Brewery in Planning Marketing Tips

Just about every homebrewer I know has dreamed of one day opening their own brewery. The allure of creating something for everyone to enjoy, the smell of brewing beer and hops. Shiny kettles, mash tuns and fermenters. Who doesn’t like shiny objects?!

You likely are familiar with the story of homebrewer Jim Koch founding what is now the largest craft brewery in the United States, Samuel Adams. If you are a beer lover, you undoubtedly know the tale of Sam Calagione, founder of Dogfish Head.  Or perhaps you know the story of your local brewery, also very likely to be founded by homebrewers like Ken and Nate of our local Bridge Brew Works.

While in San Diego at the Craft Brewers Conference, we talked with many creative, energetic folks with “Brewery in Planning” printed just below their name. According to the Brewers Association, there are approximately 915 of them! Think about that number for a moment. It’s not small.

There are nearly 2,000 operating breweries, more than any other time in post-prohibition history. And that number is about to grow significantly when those 915 in the planning stage come on-line. There is a lot of beer planning happening right now!

Your Beer + Digital Marketing = Buzz

As a brewery-in-planning, you have a lot of hats to wear and problems to solve. Where to set up shop? How big of a brew house to build? Cans or bottles?

In fact, you have so many things to take care of that digital marketing is often overlooked. Why? Brewers work within a process that has a clear beginning and end. You brew. You ferment. You package. You drink. While that is admittedly a ridiculous simplification of the process, the point is that brewing operates on a rather linear path.

For some of you that are used to that type of thinking, you logically need a place to start your digital efforts. And that can be the stumbling point for many when it comes to digital marketing. That’s where we come in.

So here you go, your handy-dandy, beer-ified version of getting started in digital marketing.

Claim Your Real Estate

Deciding on your brewery name may be a long, difficult process; however, once you have settled on your brewery name (or narrowed your choices to the final cuts) be sure to start claiming your real estate just like did.

Claim domain names, Twitter handles, and everything else that you possibly can (even if you have no immediate plans to use the profiles) before someone else does. You can use KnowEm to quickly claim profiles across nearly 600 social media sites. The time tools like this will save you is invaluable.

Share Your Story

What is better than enjoying a quality hand-crafted beer? Feeling a connection with the people that make it.

Share your story from the start and people will begin to feel as if they are a part of your brand. It may sound strange, but it’s true. By documenting the growth process, you give people that elusive behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to build a brewery and create hand-crafted beer. People will become invested in you and your story, and they’ll definitely be anxious to try your beer when it’s ready. For an example, take a look at the Facebook page for our brewery-in-planning friends at Ritual Brewing Co., they have some great photos of their brewhouse being delivered.

Using tools like Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and a blog (*on your domain*) to upload pictures, and simple updates will go a long way towards creating demand for your product from the get-go.

Build Social Media into Your Brewery DNA

As a brewery-in-planning, you have a unique opportunity. Build social media participation into your company DNA from day one. Many breweries that are struggling with social media and digital never had the opportunity to build it right into the brewery operations. You do.

Social media is going to change in its shapes and forms; however, it will never go away. Make participation as fundamental as checking the gravity of your wort, and sanitizing your fermenters. It is that important to the long term success of your brewery.

What are some other digital marketing issues that breweries-in-planning must deal with? Or, if you have some tips and advice, be sure to share them in the comments.