We’ve been talking about this for a while now, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that everyone involved in your craft beverage business wants to know your story.
Not the, “I started in my basement,” story, but your one-liner that helps consumers understand why they should care about you. Peers, investors, distributors and journalists all are keenly aware of how crowded the market is right now, so they’re looking for disrupters that stand out. And drinkers are looking for the same at shelf.
Just look at the three New Beverage Pitch Slams this week, each of which had bragging rights and sizable advertising packages for the winners. The finalists were all asked about their brand story:
Brewbound Live 2022: Pitch Slam 13
- Winner: hard coconut water maker Sunboy
- Story: “Sunboy is a quality canned cocktail made from hydrating coconut water and real fruit, playfully spiked and sparkled. It’s our way of bringing our favorite coconut cocktails to the parks, beaches and rooftops where they’re best enjoyed.”
- Judges: Ryan Lake, Arlington Capital Advisors; Jessica Muskey, Reyes Beer Division; Jamie Wideman, North America at Molson Coors; and Rich Bloomfield, Funkytown Brewery, winner of the 2021 Brewbound Pitch Slam
- Video: https://www.brewbound.com/videos/brewbound-pitch-slam-13-final-round-1 (paywall)
- Press Release: https://www.brewbound.com/news/sunboy-spiked-coconut-water-wins-2022-brewbound-pitch-slam-competition
You’ll also want to check out the video titled, “Know Yourself: The Importance of Brand Identity,” with LeAnn Darland, Talea Beer Co; Rich Bloomfield, Funkytown Brewery; and Haidar Hachem, Shojo Beer Co. It’s a great panel discussing how to stand out in the increasingly crowded craft beer marketplace in the US.
BevNET Live Winter 2022: Cocktail Showdown 3
- Winner: New York-based Velvet Llama
- Story: the story is not obvious. New York bartenders got together to solve a problem: the time necessary to build a proper Espresso Martini. In RTD form, steps of service are reduced and customer satisfaction increases.
- Judges: Carlton Fowler, Goat Rodeo Capital; Aimy Steadman, Beatbox Beverages; S. Nicholas Papanicolaou, No Sleep Beverages; and Carin Luna-Ostaseski, SIA Scotch Whisky
- Video: https://twitter.com/BevNET/status/1599540962048757760 (direct, no paywall)
- Announcement: https://www.bevnet.com/news/2022/velvet-llama-claims-victory-in-bevnets-cocktail-showdown-3/ (paywall)
BevNET Live Winter 2022: New Beverage Showdown
- Winner: sparkling water brand SANS
- Story: “Sans is a ‘conversational beverage’ that empowers and normalizes sober lifestyle to represent strength, health and confidence.”
- Judges: Dan White, The Coca-Cola Company; Cassie Finley, Kroger; Charles Casano, Hi-Touch Distributing; and John Craven, BevNET
- Announcement: https://www.bevnet.com/news/2022/sans-emerges-victorious-from-new-beverage-showdown-24 (paywall)
Every beverage category – whether beer, wine, spirits or non-alcoholic – has the same group of stakeholders responsible for building brands at the local, state, regional and national levels. Peers in the craft beverage community provide a context of how and where you do business. Traffic to your tasting room or a healthy to-go business both depend on how your story stacks up against your neighbors. Investors want to see a return on the bets they’ve placed, and telling a consistent brand story at every point of contact with the drinker adds a level of predictability to your sales and marketing performance. Engaging distributors with a story they can relay to retailers helps you gain focus and priority at shelf. And journalists are always looking for content relevant to their audiences, and knowing what you stand for in the community and greater craft beverage industry makes it easier to write about you brand over others.
If you see the value of differentiating your brand for peers, investors, distributors and press and want proven tools to get it right, read on! Otherwise, if those stakeholders aren’t on your radar, it must be nice to be printing money in this crowded, COVID-lingering, economically-challenged environment 😉
We’ve curated the below list of topics and resources to help you quickly craft your brand story, or fine-tune your existing one. With articles spanning over 3 years (has it been that long?) and downloadable Guides and Workshops, in an afternoon you could be well on your way to storytelling in a way that lands with each of your respective stakeholders. As always, let us know if we can help!
1. read up on why storytelling matters
These quick reads highlight examples, case studies and best practices you can use as a benchmark for comparison. Keep an open mind as you audit your own craft beverage story. Then look objectively at what aspects of your story might fall short differentiating your craft beverage business from others.
- Do your drinkers consider Sober October – 10/5/22: during Sober October we dug deep into the idea of non-alcoholic beverages and the size of the market for your craft beverage business.
- Is your marketing tired – 8/31/22: if your brand is losing traffic, engagement and sales, perhaps your marketing is tired. Time for a marketing refresh to wake things up!
- Will craft beverage survive the robot invasion – 2/22/22: humans are more personable than robots…which is why all the at-home beverage tech has us a bit nervous there will be a robot invasion soon.
- The most important line in beverage marketing – 10/15/21: the most important line in craft marketing is your brand story. Tell us in a single sentence the business you’re in and why we should care.
- Inauguration day and beverage storytelling – 1/21/21: we review the storytelling framework used by President Biden on his inauguration day and how it relates to craft beverage storytelling.
- How remarkable is your brand story – 2/25/20: we help beverage makers craft a compelling brand story based on storytelling techniques by best-selling authors Seth Godin and Donald Miller.
- Start with why for your craft beverage – 1/28/20: craft beverage brands that start with why are poised to replace every current customer with 3 new ones to remain relevant in crowded markets.
- Practical marketing plans for craft beverage – 8/21/19: having marketing plans helps craft beverage brands strategically grow tasting room traffic, increase engagement and capture new sales.
Want more? Check out our recent speaking engagements on the topic, including a great presentation at the Ontario Craft Brewers Conference titled, “Storytelling: Share Your Superpower.”
2. give your drinkers a reason to care
Download a complimentary copy of Storytelling: A Step-by-Step Guide for Building Brand Identity today!
Use code STORIES to download your copy of our popular Guide before December 31, 2022, and get proven tools for shaping your brand story, including:
- Finding your superpower
- Identifying sacred stories
- Spotting give-a-damns
- Engaging customers
- Sizing-up competitors
- Owning your niche
- Getting crafty
- Securing the budget
We’re looking for the one-liner that sums up your reason for being in a format similar to below:
A <business> that <takes bold action> to <deliver value> to <guests who deserve more>.
This week’s judges have witnessed the crowding and confusion in the marketplace and know the difference a strong brand story can make. If your business can simplify the story for team members, peers, investors, distributors and press, they’ll be miles ahead towards gaining share of mind and wallet with drinkers. Download our Guide today to help define or refine a successful brand story.
PDF Guide is 15 Pages. Coupon code is good for one (1) download of the Storytelling Guide only and may not be shared. Expires midnight 12/31/2022.
3. follow a Guide to help tell your story
Once you have your brand story – one that’s unique and special to you – you can use it to design sales and marketing tactics. And we want to help. We’ve created stand-alone Guides to step you and your team through the process of applying your storytelling superpower to digital, social, email, commerce and other areas of your craft beverage business.
Finalists in new beverage competitions like this of course are after the bragging rights and any cash purse. But even more importantly, their 5-minute pitches benefit from the gut reactions of leaders in their respective areas of the beverage industry. Is the product viable? What’s the pathway to retail? Is it differentiated enough? Will customers care? We can all benefit from an objective look at our strategies and tactics on occasion to make sure 1) we’re still relevant and 2) we haven’t strayed from the course. We hope these resources help you and your team re/discover the True North for your brand suitable for sharing with your stakeholders.