If you drink beer, you probably have a favorite. Sure, quality and style have something to do with your choice—but so does the brand identity of that brand or brewery. When branding and marketing a craft beer, it is important to sell more than just what’s in the can or bottle. Successful brands sell experiences or ideas while appearing approachable, even inviting.
Craft beer needs hops, malt, barley, water, and story. The main ingredients in beer and the beer-making process do not vary widely—this gives you an opportunity to differentiate your brand creatively. Build a strong brand identity, communicate your message, and choose your platforms carefully to get your beer in the hands of future fans.
Find your story
The best beers and breweries have strong stories and personalities behind them. Chances are, if you ignored your parents’ advice and started your own beer brand, you have a story to tell. These stories will build a solid brand identity and help you sell more beer.
If you get stuck, think about why you embarked on your craft beer journey. Did you see a niche that wasn’t being filled by existing brands? Or do you just make a really good brew? Make sure your story resonates with the customers you will target. It’s safe to say not many craft beer enthusiasts will be stoked on a story about how you founded your brand thanks to a small loan of a million dollars from your dad.
Your never-ending beer journey
The best storytellers don’t stop. They keep the story going, with twists and turns in each new installment. This is relevant to your beer marketing! Your origin story isn’t enough to maintain the attention of your target audience. Add more flavor to your story and brand identity by coming up with a few feelings, emotions, or thoughts you want your potential drinkers to have when enjoying your product. Make sure they align with your founding story to create a cohesive identity that consumers can relate to.
Maybe you came up with the idea to start a brewery focusing on fruit-forward sours while on a trip to Belgium. Share your origin story and continue that journey by talking about the influence behind your brand, sharing facts about the beer style and process, or by virtually transporting your audience to another country. Engage your audience with a story that never ends, and they are more likely to stick around.
Share your story with those who want to listen
You can create and tell the best story out there, but if you don’t share it smartly, no one will listen. To make the most impact, tell your story on platforms that your target audience is actually active on. If you choose multiple channels, make sure your brand identity stays consistent to keep your audience tuned in. If you confuse, you lose.
Millennials love craft beer. They also love Instagram. There are countless accounts on the platform belonging to tons of brands, local breweries, enthusiasts, and even haters. It is a great channel to share your story and give your audience a chance to see how your beer is made and what inspired you to make it. Post frequent updates on new brews, collaborations, events, or beer-related musings.
Today, selling beer requires more than good ingredients and a perfected process. Marketing craft beer is like marketing any other luxury good like wine and coffee. You need to tell a good story to become successful. Once you find that origin story, expand on it with related feelings and experiences. Your audience will be intrigued not only by your tasty brew, but also by your relatable and entertaining brand identity.