Beer Festival Branding and Marketing

Beer festivals present some of the greatest opportunities for connecting with your ardent fans. The opportunity to ask a question, or simply say thanks, to the people that are responsible for creating all of the wonderful craft beers we have come to enjoy is, unfortunately, uncommon.

Dogfishhead 120 Minute IPARecently at the Denver Rare Beer Tasting, my 120 Minute IPA was Randalized and poured by Sam Calagione. A pour of Lost Abbey’s The Angel Share by Tomme Arthur? Are you serious?! One-to-one conversations with the people making the beer is what beer drinkers love. It is why responses from brewers via social channels is such a powerful tool in building brand advocates.

Festivals also present many other great opportunities for craft brewers. Namely, connecting your brand with the beer drinking public.

4 amazing examples of breweries taking advantage of that opportunity at GABF:

OSKAR BLUES is widely known as the first craft beer in a can. Their can necklaces are omnipresent at beer festivals. It is hard to be at any festival, look in any direction and not see a can around a festival-goers neck.

BEAR REPUBLIC  has strong ties to cars and racing. Just look at many of their beer names: Racer 5, Racer X, Cafe Racer 15. Visit their pub, and you will find checkered flags and car hoods. It is part of their brewery culture. This was reinforced at GABF 2012 as they had their Shelby Cobra on display next to their booth, people in there love their cars and protect them, even get insurance for them from online sites as One Sure Insurance.  While the car was on hiatus in 2013, my guess is, you can expect to see it again next year!

SIERRA NEVADA brought along their famed beer bike, which they use during brewery tours. You can sit, pedal and enjoy a freshly poured beer, right in their booth just as you would in touring their famed brewery.

St Arnold Brewing Co.SAINT ARNOLD BREWING COMPANY presented one of the best festival marketing examples at GABF 2013. It was fun, memorable and connected the consumer to their brand. On the floor of the festival, immediately next to where they were pouring samples of their beers, a 10 x 10 chapel was constructed, and Saint Arnold, the patron saint of brewing, was performing faux marriages.

There was a persistent line of people waiting to partake in the fun, where Saint Arnold provided some entertaining nuptials related to beer, which was made official with each couple putting on bottle-opener wedding bands.

Was it fun? You bet. Entertaining? Of course. Memorable? Absolutely. My wife and I will remember “renewing our vows” for a very long time, and the shared photos of the fun turned us into happy brand advocates for Saint Arnold. I know that everyone that was around us was also having fun, including the incredibly excited couple in front of us, who joyfully proclaimed, “We’re gonna get fake married up in this bitch!”

So next time you go to a festival, think about what you want people to know about your brand and get creative.