Craft beer now owns nearly 13% of total market share of beer sold in the United States. That might not sound like much, but when you consider the explosive (though now tapering) growth of craft beer over the last 20 years, that number starts to look pretty impressive. There are more than 6,000 brewpubs, microbreweries, and regional craft breweries in the United States, up from only 1,500 in 1998.
With smaller, regional breweries, rather than large craft-beer conglomerates, now responsible for the majority of the volume output of craft beer in the country, brewers and brewery owners are faced with a conundrum: how do they stand out among their peers? How do they cut through the noise created by so many craft breweries? And in an industry built on cooperation and “rising tide” mentality, how do you make a splash without alienating your fellow brewery-owner friends?
You might be surprised to hear that many of the issues you’re facing as a craft brewery owner or brewer are not rare in the industry. Time and again, craft breweries struggle with similar issues. But there’s good news: marketing, when done right, can help you find your way out of the wilderness. And, even better, it’ll make you more money.
We’ve worked to solve issues for breweries in the great state of Colorado with powerful results. Read on to see how we tackled these complex marketing challenges and impacted these unique businesses.
Across the board, breweries we work with express the same frustrations. Issues range from dwindling tap room sales, a lack of strategy for tapping into restaurant sales, and struggles with consistent branding. Beyond that, we see craft breweries struggling to spread awareness of their brand. Their marketing may be good-looking, but it’s more often reactive - not proactive.
The goal is to get butts in seats and to spread awareness of their brand, but too often, brewers and brewery owners are too busy to devote the time needed to implement the kind of strategic marketing campaign that could make a difference.
That’s where we come in.
We take a holistic look at breweries, and we start at the top. Our first goal is to define your brewery’s brand based on its existing personality, its offerings, and what space it wants to occupy in the craft beer world.
For instance, if your brewery’s best-selling beers are your dark lager and your English Brown, but you’re really passionate about kettle sours and experimental beers, you’re hitting a brick wall as far as brand identity goes. Whatever experimental beers you produce aren’t getting the attention they deserve, or you’re not spreading their message to the right target audiences. Any number of issues contribute to this muddled brand identity, and we get to the root of it.
Everything from logo to website to apparel to offerings to bathroom decor to social media presence needs to be part of a cohesive brand strategy. Once we have the brand identity sussed out (opportunity to link to “principles of branding” pillar page), we let that drive company direction.
To solve issues relating to audience, we help breweries build out “buyer personas.” These are fictional representations of your ideal customers and include likes, dislikes, hobbies, beer preferences, family size, and more. Maybe it’s just the marketing nerd in us, but we love building these out! They are excellent tools for zeroing in on a target group and maximizing your marketing efforts.
Once the brand and audience are defined, the real fun begins: spreading the word and marketing your product to the right people. How do you reach them? Through social media, newsletters, your website, and strategic ads.
Through an organic and paid social media strategy, we spread the word about the brewery. We push brand identity. We help your brewery inform, delight, and draw people in. Email marketing is an important aspect of this strategy - for every dollar you spend, your return is around $44. Email helps inform your customers and keep your brewery top of mind.
Advertising can be extremely helpful as well - choosing industry-specific websites, newsletters, and magazines to partner with can help boost your brewery’s level of authority and reach a wider audience.
We also help breweries build out effective and worthwhile loyalty programs, which encourage repeat visits, reward regulars, and give customers something to smile - and tell their friends - about.
All of this is great, but if people can’t find your brewery, all of your efforts will be wasted. We make sure breweries’ websites are updated and optimized, which improves rankings on Google. Basically, they appear higher on the list of search results, which is important.
To put it differently: 90% of searchers won’t go beyond the first page of results. If you’re not on the first page, you might as well not be on the web at all. (We’re kidding, but you catch our drift.) We also work with companies like Untappd to ensure every “breweries near me” search results in a potential customer actually finding the brewery we’re working with.
Informing all of this is a commitment to key performance indicators, or KPIs. We set goals, and we work tirelessly to achieve them.
And it works! For one of our brewery clients, we saw increases in almost every metric: Google Maps views increased 300% in three months, web traffic increased by 600% in six months, and most importantly, tap room sales increased by 20% in six months.
We helped the same brewery increase membership in its loyalty club to 1200 people in only eight weeks, and by refocusing efforts on social media, we helped increase engagement rates by 25% month-over-month.
A big aspect of our strategy was to forge bonds between this particular brewery and Colorado-based restaurant groups for placement and mutual promotional efforts.
Breweries are built by renegades, independent thinkers, and creative problem-solvers. We bring our skills, expertise, and agility to craft custom marketing plans that make a real impact - your business is unique, and your marketing should be, too.
Inbound marketing is a long game - but when the foundational pieces work together, you start to see real results. Reach out today to see how we can help.