5 Brewery Marketing Strategies You Should Use

November 1st, 2018 • by Chris Coughlan
Chris Coughlan

Chris Coughlan

black dog DESIGNS is an energetic marketing agency that’s having fun and being effective. Delivering graphic design, web design, labeling/packaging design, and strategic campaign development we help take our clients reach their next goals. We work together with you to find solutions that best fit your needs and give you the tools to take your business to the next level. Choosing an agency isn’t easy. Working with us is.

The craft beer industry is one of the most rapidly growing segments not only New York, but the entire country. While this growth is a big win for the industry and our economy, the crowded marketplace is making it increasingly vital to differentiate yourself and find authentic ways to grow your brand loyalty. To get you started, we’ve put together 5 brewery marketing strategies you should be using. Take this foundation, adapt it to your brand, and create an authentic impression on your audience time after time. There are tons more ways to build on this, and this is just a teaser.

Engage, Engage, Engage.

If you don’t have a strategy in place for how you’re going to interact with customers (current and potential) via social media, then you should put one together now. Social media is at the forefront of digital marketing and it’s not slowing down. While you may not directly make a sale through social media, this is one of the best ways to develop and maintain relationships with customers. The average individual will spend over 5 years of their life on social media, right behind watching TV as the most common daily activities. Use your time on social to reply, respond, applaud, and interact with your social following. Think of this as a direct personal link to your customers. Talk to them the same way you would when they are in the tap-room.

The first step is consistently. If you don’t like, comment, and share user’s content they are much less likely to do the same for you. Give a little, get a little. Next…. develop a consistent content schedule that shows your brand in a variety of lights. This could be new releases, culture, events, or the brewing process. Craft beer drinkers are loyal, they care about how things are made. They want to know the process, who is doing what, what you guys do in your spare time. Use this as a base to put together media not just focused on product/product/product. Lastly, take advantage of paid advertising! Targeting specific geographies, demographics, and psychographics is an extremely powerful tool. This is especially true for retargeting past website users, creating lead generation ads, and tracking conversions for sales direct from your ads.

Have an Email Marketing Strategy (and make it pretty)

Email marketing is often overlooked because many people feel as if they are sent too many emails to begin with. We all have felt this way, but by providing real value to your subscribers you can keep their attention, provide them exclusive offers, and maintain the customer relationship. This is one of our top brewery marketing strategies that your should be using. Providing value (or incentives) to join your list can be done in many ways. Perhaps you have a mug club which you need communicate updates to. Maybe you are planning a big release party and can offer subscribers the first chance to be there. What ever the offering is, make sure your audience finds it valuable and timely. After you’ve developed your strategy, make sure your emails maintain a cohesive identity for your brand and develop a consistent sending schedule.

Email marketing not only provides valuable insights and analytics (like who opened the emails, what specifically they clicked on, and what subject matter people respond to best) but can also be used to extend your branding, by developing custom templates that are visually designed to match your brand.

On Premise Strategy

It’s well known that beers sold in house result in a much higher profit margin. Are you incentivizing your customers to keep coming back to the tasting room rather than grabbing a six pack at the store? Perhaps the oldest trick in the book is using tokens for free/discounted drinks. They could be wood, they could be a card, hell they can be made out of stone (There’s actually some apps available for this). The point is to tie them being at the tasting room, with a positive benefit for them. Call us old fashioned, but it works. People love the environment, the smell, and the energy of the tap room. Just like, say, Amazon changing the landscape of small brick and mortar stores, the eyes of the distributors are looking at each craft brewery as another offering they can supply to their customers.

Ensure that YOU are the ones building that relationship with your customers, and get them in your brewery.

Another idea is to give on premise customers pint on the house after they subscribe to your emails. Now you can engage with them for your next event, liquid release, and maintain that key driver of sales, THE RELATIONSHIP. Have an iPad handy for them to enter their info, see if your POS has a way to capture this, or just use good old fashioned pen and paper. With “craft beer stores” popping up seemingly every corner, and more craft beer taking up those shelves, customers need and want to feel a real value for going to your location. This is one of the most important brewery marketing strategies to be as profitable as possible.

Brand Ambassador Strategy

Getting your customers to promote you is one of the most cost effective techniques. Not only can you reach their audience, but the costs can be minimal when compared to traditional advertising. There are many ways to get brand ambassadors to do some work for you.

  1. Hold a contest each month. The ambassador who receives the most social media likes while wearing your apparel can win a prize. All they have to do is tag you so you can count the likes!
  2. Develop a sliding scale where the more interaction they drum up for you online. The more discounts they can earn at the brewery.
  3. Do it yourself! Going somewhere? Taking a vacation? Bring merch, take pics, tag the location. Content is King. The more the better!
  4. Take your product into the wild. Tap take-over? Tasting Event? Non-Profit Fundraiser? Yes please! All these are awesome places to bring merch, decals, and coupons. These will create a “leave behind” or even a “come see us effect” that adds to the engagement we discussed before. With all of these suggestions, keep in mind we are looking for “Influencers.” When thinking through this, think about who you is representing your brewery. Are they in-line with your vision? Do they know your values, and also express them consistently? Do they have a network of people that match your demographic? Make sure you do some research, ask the right questions, and have the right people to represent your brand.

Website Strategy

Not everyone may think of this as one of their “brewery marketing strategies”, as much as a place where customers can go to learn about the products, hours, tasting room details, etc. Do not make this mistake! Your website should be a living document with valuable, up to date content. Every piece of content you put on the web or in print marketing should have the goal of getting that  viewer to take an action, which many times should be to go to your website, learn  about you and to explore all you have to offer online. Once there, they can learn about your upcoming events, releases, subscribe to your newsletters, purchase apparel, or get linked up on social.

Craft beer drinkers love to learn and explore their favorite brands. For that reason alone, think about the content you will post, where it will be hosted, the flow of action once someone gets to the site,  and where you want to direct users. Have a plan, be strategic, and create a site so that it is built around your goals. As long as you have a website that’s up to date, gives you editing capabilities, and provides valuable information, your analytics can skyrocket! This is the holy grail of brewery marketing strategies.