Tips for Creating a Craft Brewery Marketing Plan

DIY brewery marketing ideas from social posts to promotional products

Craft beer is all the rage, but microbrew’s popularity is a double-edged knife. Breweries can no longer count on standing out simply by being new, local or edgy, because there are so many fresh breweries. In fact, 75 percent of adults 21+ live less than 10 miles from a local brewery. Although every craft brewery is different, the competition is literally right next door, and craft brewers must step up their marketing strategies to retain and attract customers.

As the owner of a microbrewery, of course you focus on the product – beer. But you also must consider distribution, pricing, labels, target audience and marketing. As far as brewery marketing is concerned, you more than likely have done all the regular stuff… completed your brand story and taken steps to increase your visibility in your market. You had a great grand opening, you’ve got a strong website and craft beer that is well-liked by consumers. Now what?

Even when funds are tight, breweries are unique businesses that can get away with using unique marketing ideas. We hope you find these DIY craft beer marketing tactics useful for your craft brewery marketing plan.

1. We guarantee, today is a National Day for something. Host events for random days like Nap Day, Fruitcake Toss Day and National Popcorn Day. For every square on the calendar, there are silly celebrations and event ideas for breweries. Some of them could be a quick way to grab a couple more customers on those slower week nights.

2. Outside-the-box events can be highly effective too. Take the lead from a pub that survived even before millennials were old enough to drink. Dogfish Head Brewery launched what would become the wildly popular Intergalactic Bocce Ball Tournament. Envisioned as an ode to an offbeat, off-the-radar pastime, the tournament grew beyond the brewery’s most optimistic projections, sprouting chapters across the country.

3. Promotional products make an impression! Give away custom Koozies and can coolers, we guarantee there are so many options, you’ll find one to fit your budget. Now, get creative with this non-breakable swag that is perfect for your brewery. Long after your customers have emptied their pint glass, the promotions they bring home keep them connected with your brewery. Even if they never make it into your taproom, your packs and cans are much more likely to catch their eye in the future. Again, you can think outside the box and put your logo on stainless steel can coolers. Now that’s smart!

4. Facebook is your friend. And, you don’t necessarily need to Pay-Per-Click. Your activity on Facebook reminds fans and pub crawlers that you’re drinking beer and they should be too. Plus, you have actual news for your newsfeed…recent brews, new tap list, and a sale to get them coming back quicker than planned.

5. Hopefully you are creating new beers on a regular basis. Take the opportunity to have a beer brand label contest. Customers, local artists or bar napkin sketchers can help you create a special edition beer label. Get the local community involved and spread the word on all the social media channels. Offer the winner a limited edition custom beer growler or label with their artwork.

6. Introduce an exclusive, members-only club. Okay, we know a beer club is nothing new, but how you show members your passion and creativity will build their loyalty to your beer. Use your expertise and give members beer classes. Special events like these welcome them into your beer family. Their influence is ten-fold as they will go away with an abundance of love for your brews and begin sharing word of your amazing brewery.

7. Or, feel free to borrow this idea called “Beer Amnesty for Crappy Beers.” The idea comes from Chris Crowell in his story, “18 of the best craft beer marketing ideas”. Invite residents to bring in their less desirable offerings — typically leftover from friends — and trade up for your beer, no questions asked.

8. Get to really know your customers. Not as a target audience; but get to know the person across the bar. What are their talents? You may have guests that are wedding planners, comedians, song writers or, better yet, jugglers. Are they willing to share their talents for free? How about an open mic for the funny guy or the song writer? Events like these can be a serious sales tool to sell your taproom.

9. Although social media is (by far) the best vehicle for any size brewery due to the “connection” to the end user, we would be remiss not to mention the reach and frequency of outdoor, electronic and print advertising in your local area. Just make sure you’re spending those dollars carefully. You don’t want to get a hollow feeling of throwing a briefcase filled with money off the tallest, coldest, most desolate bridge in town.

10. Everything – absolutely everything – needs a creative touch. From your beer labels, to unique bottle shapes to your giveaways. Adding fun touches and trends will give your brewery, an edge up on the competition.

11. Host a “Bike Night” for your craft beer marketing. Whether your customers ride touring bikes, tandems, push scooters, recumbents or even motorcycles, invite them in for a contest, beer and eats. Bikers are obsessed with their wheels and can’t wait to show them off; not to mention who can pass up free food? If you don’t have a kitchen, you can always have it catered – a good way to partner with a local business.

12. Sponsor a sports team. And we’re going to say it…NOT a Little League. Local breweries can get good publicity and create valuable goodwill by sponsoring a local team. Invite the entire adult team over after the games and offer some a special preview beer or an appetizer promotion.

13. Everyone occasionally feels generous. Go with that feeling and sponsor a notable event by donating a free keg to high-profile gatherings and charity functions. You’ve just made an unforgettable impression!

14. Get some free press by asking a local blogger to review your brewery in return for a free bar tab. The outside link will help with rankings, and the positive review will help your reputation.

15. Join your local chamber of commerce. Be an active member, networking at Business After Hour events, benefiting from lunch and learns, etc. The possibilities are endless, and you have all the local business people at your fingertips.

16. Brewery tours are a great way to build brand loyalty by educating the non-craft beer drinkers on the amazingness of beer. 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 brews.

17. Did you know over 100 million people use Snapchat every day? Obviously, it’s time for your business to Snapchat with the 21+ crowd. Try sponsoring an overlay with your logo when users snap from your location. Overlays are easily created with as little as your logo, slogan or address. Create fun options so users get a choice and change them up often.

In the end it is the quality of your product that will speak for itself, but you need to get people over your threshold with effective craft beer marketing strategies. We hope you’ll find these DIY brewery marketing ideas to get great returns from your craft brewery marketing plan.

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