the need for people to buy cars and contribute to congestion and pollution in urban areas. Lyft published research showing that, in 2017, nearly a quarter-million Lyft passengers got rid of a household vehicle because of the availability of ride-sharing, per The Verge. But ride-hailing services like Lyft and its bigger rival Uber may only be adding to congestion in metropolitan areas like New York, according to a recent op-ed by Bruce Schaller, the former deputy commissioner of traffic and planning at the New York City Department of Transportation.
Schaller said ride services and yellow taxi cabs make up 50% to 75% of traffic in Manhattan, leading to overcrowding that has pushed average traffic speeds down to 5 miles per hour in central parts of the city. He recommends that ride-hailing services cut down on vacant cars and yellow cabs be limited, in addition to implementing surcharges that raise money for mass transit.