How to Stand Out In an Industry That Has Exploded Like Craft Breweries was written for Playlouder by a Cristina Par. Please note that contributing opinions are that of the author. They are not always in strict alignment with our own opinions.
In today’s craft beer climate, standing out among competitors can seem near-impossible. With more than 9,500 breweries being operational in the United States in 2022 and industry giants dominating market shares, distinguishing your operation can be challenging, to say the least.
By focusing on perfecting unique flavors (or product quality), creating a powerful brand identity, leveraging digital marketing, utilizing automation, and building business relationships more effectively, you can begin setting yourself apart from the rest.
The Growing Popularity of the Craft Beer Industry
The craft beer industry has exploded in the past decade, fueled by beer drinkers' growing demand for flavorful, interesting beers. Consumers are drawn to the variety of styles offered by craft breweries and the chance to appreciate their local connection and sense of community.
This growth can be attributed to several other factors, such as increased demand for specialized products that cater to different tastes, greater availability of resources and supplies needed to brew small batches (like hops), and the growing public interest in microbreweries.
As more brewers enter the market with new recipes each year, consumers continue to find exciting beers wherever they live or travel. And if you guessed right, this makes the industry more competitive, thus the need to find ways to make your venture more appealing to the market!
6 Tips to Make Your Craft Brewery Stand Out
1. Perfect Your Signature Craft Beers: Establishing Unique and Distinctive Flavors for Your Brand
It goes without saying that having a great and unique product is step number one. You have to design enjoyable recipes that bring people back for more!
This means developing a one-of-a-kind taste that speaks to customers who crave something unique – for each of your products. Essentially creating something special that sets your brand apart. This brings us to the next important point.
2. Create a Unique Brand Identity: Represent Yourself Differently Than the Competition
While brewing great beer (product quality and uniqueness) is the most important step, it may not be enough to give you the giant edge you need over your competition. It works better when you create a unique and recognizable brand identity that helps customers remember who you are and come back for more.
This means investing time and resources into creating visuals such as logos, labels, and taproom designs – all of which act as recognizable components of your brewing business. Consider trying to connect with customers through emotional storytelling or humor.
3. Utilize Digital Marketing Strategies to Reach New Consumers and Tap into Niche Markets
An online presence is mandatory and will help you stand out in the crowded market space and reach more people with your products. And in this case, digital or online marketing, which encompasses various approaches, is among the best ways to position yourself for success regardless of the size of your business.
Consider engaging content strategies like videos, and create entertaining highlights that give customers something to look forward to when tasting your brews!
Don’t forget to reach out to niche markets, perhaps through articles about trends within different target demographics. Sharing them across channels can help increase your brand's visibility and spread its uniqueness!
It's also worth investigating different partnerships across both businesses – such as inviting bloggers and online influencers who possess knowledge of the subject matter to help create interesting conversations for everyone involved.
Recent statistics indicate that with a good email marketing strategy, you can get back as much as $36 for every $1 you spend. Mix that up with SEO, social media marketing campaigns, reaching out through influencers and bloggers, and paid Google ads– you’ll hopefully reach a different level than your competitors.
4. Get Involved in Local Events and Cultural Movements within the Industry
Building a network of contacts is essential to succeed in such an industry as craft beer, and taking part in local events can be a great way to do it.
It can help you reach out and engage with your target demographic more directly while also serving as a platform to showcase your brews. Likewise, joining cultural movements created by art galleries or bars dedicated to the brewing culture can also provide greater exposure.
For example, local beer festivals can be a chance to engage with the community and beer lovers, as well as industry leaders who can provide you with advice and more insight into the market. It’s also an amazing opportunity to discover and tap into an unknown market base outside your normal customers.
Alternatively, you can create unique activations to draw attention from those target markets in attendance. While the guests enjoy sampling beers brewed onsite, you can take pictures and videos that you can use to popularize your brand on social media further.
5. Build Strong Relationships with Distributors, Retailers, and Customers.
Building strong relationships with distributors, retailers, and even other breweries can bring plenty of new opportunities you didn't even know existed.
For instance, retailers and distributors can be a source of inspiration about what the competitors might be doing or not doing to satisfy the market.
They can also provide a means by which you can reach out to customers to thank them for their loyalty, perhaps through special discounts or exclusive physical events held at accessible locations.
6. Institute Practices to Streamline and Increase Efficiency in Your Brewery Operations
With the demand for craft beer increasing steadily, producers need to keep up with the pace of production. Installing systems like integrated refrigeration or automating processes such as canning or bottling are quick ways to accelerate efficiency!
Incorporating automated quality assurance controls throughout the brewing process can also ensure streamlined management, enough to bring long-term cost savings in various ways. For instance, it can help minimize the waste of raw materials while also keeping mistakes at bay.
And if we consider automation tools, products such as automated canning lines are now available on the market, incorporating advanced software technologies and clever machine learning principles.
With a tool like Ollie's brewery software for management, brewers can efficiently manage numerous processes under one platform, from raw materials to production, inventory, orders, customer relationships, and more.
These tools and technologies can be a great way to stay ahead of the competition for brewers that utilize them.
Craft breweries are just one example of a business experiencing fast growth and greater competition. Most of the concepts above can work for both breweries and a variety of other businesses. Good luck!