This is for all you craft brewers out there, whether you’re owners, wort-makers, or mash-tun-scoopers. The craft beer industry is built on mavericks doing their thing and telling stories through their beer, and great marketing can help you get there.
One roadblock to taking your brewery to the next level? Cutting through the noise of your fellow craft brewers (awesome though they may be) and telling the masses what makes you so awesome. Here, we dive into some techniques and tactics that you can implement to grow your presence online, strengthen your brand, and make a splash at festivals.
Craft Brewers Need Websites, Too
Choosing not to have a website or hanging your overalls on a website that’s not functional is like knocking out a fresh batch of beer...right into the floor drain. You’ve put so much effort into getting where you are now - don’t ruin it by being a digital ghost. If a potential customer hears about you and wants to find your address, check out your beer list, or read about your brewery’s history, they’re going to visit your website.
If you don’t have a website, or if your website looks straight out of 2002, that’s a massive turnoff. In fact, 75% of users surveyed reported that they make judgements about a company based solely on its web design - so if your site is a clunky mess and takes people more than three clicks to find what they’re looking for, you’re losing potential customers.
Evaluate your website honestly. If it’s time for an update, there are lots of resources to help make the process a breeze. Doing it yourself is a money-saver, at least initially, but enlisting the help of a professional to determine the most effective layout of your website and make sure it’s speedy is an important move for the overall health of your site.
Social Media Is to Your Digital Strategy What Hops Are to Your IPA
We’ll just come right out and say it: you need a presence on social media. No, you don’t need a Pinterest account. No, you don’t necessarily need a LinkedIn profile. But you do need the big three: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Posting regularly (2-3+ times per week) to these platforms will help keep your brewery top-of-mind for potential customers, will help lift your overall sales, and will help get potential customers into your tap room.
How? It’s an important piece of your digital strategy that tells your customers who you are, what makes you special, and why they should buy from you. It directs potential customers to your website. It humanizes you. We could go on and on about the benefits, so just trust us - it’ll make a big difference in your digital presence.
Update your profiles with news about upcoming events, beer releases, and behind-the-scenes footage. Hop additions and working the canning line might seem ho-hum to you, but it’s these kinds of special glimpses behind the scenes that delight customers. Try your hand at Instagram stories - they’re an engaging way to get in front of more people and show them who you are (and they disappear after 24 hours).
Take the extra time to make your images look great, and check your posts for spelling or grammatical issues. Your hard work and attention to detail will pay off here, just like it does in your beer.
Keep Your Branding Consistent
The story you tell digitally is very important - but just as important is making sure you have a strong brand that extends from the glass to your festival tent.
If you have seven different logos in use across ten different products (koozies, sweatshirts, growlers, dog leashes...), it’s time to take a long, hard look at what message you’re putting out there.
Committing to one or two logos (depending on where you’re using them) and an overall brand identity will do wonders for brand recognition. Consider this: it takes, on average, at least 5-7 interactions with a brand for a consumer to remember that brand. If you’re working with several logos of various shapes, sizes, colors, and iterations, you’re losing out on making an impression.
So, standardize your brand. Your brewery should have the same “feel” for customers whether they’re sitting in your tap room, visiting your booth at a festival, or sipping your suds in their own backyard. Carry this vibe onto your other swag, packaging, four-wall marketing (like event posters, tap room artwork, and tackers), and website.
The Bottom Line is...
These techniques will help you tell your story. What makes your brewery special? What makes it different from the 6,000+ other craft breweries in the US today? By committing to an all-encompassing, consistent marketing strategy that includes website, swag, social media, and branding, you’ll set yourself apart from the pack.