11 Creative Craft Brewery Marketing Tips (+5 Examples)
February 27, 2020
The number of craft breweries in the United States skyrocketed from just over 1,500 in 2008 to over 7,000 in just ten years, and industry growth is showing no signs of slowing – according to craft brewery statistics.
With such a dramatic increase in competition, marketing has become incredibly important for making a craft brewery business successful.
But while competition has increased, so has the tools available to small business owners – such as new craft breweries – to run targeted marketing campaigns to generate awareness and attract new customers.
1. Be Active on Social Media
One of the most effective ways to keep your customers in the know when it comes to your brewery business is to keep your social media feeds flowing with unique and useful content.
Don’t hesitate to mix it up a bit! closeups and product shots are always nice, but if you want to grow your following, throw in some fun posts highlighting company culture, behind the scenes processes, industry news, and even some great follower-created content (as long as you have permission.) And don’t just post – like, comment, and share across social media platforms if you want to see more activity on your brewery’s content.
For more social tactics, check out our guide to social media marketing for breweries.
2. Optimize and Monitor Review Websites
If you want potential customers to be able to find your craft brewery online, you’ll definitely want to claim, verify, and optimize your business profiles on all review sites like Yelp or Zomato.
Monitor reviews coming in and respond to negative reviews in a respectful manner. This may be the first time someone comes into contact with your business, so making a great first impression will be key.
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3. Create an Email Newsletter List
Email marketing is an extremely cost-effective way to remind customers of your latest products, upcoming events, and other important news about your business. Starting an email newsletter can help drive traffic to your website and social accounts as well.
To build your email list, start with emails of customers who have already provided theirs, and find creative and alluring ways to ask customers and website visitors to sign up. Many businesses offer an incentive upon sign-up, like a coupon code for 10% off, or keep a clipboard handy at in-person events for attendees to provide their information.
For more email strategies, check out our guide to email marketing for breweries.
4. Partner with Local Influencers
Building relationships with influencers is a great way to spread your brand’s message to new audiences. Social influencers may be willing to post about your business in exchange for a product or two. You can provide them with a few products to enjoy and review, maybe a discount code for their followers to use, and watch the new attention roll in.
It will likely be helpful to enter into a written agreement with influencers or require that their posts be approved by a member of your team prior to posting to safeguard against any undesirable PR effects.
5. Invest in Google and Facebook Ads
Many consumers decide where they’d like to grab a drink based on an ad or post they saw online, or with a simple google search. One way to ensure that your business makes it in front of new eyes and into the right results pages is to invest in paid digital advertisements.
Do a little homework to start, and you’ll be reaching potential customers in your targeted demographics right where they already are – on their phones and computers.
6. Optimize Your Website’s Local SEO
To get your brewery’s website ranking higher in search engine result pages, be sure to create a Google My Business account. This will give you some control over how your business shows up in google search and let you make sure the information listed is all correct.
The next step is optimizing your website itself. The content on your brewery’s website should be chock full of information that is both current and useful to visitors, so make your menu or product selection easily accessible from the homepage, link to information and tickets for upcoming events, and use every bit of copy as an opportunity to demonstrate what sets your craft brewery apart.
If you have the bandwidth, it will also be beneficial to do a bit of keyword research and start a blog. If you are consistently producing content your customers are likely to be searching for, you’ll see the benefits of SEO and set your business on the path to becoming a trusted source of information.
7. Promote Deals on Groupon
Groupon is a promotional platform that allows businesses to advertise deals and discounts to consumers. While advertising on Groupon isn’t super lucrative in terms of direct profits (they take 50% of each purchase), it is a great way for smaller, local breweries to boost brand awareness and bring in new customers.
8. Buy Local Radio Ads
Radio advertising is a more traditional route with less of an associated cost than something like television advertising. Be sure that the radio station you choose to work with has an audience aligned with your target and shop around a bit to be sure you’re getting a good price.
9. Host Local Events
If your craft brewery has a physical dining or drinking space, opening it up for local events can be an incredibly effective marketing tool. Hosting a trivia night or allowing local organizations an opportunity to rent your space out for their events can be a really great way to introduce your product to new customers.
10. Create a Customer Loyalty Club for Your Brewery
Encourage customers to come back to your brewery again and again by developing a customer loyalty program. There is a wide variety of types of loyalty programs for you to choose from depending on your business’ brand, target demographics, and resources.
What matters is giving your customers what makes them happy, whether that’s a punch card, a gamified coupon-earning app, or a store credit card.
11. Be an Active Member of the Community
Gain appreciation locally by getting more involved in local causes and activities however that makes sense for your business.
Your brewery can co sponsor events and fundraisers in the local community or partner with restaurants and businesses to host events in your own space. You can reach out to local organizations and chambers of commerce to find opportunities to collaborate and pitch in.
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There are effective ways to advertise and market your craft brewery no matter the size of your budget. Some bigger-investment options, like television ads, can cost a pretty penny, especially if you’re looking to reach consumers nationally.
What will be really important here is to assess your budget and determine what type of return on investment you can reasonably expect based on your resources and marketing and advertising methods that make sense for reaching your target demographics.
Truthfully, many of the low-to-no cost options like social media advertising, search engine optimization, and getting involved in the local community, are vital no matter how much you have to spend on the more expensive options.
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1. Shmaltz Brewing
Location: Clifton Park, NY
In honor of Star Trek’s 50th anniversary, Shmaltz Brewing produced a Star Trek Golden Anniversary Ale aptly called The Trouble with Tribbles. Licensing for this campaign was likely a heftier investment but, but the existence of the resulting product is sure to bring a smile to the face of Star Trek fans across the globe.
2. Brickway Brewery & Distillery
Location: Omaha, NE
Brickway Brewery hosts an annual Bad Beer Amnesty Week, during which anybody can bring a six pack of ‘bad beer’ into their facilities and exchange it for a 6 pack of fresh Brickway beer. This is a fun marketing approach on its own, but they’ve taken it a step further and allowed attendees to bathe, and even slip-n-slide with the bad beer brought in throughout the week.
3. Two Roads Brewing
Location: Stratford, CT
This brewery does a great job of producing exciting, varied content on social media. Two Roads Brewing’s Instagram account features behind the scenes shots, upcoming events, product photos, and even memes which all keep their 63k followers at the edge of their seats.
4. Meantime Brewing
Location: Greenwich, Ldn
This brewery is improving their website’s SEO and connecting with other breweries through blogging. Its #beerheroes post highlights beer experts’ favorite things about their own beers as well as their other favorite craft beers on the market. Featuring industry experts also works like influencer marketing to ensure that its content is circulated across many beer-loving audiences.
5. Threes Brewing
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Dreamed up by Threes Brewing, the People Power Beer Pledge campaign highlights what makes the craft brewing industry so special. In 2018, more than 40 craft breweries collaborated to brew their own versions of the new People Power beer to be released between the 4th of July and Election day. Each of these breweries pledged to donate 10% of the profits from sales of this bear to the ACLU.
Be sure to cover all your bases and experiment with different channels to see which will work best and provide the best ROI for your taproom.
Additional Resources for Craft Brewery Owners:
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