The secret’s out, everyone! Craft breweries are booming! Approximately three times as many breweries are opening to replace any that have closed, according to trend reports.
With the brewery industry landscape more popular and competitive, marketing is a tried-and-true way to make your brewery stand out. These nine tips will help you develop a strong marketing strategy for your craft brewery, no matter your budget.
1. Get noticed on social media
Consumers at craft breweries follow brands on social media because they want to stay on top of the latest product and event news and get a glimpse of the culture behind the beer. If you’re only posting up-close shots of your latest canned variety or your open hours, you’re not leveraging social media platforms to their potential.
Sure, maybe your beer is delicious and refreshing, but what’s your process for naming a new one? What does your brewery space look like? Who are the people working creatively behind the scenes? Your social media pages are great places to put all this on display while, of course, staying true to the aesthetic of your company’s branding. Think about running a contest and engaging with your loyal followers. If you’ve got even a bit of a budget, turn some of those high-performing posts into targeted social ads to attract new fans.
2. Partner with local businesses
Word of mouth is one of the most effective marketing tools around. Widen your organic reach by partnering with local restaurants and businesses. Even if a local business doesn’t choose to stock your beer at their establishment, they can still be beneficial by teaming up on events or fundraisers. Consider donating some beer or offering a discount to get your brand out there.
If you also host events at your brewery, you can consider partnering with local vendors for a preferred vendor program. This way, you can refer these businesses to clients for an event at your venue and vice versa.
3. Be active in your community
The odds are that your city has an abundance of community events happening on any given weekend, whether it’s an outdoor festival, a weekly food truck park, or something in between. Check out your local paper, chamber of commerce calendar, or coffee shop message board, and see what events are coming up.
You can add a note on these dates in your Tripleseat event calendar for team awareness. Then, reach out to the coordinators and see if they still need vendors or sponsors. Even if it’s too late to participate, you can still keep these annual events on your radar to make sure you’ve got a booth, a keg, or a cooler at them the next time around.
4. Focus on what makes you unique
The secret to success when there are a lot of craft breweries out there is to make sure your brand stands out. Do you work with local artists on label designs, or use a rare ingredient for your summer ale? Use these things to your advantage.
Alternatively, you can use your culture to stand apart. People love brands that show their human side. Think about the journey to create your craft brewery. There’s almost no chance the road was identical to someone else’s every step of the way. That makes you unique, and it’s worth touting.
5. Launch a newsletter
We know that running a brewery takes serious time, and you don’t have a lot to spare. But making the effort to create a brief newsletter, even if you only send it once a month, can have a major impact on your business. Case in point: For every $1 spent on email marketing, approximately $36 is made in return.
There are a few tactics that’ll help ensure your newsletter is successful. First, think about what you want to say and what you think readers want to know. Even if you don’t have a big new release to announce, you can refresh readers about your latest brewery offerings. You can also include info about tour options and keep people posted on where they can buy your beers around town. Make the subject line catchy but appropriate. Don’t forget to include all your social media links at the bottom. Lastly, add hyperlinks in case people want to know more about anything you mention.
6. Consider hosting events
Odds are, if you host brewery tours, you can also host live events. Even a themed night, like a weekly “yappy hour” where patrons can bring their dogs to your brewery, can help generate some decent buzz. Take a look at your space. If you have an area that would be conducive to even a small gathering, it’s a great opportunity to also market yourself as a venue for others to host their own events. Got a patio and outdoor lawn, or enough space for a few high-top tables and chairs? Even better.
If the idea of launching an events program is overwhelming, don’t despair! Joining an online directory — like EventUp —is one of the most beneficial ways to get your brewery in front of brand-new patrons searching for a non-traditional space. You simply create a venue profile, add in your photos, details, and sample menus, and ready your team to respond speedily to incoming leads. You can even take things a step further by creating and sending out a simple, informative event packet.
7. Highlight what makes your craft brewery fun
Brewery brands with the most effective marketing strategies don’t take themselves too seriously. After all, beer should be associated with having a good time — kicking back, laughing, and being with people you enjoy.
Don’t be afraid to flex some creative muscles. Repost (with permission) a tagged photo someone posted of your latest brew next to a dog on a sunny patio. Snap a shot of someone enjoying one of your libations at the beach. Is it one of those food holidays, like National Ice Cream Day? Post on Facebook how great your coffee stout pairs with a scoop of Rocky Road with a great photo, of course.
8. Connect with industry publications
There are a ton of publications out there covering the craft beer industry, from Bar Business Magazine to Good Beer Hunting and plenty more. Reach out to these publications and tell them who you are, what you do, and what sets you apart. The odds are more in your favor for a positive response if you add in a timely hook that’ll make covering your brand newsworthy.
Also, you can always inquire about web or print ads to help spread the word about your offerings. Outside of industry publications, it’s also worth looking into local publications. Particularly if they publish special issues or features about the beer or food-and-beverage industries, that’s a potential extra dose of exposure.
9. Leverage a PR firm
If you have the marketing budget, hiring a PR firm is a near-guaranteed way to drum up additional business. A PR agency can put out press releases when newsworthy developments hit, like releasing a new beer recipe or expanding your space.
They can also put your name out there as a source for reporters covering the craft beer scene. These pieces almost always need experts to quote, and your PR team should be able to promote you as a key player in the industry.
There’s no magic formula to ensure your business’s success. But, as long as you churn out products you’re proud of, stay true to your company’s mission, commit to great customer service, and do what you can to spread the word, you’ll be in a position to keep business a-brewin’ for years to come.
Ready to market your craft brewery?
Once you start generating awareness for your brewery, get ready to grow your event bookings. Schedule a Tripleseat demo to take a closer look at our event management features.