Brewery Marketing: Finding Customers Outside Of Beer

There’s this tactic in marketing where you deliberately target your customer in a different space.

Brewery Marketing Finding Customers Outside of Beer

It could be to save money on advertising, it could be to increase the chances of making a sale but the point is to make the customer aware of your product or service in an atypical setting, usually where competition is lower.

An example: you sell barbecues. A large portion of your barbecue-loving potential customers also love sports cars. So instead of taking your products to a barbecue showdown or a trade show, you take them to a sports car meet. There are no other barbecue sales people there so competition is low and you can generate a few leads and maybe even make some sales.

The same applies to advertising on social media. You can target customers with overlapping interests in spaces where you can stand out from the noise and ad clicks are cheaper.

Relevance To Beer

So what relevance does this have to beer?

Well, I think there’s an opportunity for breweries. Beer is such a major cultural phenomenon. And it’s so closely linked to many other pastimes; sport, food, the outdoors, and much more.

I recently heard of an extreme examples of this. There’s an American brewery whose whole brand is built around the second amendment, about the right to bear arms, about American “freedom” and gun culture.

It’s not something that I agree with and the association between alcohol and firearms is a slippery slope, with potential damage to beer’s reputation and more importantly, lives. But the overlap in American society seems an obvious one.

(Incidentally, this isn’t the first example I’ve seen of this particular association. I was recently in a part of California where the local brewpub was themed around the same thing. I was open to visiting but didn’t on the advice of a beer and gun-loving relative who told me the beer wasn’t up to much).

It doesn’t take a huge leap of imagination to guess that there’s a large overlap between sections of the American population that love craft beer and love guns. In a market which is so competitive for beer, it makes sense to try and target customers outside of the typical craft beer circles. Instead, breweries can find customers in a different place, through a different hobby.

Gimmick Vs Philosophy

To develop a whole brand around a theme is probably taking the concept a bit far.

Themed breweries will always been seen as a gimmick by “serious” beer drinkers. But there are plenty of potential customers outside of such circles.

Admittedly, we’re a long way off seeing a brewery in Australia themed around AFL or NRL (although Asahi’s Cricketer’s Arms brand seems like a half-arsed attempt at tapping into a section of Australian sporting culture).

However, I don’t think it’ll be too long before we see breweries trying harder to market their brand and their beers in different spaces. We often see breweries with stalls at farmers markets or local festivals, and Young Henrys brewed a beer for Comic-Con. The overlap makes sense.

Surely it’s not long until we see breweries tapping into the hype around music festivals or major sporting events. There are plenty of potential customers who like good beer but typically spend their time outside of craft beer circles. There’s an untapped market for breweries whose intention is to grow.

The issue is that it has to be done with authenticity. There has to be a genuine alignment with how the brewery portrays itself and how the people behind the beer think and act. Any attempt otherwise to integrate with or evoke a popular pastime will be seen as a gimmick .

There Are Opportunities Out There

Venues are probably more in tune with this already. They’re better at promoting events in tandem with big sports games and public holidays but they need to attract customers to them. They can’t get out into the wild like breweries can.

Imagine a mobile 4 Pines truck bar at a big footy game, Modus Operandi serving beer at a surf competition or Akasha pouring at a barbecue event. We’ve seen the occasional pop-up bar here and there, such as Rocks Brewing serving coffee beers at the Aroma Festival in the past, but there are plenty of opportunities for smaller breweries to do the same.

If customers have an exciting and unexpected beer experience, they’ll remember the brewery name and look out for their beers next time.

Have you seen breweries market their beers in unusual places? Where are there overlaps in people’s interests which breweries could tap into? Leave a comment and let me know what you think.