Craft Breweries: 12 Tips and Strategies for Marketing

Craft breweries are booming like never before! If you are in this space, you know that marketing your craft brewery can make all the difference in staying competitive. Growth continues in the brewery industry, according to trend reports. Looking for some marketing ideas and strategies to make your brewery stand out, bring in new customers, and build brand loyalty? We've got a comprehensive list here that will get you brewing up more business.

Apr 25, 2024 - 11:23
Apr 25, 2024 - 11:24
Craft Breweries: 12 Tips and Strategies for Marketing

Craft breweries are booming like never before! If you are in this space, you know that marketing your craft brewery can make all the difference in staying competitive. Growth continues in the brewery industry, according to trend reports. Looking for some marketing ideas and strategies to make your brewery stand out, bring in new customers, and build brand loyalty? We’ve got a comprehensive list here that will get you brewing up more business.

How Much Should a Brewery Spend on Marketing?

The amount a brewery should spend on marketing can vary widely depending on several factors including the size of the business, the competitive landscape, growth goals, and the specific market conditions. Here’s a general breakdown to help guide your decision:

  • Percentage of Revenue: A common guideline is for businesses to allocate around 7-8% of their gross revenue to marketing if they’re aiming to maintain their current position and visibility in the market. For growth or to gain a larger market share, this could increase to 10-20%. For smaller or start-up breweries, this percentage might be higher as they work to establish their brand.
  • Industry Benchmarks: Within the craft beer industry, some breweries might spend significantly on marketing to carve out a niche or differentiate themselves from competitors. The actual amount can also depend on whether the marketing is primarily local, regional, or national.
  • Goals and Objectives: The specific goals you have for your brewery will influence your marketing budget. For instance, launching a new product, entering a new market, or building a more robust online presence could require more substantial investments.
  • Digital vs. Traditional Marketing: The mix of digital and traditional marketing strategies can also affect costs. Digital marketing might be more cost-effective and measurable, but traditional methods like events, sponsorships, and print advertising play a significant role in local community engagement for breweries.
  • Resources and Capabilities: Consider what marketing activities you can manage in-house versus what you might need to outsource. In-house capabilities can reduce costs but may limit your marketing’s reach and effectiveness without the appropriate expertise.

Top Brewery Marketing Strategies 

1. Get Noticed on Social Media

Most customers who enjoy craft breweries also follow brands on social media to stay on top of the latest product and event news – and to get the inside scoop on the culture behind the beer! If you only post up-close shots of your latest canned variety or your open hours, you’re not leveraging social media platforms to their potential.

Sure, maybe your beer is delicious and refreshing, but what’s your process for naming a new one? What does your brewery space look like? Who are the people working creatively behind the scenes? Your social media pages are great places to put all this on display while staying true to the aesthetic of your company’s branding. Think about running a contest and engaging with your loyal followers. If you have even a bit of a budget, turn some high-performing posts into targeted social ads to attract new fans.

2. Partner with Local Businesses

Word of mouth is one of the most effective marketing tools around. Widen your organic reach by partnering with local restaurants and businesses. Even if a local business doesn’t choose to stock your beer at their establishment, they can still be beneficial by teaming up on events or fundraisers. Consider donating beer or offering a discount to get your brand out there.

If you also host events at your brewery, you can consider partnering with local vendors for a preferred program. This way, you can refer these businesses to clients for an event at your venue and vice versa.

3. Be Active in Your Community 

The odds are that your location has abundant community events on any given weekend. Be on the lookout, whether it’s an outdoor festival, a weekly food truck park, or something in between. Check out your local paper, chamber of commerce calendar, or coffee shop message board, and see what events are coming up.

You can note these dates in your Tripleseat event calendar for team awareness. Then, contact the coordinators and see if they still need vendors or sponsors. Even if it’s too late to participate, you can keep these annual events on your radar to ensure you’ve got a booth, a keg, or a cooler at them the next time around.

4. Focus on What Makes Your Brewery Unique

The secret to success when there are a lot of craft breweries out there is to make sure your brand stands out. Do you work with local artists on label designs or use a rare ingredient for your summer ale? Use these remarkable aspects of your business to your advantage! 

Alternatively, you can use your culture to stand apart. People love brands that show their human side. Think about the journey to create your craft brewery. There’s almost no chance the road was identical to someone else’s. That makes your story unique, and it’s worth exciting!

5. Launch a Newsletter

We know that running a brewery takes time, and you don’t have much to spare. However, creating a brief newsletter, even if you only send it once a month, can significantly impact your business. Case in point: For every $1 spent on email marketing, approximately $36 is made in return.

There are a few tactics that’ll help ensure your newsletter is successful. First, consider what you want to say and what readers want to know. Even if you don’t have a big new release to announce, you can refresh readers about your latest brewery offerings. You can also include info about tour options and keep people posted on where they can buy your beers around town. Please make the subject line catchy, but keep it clean, folks! Don’t forget to include all your social media links at the bottom. Lastly, add hyperlinks if people want to know more about anything you mention.

6. Hosting Events Makes for Great Brewery Marketing

Oddly, if you host brewery tours, you can also host live events. Even a themed night, like a weekly “yappy hour” where patrons can bring their dogs to your brewery, can help generate some decent buzz. Take a look at your space. If you have an area conducive to even a small gathering, it’s an excellent opportunity to market yourself as a venue for others to host their events. Do you have a patio, outdoor lawn, or enough space for a few high-top tables and chairs? Even better.

If the idea of launching an events program is overwhelming, don’t despair! With its powerful features and intuitive interface, Tripleseat helps you simplify booking. Not only will you be able to enhance communication, but you’ll also be able to elevate your overall event-planning experience. Joining an online directory like EventUp is one of the most beneficial ways to get your brewery in front of brand-new patrons searching for a non-traditional space. You create a venue profile, add your photos, details, and sample menus, and ready your team to respond quickly to incoming leads. You can even take things further by creating and sending out a simple, informative event packet.

7. Highlight Brewery Fun

Brewery brands with the most effective marketing strategies don’t take themselves too seriously. After all, beer should be associated with having a good time — kicking back, laughing, and being with people you enjoy.

Don’t be afraid to flex some creative muscles. Repost (with permission) a tagged photo someone posted of your latest brew next to a dog on a sunny patio. Snap a shot of someone enjoying one of your libations at the beach. Is it one of those food holidays, like National Ice Cream Day? Post on Facebook how great your coffee stout pairs are with a scoop of Rocky Road and a great photo.

8. Connect with Industry Publications

There are a ton of publications out there covering the craft beer industry, from Bar Business Magazine to Good Beer Hunting and plenty more. Reach out to these publications and tell them who you are, what you do, and what sets you apart. The odds are more in your favor for a positive response if you add a timely hook that’ll make covering your brand newsworthy.

Also, you can always inquire about web or print ads to help spread the word about your offerings. It’s also worth looking into local publications outside of industry publications, mainly if they publish special issues or features about the beer or food-and-beverage industries, which is a potential extra dose of exposure.

9. Leverage a PR Firm

If you have the marketing budget, hiring a PR firm is a near-guaranteed way to drum up additional business. A PR agency can release press releases when newsworthy developments hit, like releasing a new beer recipe or expanding your space.

They can also put your name as a source for reporters covering the craft beer scene. These pieces almost always need experts to quote, and your PR team should be able to promote you as a critical player in the craft brewery industry.

There’s no magic formula to ensure your business’s success. But, as long as you churn out products you’re proud of, stay true to your company’s mission, committed to excellent customer service, and do what you can to spread the word, you’ll be in a position to keep business a-brewin’ for years to come.

10. Offer Tours and Tastings

Offering tours and tastings is a highly effective strategy for your brewery to engage directly with your audience, showcase the intricacies of your brewing process, and highlight the uniqueness of your product offerings. Organize regular scheduled tours that allow visitors to explore the facilities, learn about the brewing equipment, and understand the craft behind each beer. These tours can conclude with a tasting session where participants sample various brews, guided by knowledgeable staff who can explain the distinct flavors, brewing techniques, and the story behind each beer. You can enhance this experience by including special events such as “Meet the Brewer” nights, pairing workshops with local cuisine, food trucks, or even brewing classes that invite enthusiasts to be part of the brewing process. Such activities not only enrich the customer experience but also foster a deeper connection with the brand, encouraging word-of-mouth promotion and repeat visits.

11. Invest in Quality Merchandise

Offering branded merchandise like t-shirts, hats, glasses, and other items is a smart strategy for breweries like you looking to enhance their brand visibility and create additional revenue streams. When customers wear or use these products, they become walking billboards, showcasing your brewery’s brand to a wider audience. This form of passive advertising can significantly increase a brand’s reach, as each item carried or worn in public can attract new customers who might be curious about the brewery. Beyond advertising, selling branded merchandise can also provide a stable source of income that complements traditional beer sales. It allows breweries to capitalize on their brand’s popularity, turning customer loyalty into a profitable venture. By creating high-quality, attractive merchandise, not only do you boost sales but also strengthen your connection with customers, encouraging a sense of community and belonging among fans of your brews.

12. Focus on SEO and Local Search

Optimizing your brewery’s website for search engines is crucial in ensuring that potential customers can easily find you online. A strong focus on local SEO practices is particularly important for breweries, as it helps attract local beer enthusiasts who are most likely to visit. To enhance local SEO, ensure that your website includes region-specific keywords, your business’s address, and local content that resonates with your community. Additionally, registering your brewery with Google My Business and other local directories can significantly boost visibility. These listings help improve search engine rankings and provide potential customers with essential information like your location, hours, and services. Regular updates with fresh content, such as blog posts about local events or new beer releases, can also keep your website dynamic and engaging, further improving your SEO efforts and keeping your brewery top of mind for local beer lovers.

Ready to Market Your Craft Brewery?

Once you start generating awareness for your brewery, grow your event bookings. Schedule a Tripleseat demo to closely examine our event management features.