By Clare Goggin Sivits On June 12, 2023

The Key to Beer Branding and Marketing

The ingredients you need for your beer – they’re pretty standard and straightforward. You know you can craft a fine beverage with just grain, hops, yeast and water, drawing out the citrus or malty flavors as needed in the process. However, brewing up a good marketing and branding strategy for your brewery? That pulls a much longer ingredient list and requires an entirely different set of skills to draw out the right notes.

Crafting a brewery marketing plan requires a solid understanding of your audience, your purpose and all of the tactics involved with getting your beer in front of the right people. It also runs into a lot of challenges, particularly the legal kind. First, there are the federal regulations from the TTB that any brewery must adhere to but every state has its own set of laws around alcohol marketing. California in particular has very strict tied house laws that severely limit how a brewery can market its products to Californians.

Navigating marketing plans, tactics and laws demands a level of attention that a brewer may not have the capacity for. That’s why getting some help with the beer marketing end of the job is a good idea. Hiring skilled marketers – or a beer branding agency – will help you weather the storm ahead.

If you’re curious about all the work that goes into a solid brewery branding and marketing strategy, we’ve broken it down for you below.

Brewery Branding Development

Those hops you carefully selected for your latest brew, you know them inside and out. You can name the aromas and flavors they’ll infuse into a beer and exactly when to add them during the brewing process. In a way, the hops have a personality that you understand and may even relate to. A brewery brand needs to showcase a personality too – and relate to its audience.

In order to craft a brand personality and identity that fits your brewery, it’s wise to not only consider your vision and mission but also your ideal audience. One method to nail this down is to explore Brand Archetypes. Perhaps your brewery is part Hero and part Jester. How does that come to life? Set up a workshop with us and we’ll explore that question with you.

During a brewery branding workshop, we establish your brand’s purpose, values and that personality we were just talking about. Ultimately, we take what we learn and collaborate with you to write your brand’s story and define that target market for you.

Once you have these tools in your back pocket, you’ll know exactly who to target with your advertising, content, design or whatever marketing tactics you may pursue. If you decide to work with an alcohol marketing agency to achieve all of these marketing goals, we have some tips for you.

Beer Bottle and Label Design

It’s a crowded retail shelf when it comes to beer. Brewers need products to stand out from the crowd. Blending your brewery brand with an eye-catching design will win you customers and help you attract that key customer you’re looking for. The right designer will help you meet that goal while creating a design that you can be excited about.

Of course, any beer label must also meet the complex regulations set by the TTB. Any bottle or label design needs to build a strategy to deal with feedback from the federal agency while keeping the overall design intact and meeting deadlines to keep you on track. Luckily the bureau has a guide that can set you on the right track.

With help from a professional, you’ll find the right balance of brand design, storytelling and legally required messaging to occupy your label. You’ll also get to pair that label with a well-designed bottle by working with a talented vendor.

Beer Product Photography

Now that your bottle has packaging, you’ll want to showcase it – on film. We recommend booking a photoshoot with a professional photographer but also meeting with them to determine the right photography style for your brand. By determining that ahead of time, you’ll save yourself time and money at the actual shoot.

Ahead of that shoot, it’s also wise to determine your specific photo needs. Many beer marketing companies offer guidance and product styling on the day of the shoot.

For instance, we can help you determine if you need isolated bottle shots for your website or online listings. Or do you need lifestyle images for social media purposes and blog posts? You may also need images for sell sheets and additional printed materials. Be clear about your needs with the photographer and confirm that you will get everything you need from the photoshoot.

Brewery Tasting or Tap Room Set Up

Depending on the regulations in your state, you may only have a tasting room to welcome guests. However, many states will allow breweries to host full tap rooms. Whatever space you have, set it up in a way that welcomes guests to your location and draws them in to learn even more about your products.

The overall design is important, of course. You’ll want a comfortable aesthetic but you also need to provide materials that encourage sales. Printed menus, beer lists, coasters and other tactile assets that you can put in your customers’ hands once you get them through a door will help you leave a lasting impression. Don’t overlook your flight menus – maybe even invite customers to fill out a sheet to select the beers they’d like in their flight.

Brewery Website Creation and SEO

Whether customers can experience your tasting or tap room in person or not, you need to give them a virtual destination to explore your brand even more. That’s where the website comes in. By developing a central online location for all of your products and your brand story, you can control the look and feel of you online presence. An experienced web designer can help you navigate the elements you need on your website.

An about page is a very important piece of your website that should tell your brand story but also humanize your brewery. Introduce the people behind the beer so that you can relate as humans to your customers. But don’t forget to showcase your products through product pages. Maybe even give your visitors a peek behind the scenes and publish photos of the process, the equipment and the brewers.

Content and Social Media

Once your brewery website goes live, it’s important to keep your name ranking on Google. To make that happen, you need a solid SEO or search engine optimization plan. That involves incorporating relevant search terms that will lead potential customers to your website while also keeping your content fresh through regular blog posts or other content updates. Any content marketing strategy should include tactics for keeping website content fresh.

Content extends to your social media too. It should act as an extension of your website in many ways – getting your brand and products in front of customers where they spend their time. A little research will help you determine which platforms to focus on – the ones where your ideal consumers spend much of their time. From there, craft your messaging into social media posts and build out a calendar to keep your posting cadence consistent.

Know the Rules

Whether you’re marketing your beer in Yonkers, Tucson or Sacramento, you need to adhere to the rules and regulations both locally and federally. The list of rules and regulations you’ll need to follow can be intimidating but with the right partners, you can work those limitations into your marketing and branding plans and still deliver successful results.

If you’re looking for a beer branding agency contact us and we’ll walk you through the whole process. We can’t wait to learn more about your beer and your business.

Clare Goggin Sivits

As a marketer with a strong writing background, Clare Goggin Sivits has worked in the beer, spirits, and wine industries for nearly a decade. She oversaw digital marketing for a small wine startup as well as a craft brewery and distillery with a nationwide footprint. A Florida ex-pat, Clare now lives in Portland, Oregon, and continues to write about craft beverage marketing and the industry as a whole.

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