4 ways to get your Craft Beer noticed
There are more craft breweries operating in the UK than at any time in the last 100 years or so. But with more brew choices for consumers, it may mean it is becoming harder to get a new brewer noticed – and its products drunk.
What’s more, with the growing taste for real ale changing the rules of the market, the big beer companies are buying up dozens of small brewers. This has left many craft beer brands with a big question - how can they stand out without selling out?
We are looking at some trends which can help you and your business gain new customers, build loyalty - and enhance profitability.
1. Start a brewery club
Fan clubs have always attracted enthusiasts, and having club programmes that offer discounts and giveaways can work as well for your microbrewery as it did for rock stars a few decades ago, and it is already a major money earning idea in the wine industry.
You can make your membership club enticing to enthusiastic drinkers and an important revenue stream for your business by providing the membership perks to the next level. Give members early access to bottle releases or even discounted tickets to events where you will be present, to make sure it is your stall they are heading to at those thirsty summer open-air festivals!
Exclusive events such as invitation-only release parties, and first access to general-public ticket sales or VIP tickets, can also work really well.
In the US, members pay yearly subscriptions simply to be members of brewery clubs. In return, they receive different beers in the mail several times a year. Setting up something similar in the UK may be something of a logistical challenge, but it could be worth considering – although you will probably need an outside agency to run your club for you.
2. Support in your community
Regional brewers have a cult following. A trip to Suffolk without a pint from Greene King is unthinkable, as is Oxfordshire without a Speckled Hen. Cult favourite craft brewers often forget to maintain their growing brand’s connection with their local roots. Brews and brewery events focused on community help strengthen their connection with fans.
Local ingredients, folklore and above all presence, are key to building community support. Large - but still local - brewers like McMullens in Hertford have a long heritage in the local area, which they support with a presence at events, and a traditional horse dray. As a microbrewer, you may not have the resources to keep a team, but you could ensure that a vehicle with your livery was present at every local event.
If you run a local brewery, you can also deepen your community connection by partnering with other local organisations for events. A mobile beer bar can be ideal - having an older commercial vehicle with character can send a message about the heritage of your wares, and help ensure that you are certain to be the first point of call for refreshments at fetes and other events. You may need to make a charitable contribution, but you can expect to sell ale and gain valuable returning customers for your wares.
It can also help to ensure that your brew is asked for in local pubs and retailers.
A small event that makes a little money and showcases your beer in top condition and properly served can pay a dividend in increased sales for weeks, months and even years afterwards.
Are you looking to grow your presence in the craft beer market and reach more people with your produce? Do you need additional capital to support additional equipment or marketing? Find out more about the funding options available for microbreweries
3. Giving back
Many younger drinkers - including the all-important millennials - believe that it is important that the brands they support give back to society instead of just making a profit.
As a brewer in the craft beer industry, this could be as simple as donating a portion of proceeds to a local charity – and being seen to do so. But there are many options for more thorough partnerships with local causes – helping support the previous point.
Sponsoring clean-up days, participating in fundraisers, and being on-hand to provide refreshment whenever an opportunity arises is simply good business sense. Your aim with any beer event is to help people have a good time while elevating your own brand and presence. Becoming a pillar of the community is exactly the sort of giving back that your core target market wants to see.
4. Going alcohol-free
Alcohol-free beer can seem like a contradiction – but it can make very good sense to ensure that you offer an alcohol-free version alongside your more traditional brews.
Those who already know your beer – but who are driving – will appreciate the chance to enjoy your wares, and those not old enough to enjoy the real thing can enjoy the sophistication of drinking something other than fizzy pop.
Brand loyalty is an important value in the modern world, and going alcohol-free can help you introduce your brand and your brew to may potential customers who might otherwise not be able to partake.
What will it all cost?
Of course, all these ideas will have some costs attached. Setting up a loyalty club will mean some investment, and if you have to call in the skills of a marketing agency to ensure everything runs smoothly while you get on with the serious business of brewing, so be it.
Having a presence at community events will mean costs for a stall at the very least, and you probably can't expect staff to give up evenings and weekends without payment. If you have to run an old vehicle for events and displays there will be capital costs, and if you are not currently producing an alcohol-free brew, you may need to invest in another production line to do so.
You need to look carefully at the costs, and how you will cover them.
The funding you need for your microbrewery business
At Rangewell, we can help you and your brewery business find the finance required for all types of business costs, whether they are to do with the basics of affording production equipment, or the finer points of promotional activity.
Whatever the size of your brewery - and however exciting your plans - at Rangewell, we can provide the scale of funding you need. Simply call us to find out more.