Well, 2016 was a wild ride in craft beer. The brewery count to finish the year is 5,005 breweries and according to the Brewers Association, 99% are small, independent craft brewers. Obviously, there's more to owning and operating a craft brewery, microbrewery, brewpub, or taproom, than just brewing beer. The business end of things must be managed, and managed efficiently, if you want to be successful. As we look back on 2016, the following is the top 25 craft beer marketing tips & tricks we've put together for the year. These tips will enable growth, improve cash flow and aid in the foundation of your craft breweries future:
Drum roll please......... The Top 25 Craft Beer Marketing Tips & Tricks of 2016:
- Partner with local food trucks: Food trucks and beer go hand and hand. Plus, food trucks are involved in the local foodie scene and happen to be great advertising since they are mobile.
- Show off your staff: In an age of automation and robotic customer service reps, the human element is severely lacking. Show off your 5-star staff doing what they do best! Seeing happy, smiling employees does wonders for your reputation, as customers long to be served by joyful workers.
- Sponsor a sports team: Local breweries can get good publicity and create valuable goodwill by sponsoring a local team, event or good cause. If it’s an adult team, have them over after the games and offer some sort beer, or appetizer promotion.
- Craft beer crawl: Partner with other local craft breweries and organize a craft beer crawl.
- Share your story: Everyone loves a great story. We bet your customers are also interested to know the story behind your beer, what inspired you to open a brewery and how you got to where you are. By sharing your experience with your customers, they are more likely to connect with you on a different, more personal level.
- Have a functional website: Can local customers find your brewery online? Make sure they can with a well-optimized website that does what you want it to do. The key is to get them to your website before they find your competitors. You can create a beer blog, list daily specials and direct visitors to your social media profiles and online review sites.
- Bike night: Check out vintage & contemporary bikes and drink some beer. Maybe even grab some grub…if you don’t have a kitchen, you can always have it catered, another good way to partner with a local business. You can even have a contest to draw bikers in, best bike gets a free beer or bar tab. Bikers are obsessed with their wheels and can’t wait to show them off; not to mention who can pass up free craft beer?
- Engage in local SEO practices: Websites aren’t just for big companies; now more than ever, small local businesses are realizing the importance of having a website and implementing an Internet marketing strategy. Since 72% of all searches are related to a search for local content, you should be 100% sure that your website will show up for those searches relevant to your brewery.
- Host a singles night: Throw a singles party or speed dating event. Get people engaged by making them share craft beer, all while trying to make a love connection. Maybe even have a board game night or cheesy trivia. Get people in your door, drinking your beer and having fun!
- The tattoo promise: Not sure if you’ll get anyone to actually do this, but it’s a great marketing pitch. If a customer gets a tattoo of your logo, you’ll give them a certain % off their bill for life. What could be a better testament to your brewery than someone branding themselves for life with your logo?
- Enlist local beer bloggers: Ask local beer bloggers to review your brewery in return for a free tab. The outside link will help with rankings, and the positive review will help your reputation.
- Beer brand label contest: Have local artists or people within your community create a special edition beer label. Get the local community involved and spread the word on all the social media channels. Winner gets a limited edition beer bottle or label with their artwork on it, or even a limited edition beer named after them.
- Brewery tours: Educating the non-craft beer drinkers on the amazingness of beer is the way to go. Let them see it, touch it, feel it and experience your craft. Maybe even create a date night brew tour. Just another way to get them in the door and educated on your brand.
- Organize events targeting middle-aged parents: Targeting the younger crowd and hipsters is great, but let’s not neglect their parents. They like beer too!
- Start a craft beer meetup group: Meetup is the world's largest network of local groups. Meetup makes it easy for anyone to organize a local group or find one of the thousands already meeting up face-to-face. More than 9,000 groups get together in local communities each day, each one with the goal of improving themselves or their communities.
- Grow your email database: If you compare to direct marketing, email marketing is more efficient, environmentally friendly and a faster way to keep your customers in the know. Promote your e-newsletters through social media, on your website, and inside your brewery. You will need to decide what will work best for you.
- Get a social media presence: Strengthen your word of mouth marketing with an interesting, interactive social media presence. This gives you the ability to engage your customers 365 days as year, represent your brand and enlist customers to share their stories. That’s priceless. Check ours out on Instagram & Twitter.
- Use a hashtag to promote your craft beer and brewery: A hashtag makes your promotional messaging more portable and viral. Get creative and come up with something memorable. Remember, the trick is to stand out not fit in.
- Post your daily tap list on Facebook: Customers want to know what you have for sale. And, this does not necessarily mean what’s on sale. People want to visit your business if you have they want. Now, craft beer drinkers always want to know what your tap list and on-deck list. A great craft beer marketing idea is to post your tap list daily to help increase the amount of customers coming through your door, spending more and getting them to come back quicker than planned.
- Beer porn photos: If you’ve ever logged onto Instagram, you’ll understand that beer porn is alive and well. Arguably the very best way to promote your craft brewery online is with high-quality, drool-inducing photos. Visual content is in high demand online these days, and having delicious looking photos on your website and across various social media outlets is essential for drawing hungry eyes.
- Loyalty programs: Partnering up with online food and beer loyalty programs should definitely be a consideration as part of your brewery marketing plan. Partnering with online apps encourages visitors to check out your brewery through loyalty programs, which offer visitors a free purchase or discount for visiting a certain number of times.
- Support local events: Your goal is to get the word out, and there’s no better way to do this than by introducing your beer to local events. Be a good beer community citizen and offer to donate a keg or 2 to the event. Share the love and you’ll get love back in return.
- Yelp: has tremendous power in the brewery & brewpub industry, and having a strong backing of positive Yelp reviews is like having a flock of golden geese – reviews from Yelp can do wonders for your business.
- Google+: Setting up your breweries Google+ account is as important as setting up your Yelp account.
- Develop your craft breweries brand identity: Building your breweries brand identity can have a big effect on your social media performance. Your goal should be to build you breweries identity around your target customers.
Hopefully you found the Top 25 Craft Beer Marketing Tips & Tricks of 2016 to be helpful and useful. There’s no novel idea or magic wand to wave, the key is to get creative. Don't be afraid to zig when all others zag.
Whether you have a large commercial brewery or small microbrewery, LVRG can provide you with the funding you need to be successful. Craft breweries, microbreweries, brewpubs and taprooms throughout the U.S. are thriving and growing thanks to LVRG, let us show you how easy it is to get brewery financing. Don't go bank to bank searching for a lender who doesn't understand your industry. Deal direct with an entire lending team laser focused on craft breweries and find out why we lead the way. We're here to help! Call (855) 998-LVRG or click below to get started.