Today we’re talking about how successful brands use content to engage and convert their audience. And what better way to tell that story than to review the content marketing efforts of each of the Top 50 Fastest Growing Craft Breweries as identified in March by the Brewers Association.
the basics – the Market Study
getting crafty – insights and best practices
behind-the-curtain – the marketing-sales relationship
While the Top 50 Fastest Growing Craft Breweries all belong to an elite group of high-performers, their approach to marketing content worth sharing is something that could benefit all craft producers, regardless of industry. In order for a brand to be discoverable by new customers, we believe they must focus storytelling efforts in the areas of social, digital, email, events and press. We highlighted best practices that will give you and members of the Beer Association tools that can be put to use immediately to help drive traffic, grow engagement and capture new sales.
The team at Market Your Craft conducted a Market Study on the Top 50 Fastest Growing Craft Breweries. A “Market Study” is a high-level look at a brand’s above-the-line or general marketing efforts. It is not meant to be exhaustive, moreso exploratory. We approach discovery of your business as would any contemporary customer, using digital and social means to research before making the decision to commit. The team will then examine the different areas of your brand story that are worth sharing, a valuable aspect of today’s shopper experience. Each aspect of those experiences can be scored and weighted relative to their importance in the process. These measures combine to form a brand’s storytelling index which is used for addressing opportunities for a brand to further differentiate their marketing efforts and achieve next-level performance.
Purchase the Market Study: Top 50 Fastest Growing Craft Breweries of 2018
Top 50 Fastest Growing Craft Breweries in 2018 (alphabetical order):
1781 BREWING COMPANY
3RD PLANET BREWING
7VENTH SUN BREWERY
ABNORMAL BEER CO.
BIG LAKE BREWING COMPANY
BONN PLACE BREWING COMPANY
BORDERLANDS BREWING COMPANY
BREWFINITY BREWING CO.
CHATTY MONKS BREWING COMPANY
DORĆOL DISTILLING + BREWING CO.
FIFTY WEST BREWING COMPANY
FINS BIG OYSTER BREWERY
FLOUNDER BREWING CO.
GNARLY BARLEY BREWING
GREAT CENTRAL BREWING COMPANY
HOPSTERS BREWING COMPANY
HUMBLE SEA BREWING CO.
HUTTON & SMITH BREWING CO.
ILLUMINATED BREW WORKS
INDUSTRIAL ARTS BREWING COMPANY
LAKE TIME BREWERY
LITTLE CITY BREWING + PROVISIONS CO.
LONE PINE BREWING COMPANY
MAST LANDING BREWING COMPANY
NEW GLORY CRAFT BREWERY
NEW IMAGE RESTAURANT AND BREWERY
NOON WHISTLE BREWING COMPANY
OAK ROAD BREWERY
OLD NATION BREWERY
PERIODIC BREWING LLC
PIGEON RIVER BREWING CO.
RIVERWALK BREWING COMPANY
SHACKETT’S BREWING COMPANY
SHATTERED OAK BREWING
SILVER FALLS BREWERY ALE HOUSE
STEINHARDT BREWING COMPANY
STORM PEAK BREWING COMPANY
THE DREAMCHASER’S BREWERY
THE TANK BREWING CO.
THIRD SPACE BREWING
TREE HOUSE BREWING COMPANY
UNE ANNÉE BREWERY
WERNER BEEF & BREW
WHALERS BREWING COMPANY
WICHITA BREWING COMPANY
WIND RIVER BREWING COMPANY
WOODS BAR & BREWERY
Here are the areas of marketing we reviewed for each of the 50 fastest growing craft breweries that made the list:
Average brewery age: 4.4 years
|Mobile: does your website display well on all devices? Have you enabled a customer service messenger or other real-time chat function to answer questions more quickly?|
|Purpose-Driven: is it easy to find your company mission statement (why you’re in business, not your origin story)? Do you have a responsible drinking statement? Have you done what you can to ensure you’re marketing to a customer of legal drinking age?|
|Transparent: are you honest with your customers? Do you publish both the good and not-so-good press? Do you allow visitors to review on your website? Can they share a favorite beverage directly to Facebook? Have you embedded a social feed of tagged photos into your site?|
|Engaging: do you post to social media on a regular basis (2 times per week per account)? Have you enabled the customer service bot feature in Facebook? Are you adding similar posts/photos where appropriate to all accounts?|
|Events: do you have at least 1 future, non-recurring event posted to your mobile or social calendar? Do you offer club membership with on-site benefits? Do you promote collaborations with partners inside and outside of the industry?|
|Followers: do you provide visitors with an email registration (newsletter, not club membership)? How healthy is your current social following and growth? Have you enabled your Instagram for Business account?|
Download the Infographic: How the Top 50 Fastest Growing Breweries Spend their Time and Money
No two craft beverage stories are the same. So, it’s not reasonable to expect there to be a single marketing formula that guarantees success when you execute. There are so many factors at play that influence when and how you decide to market your craft, including geography, competition, budget and most importantly, customer preferences. There are, however, best practices in beverage marketing that give members of the Beer Association the best chance to be discovered by a thirsty, new audience. In our review of the Top 50 Fastest Growing Craft Breweries of 2018 we found a number of examples which we’ve highlighted below:
Abnormal Beer Co. – abnormalbeer.co – the team at Abnormal posts regularly and consistently across their social platforms, which is already a best practice. But their Instagram posts deliver a message (like the Barrel Aged Maple Mornings teaser) with a side of fun. And their followers respond in spades.
Fifty West Brewing Company – fiftywestbrew.com – the “campus” at Fifty West offers visitors volleyball courts and leagues; running and training groups; tube, canoe and kayak rental; and a cycling center. Talk about cornering the market on great beer and outdoor fun!
Fins Big Oyster Brewery – www.bigoysterbrewery.com – great presentation of the beer list with pictures on homepage. It’s important to keep this up-to-date, especially for those breweries that rotate styles often.Storm Peak Brewing Company – stormpeakbrewing.com – let your visitors know that you stand for something! Storm Peak’s highly-visible company mission statement gives the internal team clear direction on what success looks like while helping set expectations for current and future patrons.
Third Space Brewing – thirdspacebrewing.com – the website was designed with a “mobile-first” approach – ensuring that the mobile experience is just as rich and engaging as the desktop.
Tree House Brewing Company – www.treehousebrew.com – if you don’t want to wait in the historically long line outside of Tree House, just check their social media for availability and estimated wait times.
Wichita Brewing Company – wichitabrew.com – if having great beers isn’t press worthy enough, one of the co-founders wants to launch a John Brown bobblehead into near space and chronicle his journey…
It’s not easy to evaluate how successful your brand’s marketing efforts are at driving tasting room traffic, customer engagement and sales. There are too many marketing channels – social, digital, events, point-of-sale, etc. – to accurately determine which message ultimately prompted the purchase. Even in the case of an email sent directly to a subscriber about a craft beverage launch event this weekend, the recipient may look at your website and social media to research before committing to attend. There’s rarely if ever a direct correlation between a single message/communication and an individual sale.
So, what’s a craft beverage brand to do? How should members of the Beer Association determine how and where to invest marketing resources? The answer for many is understanding the sales funnel – the typical pathway(s) to discover, research and engage your brand before purchase – and weigh the relative importance of each of the marketing vehicles along the way. Marketing attribution is the value you assign to a given marketing touchpoint, like your social profile or mobile website. And while it’s not as cut-and-dried as a cap-ex equipment purchase and the promise of predictable volume growth, this approach helps your team assign hard numbers to marketing’s contribution to sales.
First and foremost, the entire team has to look for and capture all the available data associated with a transaction. That starts with what’s immediately available to you and gets more involved from there. We recommend starting with the analytics behind all your social marketing efforts, including Facebook Analytics, Instagram Business Tools/Insights and Twitter Analytics. Evaluate the relative performance of your posts and activities in terms of impressions, engagements and other measures. If your posts include [short] links to your website for ecommerce, for example, then make sure your site is linked to Google Analytics and start to visualize the journey a customer takes to find you by way of social, organic search, direct and referral. With a better understanding of the multiple channels that assist in driving traffic to your website, and ultimately to your tasting room, you can begin to assign more resources to those efforts and think more strategically about marketing content worth sharing. This is a big topic for one email, so we’ll continue the discussion next time.