How to Market Your Craft Brewery
As more and more craft breweries pop up across the country, new breweries can no longer depend on novelty, edginess or being local to stand out. Small, fledgling breweries must think early, and shrewdly, about marketing to ensure they carve out a piece of an increasingly saturated market. On the bright side, a tight marketing budget doesn’t necessarily spell doom for smaller craft breweries anymore. As long as you understand you’re not competing against larger breweries and you spend your marketing dollars wisely, you are sure to successfully navigate the craft beer industry. Fortunately, our friends over at Brandfolder.com have put together some tips for how to get the most out of your craft brewery’s limited marketing budget, which we have collected in the list below.
1. Learn How To Speak To Your Customers
Customers are the lifeblood of a successful brewery, so before you do anything else make sure you know who they are, what they like and how to connect with them. In his study of Dogfish Head Brewery’s early branding campaigns, Stephen Zoeller found that the brewery had done such extensive research on their clientele that they were able to determine their average household income, their education level and their hobbies and interests. Having this information before embarking on a marketing campaign proved invaluable, as they could direct and coordinate marketing efforts in a specific and targeted manner.
2. Pursue Community Service Projects
Regardless of whether your brewery is built around a neighborhood taproom, you are going to want to make connections with, and give back to, the community that you call home. Take it upon yourself to learn and understand the needs of your particular county, state and region. Getting involved in community service not only means giving back in a meaningful way, but also getting your name out there.
3. Find a Niche
One way to raise your brewery’s profile is by experimenting with niche beers. Ask yourself: What would the customers who you’ve researched like to see done differently or better? A sour beer? A fruit beer? If you make balanced pilsners, that’s great, but getting out of your comfort zone and occupying a niche could be the differentiator your brewery needs to get its name out there.
4. Give Away a Product, Not Stuff
In theory, free stuff—glasses, coasters, koozies, etc.—seems like a great way to raise brand awareness and generate good will amongst potential customers. But, the truth of the matter is, if you are just starting out, all that swag is just going to end up in the trash or the back of an already packed closet. Instead, consider giving free tastes of your product. Build buzz with tasting events at local restaurants, fairs, festivals and even other breweries.
5. Embrace Events
Remember: your brewery and taproom are social spaces. You want your customers to enjoy spending time there (and, hopefully, to reward you by buying another pint or two). Program your taproom in a way that will appeal to your clientele and community. Trivia nights, comedy nights, poetry nights—depending on where you’re located, any of these events could draw a new crowd and generate good will within your community.
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