1) Focus on what makes your brand unique – case in point: Southern Star Brewing Company
“We were the first to can craft in Texas”
Let people know what sets your beer apart from the hundreds of other craft beers they could spend their hard-earned cash on. Telling customers what makes your brand unique is a way to instantly stand out from your competitors, and it gives your brand a voice of its own. So proudly march to your own drummer – people will follow… and they’ll admire your gumption.
2) Make people feel good about buying from an independent – case in point: Black Star Co-op
“Black Star Co-op is the world’s first cooperatively-owned and worker self-managed brewpub… You don’t have to be a member-owner to come to the brewpub, but supporting Black Star Co-op means supporting livable wages, democratic workplaces, local farms, and quality products from your community brewpub!”
Those of you in the craft beer industry are in the unique position of embodying the American Dream — working for yourself and doing what you love. Use this to your advantage when promoting your beer. Tell your story. Share an anecdote. Let folks know why they should feel good about choosing your independent brand of craft beer.
3) Share your own authentic story with others – case in point: Independence Brewing Company
“Starting a brewery, the idea sounded crazy to their family and friends back in 2001, [and] Amy and Rob Cartwright knew what they were up against… but Amy and Rob had to brew beer, their own beer. And they had to share it with Texas.”
Authenticity has become a bit buzzy lately, but the intent of the word still holds true. Understanding what shaped you and sharing that true story — full of hardships and triumphs — with others, can help you better connect with people.
4) Give the people what they want – case in point: Red Horn Coffee House & Brewing Company
“Red Horn Coffee House and Brewing Co. offers fresh house roasted coffees and house brewed beer. With a focus on supporting other local artisans, Red Horn also offers locally sourced baked goods, charcuterie, cheeses, sodas, kombucha, wine, and a variety of sandwiches, salads and other artisan coffee and craft beer.”
Of course you’re going to provide delicious beers, you’re a craft brewery, after all. But why not offer food to accompany your brews? Giving customers a wide variety of options means that they’ll stay longer (and drink more!), and as an added bonus you’re likely to get more customers since you’ll be hitting up the foodie crowd, in addition to your loyal legion of craft beer enthusiasts. And if you choose to offer coffee drinks or wine flights — BAM! — there’s another two customer bases you’ve covered. There’s a reason why variety is the spice of life.
5) Show and Tell – case in point: Deschutes Brewery
Okay, we’ll admit it… we’re a bit in awe of the Deschutes site. They’ve got it all: Brewer Notes, varieties of malt and hops used in individual beers, alcohol content, calories, a taste chart, and a nifty little description at the bottom. We’re not saying that you have to have all of these elements on display in order to be successful, but from a customer’s standpoint, it feels very inclusive that we’re given such a wide array of details. It’s like they want us to be beer experts, too. And we like that.
The craft brewing movement is still going strong. People want options other than what the large-scale beer companies offer. Not only that, they also want to feel a connection with the businesses they choose to support. These days it’s not enough to make a great product — you’ve got to market yourself and your brand message, make your voice heard above the din of competitor’s voices. The 5 strategies we’ve written about can help you to do just that. Best of luck to you, small-batch brewers! We salute your efforts and enjoy the fruits of your labor.
Another way to set yourself apart is through your furnishings. We feature hand-crafted reclaimed wood chairs, bar stools, and tables on our site — check it out!
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