There is no doubt that this year will go down as one of the most challenging that small business owners have ever experienced. Breweries and brewpubs are no exception. That said, owners of small breweries who rely mainly on tap rooms are used to making changes to deal with local regulations long before the pandemic hit.
Distribution has always been tricky, and zoning and local ordinances can be complicated for microbreweries. Most small brewers have been busy shuffling and hustling once again as they look into the new year. What are breweries doing to market their small businesses heading into 2021?
Get Your Beer Into Their Beer-Loving Hands
You most likely started your microbrewery because you love brewing beer and wanted to share your beer with like-minded people. The overriding concept of all small business marketing is to get yourself in front of your customers so that they know about you. You should explore all the viable options at your disposal to connect the people who know about your brewery with your beer – even if, for the time being, they’ll probably have to enjoy it at home.
Many small operations have turned to canning and distribution much earlier in their scale-up plans than anticipated. Canning for liquor store distribution in your area is great if it’s possible within your local codes, but canning crowlers for pick up at your location is likely worth the shift of resources.
When people stop by to buy beer, and they know what beer they want, they’re likely to grab a large growler or two that they can enjoy for a while. But crowlers, in a smaller size, allow customers to try a beer before committing to 64 ounces of it. They can buy a few and toss them in the fridge without worry.
Delivery and Online Ordering
If possible, consider hiring or shifting staff to delivery if that’s something you can do in your municipality. People are…people, and many of us are much more likely to do something if it doesn’t involve us getting off our couches in January.
Finding a safe, distanced, non-contact way to let customers buy your beer is a must. Enable online ordering with a scheduled pickup or staff a drive-up pickup in your parking lot during certain hours. In both the online and drive-up environments, be sure to offer an attractive assortment of your merchandise alongside your beer. A quality stoneware beer stein emblazoned with your logo or a t-shirt is an easy impulse purchase to add to beer sale. Make sure to give people the opportunity to buy more of your product!
There are a number of things you can do to elicit excitement in customers and potential customers. Consider the following, for example:
- Talk up upcoming releases or seasonal beers.
- Create a community of people who follow you on social media and love your beer.
- Create exclusivity by inviting fans to join an insiders club.
- Buy a limited-run stoneware beer stein featuring the seasonal ale’s logo and show it off on your Facebook or Instagram pages.
It can’t be stressed enough. Whatever you do to create excitement, don’t forget to market your brand! A good logo lends itself to attractive merchandise that people in your broader neighborhood will want to wear and share like local team pride. Merchandise has the power to turn your true-believers into walking testimonials of your quality product.
Staying Home Is the New Going Out
No one loves it, but right now, staying at home is the new Friday night. Take advantage of the trend of upscaling that’s going on. People know they’ll be home this weekend, but they plan to get takeout because they’re sick of cooking or cook a nice dinner because they’ve got all day – and the six-pack from the liquor store doesn’t have the sense of occasion that a local beer does.
Consider partnering with restaurants in your area to share marketing opportunities. If someone is ordering pizza from the pizzeria near your brewery, remind them that your curbside pickup is right next door. Do the same for the pizza place.
Schedule a food truck for your parking lot and market the hours on your social media and website. When people drive to your location to pick up tacos, they’ll very likely pick up some beer as well.
Good Merchandise Markets Your Business
When you sell quality branded merchandise, your business will benefit from the legions of fans walking around sporting your logo like a billboard. And you can sell the stoneware mugs customers used to drink out of when they enjoyed a beer in your taproom so they can replicate the experience at home.
The key to making branded merchandise work for your business is having a good-looking logo and selling high-demand, high-quality items like hats, hoodies, and beer steins. Grey Fox Pottery has been creating one-of-a-kind branded stoneware mugs for small businesses for decades. We understand the challenges you’re facing because we work with many businesses just like yours. Our minimum order is only 48 pieces – enough to commission steins for every seasonal ale you brew, or we can outfit your entire retail operation. Contact us today to see your logo on a stoneware badge. We can’t wait to help you create merchandise you and your customers will love.