10 Key Ingredients for Craft Beer Success<br />Blocking and tackling<br />Have a home base<br />Create conversation opportunities<br />Authentic story<br />On-premise strength<br />Feet on the street<br />Exploit the power of influencers<br />Activate the icon<br />The marketing is baked in<br />Listen to your gut<br />
Blocking and tackling<br />Most craft beer brands have extremely small budgets so the first marketing allocation goes toward tools that directly help sell beer - POS<br />POS is always first on the distributor wish list. If they don’t have any tools to sell with, they don’t sell.<br />Craft beers also pay a higher price for higher quality/bigger/more unique POS pieces.<br />Examples: Sweetwater, New Belgium, Odell <br />
Have a home base<br />Being that authenticity is so important, successful craft beer brands focus their efforts around their brewery where their story is more meaningful to consumers.<br />It’s easier to activate the brand’s story in a home market:<br />It’s repeated more often (by brewery employees)<br />It is reinforced via brewery tours<br />Craft brewers are also more profitable if they sell a higher percentage of their beer in their home market.<br />Expansion is not made until there is sufficient consumer demand in adjacent markets<br />Examples: Summit, Harpoon, Bell’s, Abita, Boulevard<br />
Create conversation opportunities<br />Craft beer brands are built on conversations. One consumer at a time.<br />The story and the passion in which it is presented is critical. Craft beer consumers respond to small companies that have deep passion for their business<br />Consumer interactions are best when they are with the brand’s “religious zealot” or spokesperson. Jim Koch for Sam Adams, Garrett Oliver for Brooklyn and Sam Caligione for Dogfish Head are great examples.<br />Conversation opportunities:<br />Beer festivals <br />On-premise promotions<br />Off-premise hand-sells<br />Social Media<br />
Authentic story<br />Growing craft beer brands have an authentic story at the root of their communication.<br />More importantly, they live it.<br />Employees don’t forcefully tell stories, they live them.<br />People who represent the brand ARE the brand.<br />Examples: New Belgium, Dogfish Head, Sweetwater, Stone <br />
On-premise strength<br />On-premise strength = off-premise pricing power.<br />Craft brands that are weak in the on-premise channel never get the respect needed to become a power brand<br />On-premise strength also leads to sampling, credibility and top of mind awareness<br />Example: Brooklyn, Goose Island<br />
Feet on the street<br />Craft beer brands need people in the market to build distribution and interact with consumers.<br />Distributors cannot be relied upon to build awareness or execute promotions<br />Representation in market adds to the brand authenticity<br />Distributors take craft brands more serious when there is representation in market.<br />The feet on the street are there for sales and marketing execution<br />Example: Sam Adams, New Belgium, Magic Hat<br />
Exploit the power of Influencers<br />The only craft beer brand that advertises nationally is Sam Adams. Outside of some print in niche print publications, most craft beer brands rely on word of mouth to build their brand.<br />Many craft beer brands dramatically overspend on influencer consumers<br />Influencers are viewed amongst their friends, family and co-workers as knowing the trends and what’s new and exciting<br />Craft beer is a segment that offers more than the image-based brands<br />Influencers are credible<br />There are various ways to reach influencer consumers:<br />Heavy sampling – give them beer to give to people<br />Support their passions<br />In-depth product experience (brewery tours, behind the scenes)<br />Make them feel like they have a say in the brand<br />Examples: Flying Dog, Sweetwater, PBR<br />
Activate the icon<br />“Big” sales promotions are mostly ineffective<br />Consumers don’t expect them from “upstart” craft brands<br />Budgets prevent many brands from being able to do this<br />Craft brands must be creative and bring the spirit of the brand to life at retail by activating their “icon”<br />Fat Tire = cruiser bike<br />Sweetwater = fish sculpture<br />Shiner Bock = Mountain Goat<br />Goose Island = Goose<br />Craft beer brands also have success bringing their “icon” to life via branded events<br />Tour de Fat<br />Bocktoberfest<br />GonzoFest<br />Magic Hat Mardi Gras<br />Examples: New Belgium, Sweetwater, Stone, Magic Hat <br />
The marketing is baked in<br />Craft beer brands don’t have big enough marketing budgets to build awareness, adoption and loyalty the traditional way. Craft brands have to be remarkable so that consumers experiment and recommend to others.<br />The remarkable nature needs to be in the product itself, not the marketing.<br />Example: Dogfish Head, New Glarus, <br />
Listen to your gut<br />Very few successful craft beer brands are grounded in deep consumer insights (Blue Moon is the only one that comes to mind). Most are built on passion and are the product of someone’s lifelong dream. The people who build these brands NEVER have consumer research to support their decisions, they just do what they want to do and they bring it to life through hard work and dedication. Craft beer is truly a business where passion ALWAYS wins.<br />Examples: Dogfish Head, Sam Adams, Stone, Widmer, Magic Hat, Boulevard, <br />
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