The birthday weekend begins. Not mine … my soon-to-be 8 year old. Friday through Monday, we’ll celebrate this little dude turning 8; and that means his favorite foods and restaurants (and probably some dessert treats here and there.) Temptation run amok. I’ll need to be extra careful this weekend, and everything was fine Friday until I heard the words, “Daddy, can we go to Taco Mac?”

  1. I love my children.
  2. I’ve obviously trained them properly.
  3. Of course we can go to Taco Mac
  4. Uh oh. More on that later

Breakfast – not sure why I even bother typing this line anymore
Lunch – had some leftover chicken salad with some Wheat Thins. Pretty healthy so far.
Dinner – at the aforementioned Taco Mac. If you’re not familiar with is, picture scores of TVs, wings, billions of beers on draught … basically heaven on Earth. I had a turkey burger with a side of roasted zucchini. A really solid selection for me.  Thank you to TM for listing calories on the menu … I held myself to about 700 for dinner.

But there’s also a beer menu.

Friday Beer

Taco Mac has a loyalty program called the Brewniversity. (We’ve covered this in the past.) Basically, you score a point for every unique beer purchase. Points add up over time, and you occasionally score some solid swag. I’m approaching 700 points and am always interested in adding to that total when we go. I’m also all about beer variety – I like to try as many flavors as possible. And that’s why I love the Mac – so many options! But I’m also not very bright. In all my years of going and accruing, I’ve never thought about ordering smaller sizes to maximize points AND be able to branch out into additional beer options. Last night, I had an epiphany. TM offers a smaller pour called a nooner. It’s in the neighborhood of 6-7 ounces, which is perfect for enjoying several without getting out of control.

However, just like a kid in a candy store, I may have gone a little overboard in my newfound joy. 6 beers later, I went home …

Mike Pennington by Mike Pennington

Those of you who know me likely know that Taco Mac is Mecca for me.  It is the end all-be all of dining establishments.  “But Mike, this is supposed to be a BEER blog – not about fine dining!”  You’re right – and the beer is what I love the most.  Don’t get me wrong, the food is stellar.  But I’m not discussing that today.

Today’s post is the first I will write in a series discussing customer loyalty programs.  Taco Mac has done it right.  Order a beer, get a point.  Order the same beer, enjoy that great beer but no more points for you.  The setup is very simple, but the rewards (both tangible and intangible) are so worth the investment.

Taco Mac refers to their program as the Brewniversity.  It’s obviously a fun take on matriculating at your favorite institution of higher learning.  In this case, the ‘institution’ is a great place to find a huge selection of beers, and the ‘higher learning’ comes in exploring different flavors to find your new favorites.

The Rules

Membership is free.  It costs nothing to join, and thanks to the handy mobile app and online tracking, you can always follow your studies and work toward your next level.

One point for one beer.  Again, if you keep ordering the same thing over and over again, you will not gain any additional points.  It’s only a unique purchase that gains additional points.  (For example, a six-pack of Bud Light gets you one point.  A Bud Light bottle and a Bud Light draft will earn you two points.)

No more than six beers in one day, for obvious reasons.  This is not a get drunk club.  This is a club designed to help you explore various beers and score some SWAG while you’re at it.  Speaking of …


Once you hit 13 beers, you’ll become a PLEDGE and receive your Taco Mac Brewniversity t-shirt.  Awesomeness ensues.  After that, there are 10 additional milestones with associated gifts:

  • 75 total beers – $10 gift card
  • * 125 beers – you graduate from PLEDGE to Bachelors degree.  You will receive the book Tasting Beer by Randy Mosher; your name will be placed on the Bachelors plaque at your favorite location; and you can now receive all draft beer pours in the 20 ounce mug for the same price as the standard 16 ounce.  (High gravity beers excluded.)
  • 175 beers – $20 gift card
  • 225 beers – Masters degree.  Brewniversity tailgate chair.  Your name moves to the Masters plaque.
  • 275 beers – $30 gift card.
  • 325 beers – Doctorate.  You have a Ph.D. B.K.  (PhD in Beer Knowledge.)  Brewniversity cooler and your name is now on the Doctorate plaque.
  • 425 beers – $50 gift card
  • 575 beers – Professor.  Engraved Brewniversity coasters.
  • 750 beers – Dean.  Copy of The Oxford Companion to Beer by Garrett Oliver.
  • 1000 beers – Chancellor.  The pinnacle of all things Taco Mac.  You’ve reached the ultimate goal.  You receive a special graduating class reward, you get a new Chancellor membership card loaded with $100; and your name moves to the Chancellors plaque located in the Fred Bar (one of the coolest places on earth – blogged about soon.)
* We recommend starting with ALL bottles.  Once you get to 125, you’ll get the 4-ounce bonus.  This is the best strategy to earning your way up the ladder.
Are you game?  Comment below with your current progress.  I’m sitting at 418, working on being a Professor.  Where are you?
Mike Pennington by Mike Pennington