No Shit. There I Was at Craft Brewers Conference with a Giant iPhone and 150 Taps…

What’s not to like about craft beer?

The Craft Beer industry thrives upon creativity and the desire to make beer that goes above and beyond the expectations created by experiencing the fizzy, yellow stuff some think of as “beer”.

As more and more discover the flavorful creations being bottled and canned by the more than 1900 craft breweries in the United States, the industry is growing. Fast. And deservedly so. We are too.

Our booth and giant iPhone at #cbc12

While our growth isn’t on par with that of Founder’s or the breweries expanding east such as New Belgium, Sierra Nevada, Oskar Blues, (all of whom are adding a second brewery in North Carolina) and Lagunitas (Expanding to Chicago-land), we have recently expanded our team (with more to follow) and have started working with more and more craft breweries and events including Asheville Beer Week and Portland Beer Week. Yes, you could say we are pretty fired-up!

Drinking craft beer is part of the company culture here at Digital Relativity HQ. We have a well-stocked set of coolers, and are lucky to have a nice little bottle shop next door. As members of the Brewers Association, we thought it was time to reach-out and exhibit at the ‘Olympics of Craft Beer‘. So, you likely understand our excitement as we packed-up the giant iPhone and headed to the Craft Brewers Conference in San Diego. The opportunity to talk digital marketing AND craft beer? Sign me up.

Does Craft Beer Really Need Digital Marketing? You Decide.

This was just one section of the 150 taps!

Each evening at the Craft Brewers Conference, a special hospitality tasting area was available which included 150 unique craft beer taps. 150! Can you say Brewmaggedon? Beergasm?

The list of beers available for tasting was an intimidating (in a good way) list of some of the best craft beers available anywhere.

Trying to decide which beers to taste was a difficult decision. There were many on the list I had long looked forward to trying, for others I relied on what those around me were suggesting.

Yes, real-life word of mouth marketing. These were suggestions from a group of the world’s best and brightest craft brewers and journalists. People with opinions I trust. People with suggestions I would be wise to take.

Decisions, Decisions....

For Example:

  • Caitlin Jewell and Jeff Leiter from Slumbrew suggested Ballast Point’s Victory at Sea. This was an incredible Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter, that I returned to sample several times. Jeff was correct in saying, “That keg won’t last much longer”. It was an incredible beer!
  • The Team at San Tan Brewing suggested Red Poppy from The Lost Abbey. A beer that I normally would have overlooked, this was an amazing example of a Flanders-style Red.

This same type of marketing takes place every day in digital marketing. What people say on Twitter, Facebook, Beer Advocate and Untappd are the same type of factors that influence the purchasing of craft beers plucked from the crowded shelves of bottle shops all across the land. We provided some examples of this with supporting data on our trade show display, which you can download as a PDF.

It was a great time making new friends, trying new beers and talking digital marketing at Craft Brewers Conference. We are already looking forward to CBC 2013, held a bit closer to home this time, in Washington DC. The announcement of our Digital Marketing Make-Over winner will be coming by the end of the week.