Anyone else ready to tuck 2017 away and launch into 2018? Before I do, I want to reflect a bit on the year nearly behind us.
The Brewers Association just posted their “Year in Review” with interesting developments. As expected, the number of US operating breweries grew again, and now exceeds six thousand. Most interesting from a marketing standpoint, over 80% of the US population age 21+ is now within 10 miles of a brewery. Check out the Brewers Association’s full press release here:
UNDER-SERVED AREAS ARE SCARCE
I live on the outskirts of the Denver suburbs. Even being located away from the city center, there are 14 breweries within ten miles of my house and 58 within 15 miles. In my area, a typical brewery will have at least eight beers on tap at any one time. At any moment, I have conservatively around 500 beers waiting at tasting rooms to tempt me within a short drive. And at off premise retail? If one of my local liquor stores chose to stock only these local beers, that would still take about 16 full size refrigerated display doors alone.
COMPETING EFFECTIVELY IN A SATURATED MARKET
We work with brewers big and small to help them understand how to market better in this increasingly crowded and competitive environment. Our premise is even great beer does not market itself. And there are marketing fundamentals even small brewers can master to help them survive and thrive in this market:
Have a unique story, and tell it well! Seems simple, but to stand out in the market, a brand must stand for something unique and motivating. Different isn’t good enough without being motivating. And that unique, motivating story must be told well. This is critical on not just the individual beer level, but for the brewery’s overall brand as well.
Engage! Once a brewery has a grasp of its unique story, it can focus on engaging new and repeat customers with that story and the cast of beers bringing that story to life. This engagement should include local promotions, social media, charitable community work, events and opportunities for craft drinkers to experience the beer, and equally important, the people behind the brand.
Delight! Having excellent beer is a price of entry these days. But delighting goes way beyond excellent beer to include how drinkers experience your brand at your tasting room, events and retail away from your operations. Not delighting or continuing to delight all the time has its consequences. I have a couple of home brewer friends who just wrote off their beloved neighborhood craft brewery. Despite having some of the best beer around, they got tired of this brewery’s staff’s touch of attitude and inattention.
Connect! Building on multiple delightful experiences in a variety of touchpoints with your brand, drinkers will hopefully connect with you. These days, loyalty is not very exclusive. But you’ll want to progress towards first being in a consideration set with other acceptable breweries, then a preferred brewery, and hopefully someday a drinker’s favorite brewery. Nothing will accelerate these connections faster than connecting your customers with your brewery celebrities: the brewers and owners (often wearing both hats). And invest the time and effort to get your people in all aspects of your operation out into the market to meet drinkers at retail samplings, festivals and events. Someone making minimum wage just pouring your beer wearing a logo shirt is not doing you a lot of favors in terms of making connections. It’s worth the effort to bring your most excellent brand ambassadors to market.
BEST WISHES FOR A GREAT 2018!
We hope you are enjoying a successful 2017, both professionally and personally. We are thankful for your connection to Brite Marketing.
We will be taking the rest of the year off to spend time together as a family. We will enjoy our traditions together, which includes giving back as we can to those in need of a bit of hope, comfort and joy in this increasingly complex world.
If your New Year’s resolutions include considering how to up your marketing game, we’d love to chat. Just send us a comment on our “Contact” page at:
Best wishes for a great New Year!
John Mann (@beermktguy)
#craftbeer #marketing #independentbeer #brewers
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Lead photo © Brewers Association