To follow Chris’s previous post, I thought it would be worth while sharing my two cents on beer marketing. For those who do not know, I am a marketer by day and a passionate beer drinker by night. Small businesses, including many craft breweries, often have an under funded marketing department – often meaning one guy runs the entire show. As a marketer I feel the pain that these beer marketers go through; working on a shoe string budget is tough, but a creative individual should be able to put together and execute an effective marketing plan on a tight budget. As a consumer, I have little patience for poor marketing – especially poor beer marketing.
Sadly, with the sheer amount of information available to anyone with a computer and an internet connection, the general public can easily be misled by marketers trying to sell a product. In a world ripe with information, the truth can be hard to find.
As our chosen domain name may suggest, we love good beer. Both Chris and I welcome press releases from breweries both large and small, but to receive our support I suggest reviewing the following guidelines.
- Good products sell themselves. The best marketing strategy is to offer a good product. Do not in any way allow a marketing strategy to compromise the quality of the product. If beer is the product, do not use green bottles or clear bottles – the beer will soon taste like a skunk. I cannot imagine any accomplished brewmasters choosing clear bottles over brown bottles; they know full well that their beer will taste like a skunk after being exposed to light – who drinks beer in the dark? But I can see a marketer deciding to differentiate their beer from the others by packing their own brand of beer in a clear bottle or a bottle tinted to match a corporate brand. To those in the beer marketing world – you know who you are, please refrain. To consumers, do not put up with this shoddy packaging. Contact the offending breweries and let them know you will not put up with this any longer.
- Size does not matter. Many craft breweries will lead consumers to believe that their beer is superior to macro brewed beer simply because their beer is brewed in small quantities. This is just not true. Many small breweries produce terrible beer and some large breweries produce fantastic beer. Craft beer does not mean quality, craft beer means small quantity. Do not reach for a six pack simply because it is labeled “craft beer” reach for a six pack because it tastes good.
- Be passionate. In order to create good beer and successfully promote good beer the entire staff at a brewery must be passionate about beer. Beer drinkers are some of the most passionate and dedicated people I have met. Beer drinkers even go so far as to form clubs with the primary goal of promoting good beer to the world. If a passionate beer drinker discovers a tasty new beer, it can be guaranteed they will tell all of their friends. Beer marketers: if a press release is sent out to a wide array of beer writers, and they send a question in response to the press release, please respond to the email. If no email is sent back in response to a question, all I can assume is that the original sender could care less about their product – they just want to achieve sales targets.
Sybil from Steam Whistle, please do not take this as an attack on your beer or your marketing approach – I happen to enjoy Steam Whistle Pilsner, but I would appreciate a brown bottle version. The only real rule to live by is to drink good beer. Not beer that marketers tell you is good, but beer that your taste buds tell you is good.