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How to Grow Your Business: Target This Niche: Craft Beer

The popularity of craft beer is growing. In this increasingly competitive segment of the beverage industry, promotional products can play an important role in helping brewpubs, microbreweries and craft breweries build their brand and gain market share.

Tailgate Appeal

Matt Gledhill was spending a lot of time thinking about tailgating and beer. But that’s not because the vice president of sales and marketing for (asi/354440) Walker Advertising was slacking off. To the contrary: He was keying in on creating a winning promotional campaign for a craft brewery whose target audience included tailgaters. “They wanted something fun, something that would be a good fit for football fans,” says Gledhill.

Through strategic sourcing, he discovered the perfect product: the Reflex Travel Couch from Picnic Time (asi/78065). The portable reclining couch with armrests, phone pouches and drink pockets can easily be brought to games and set up in the back of pickup trucks or on the pavement, providing comfortable seating for two lucky tailgaters. As a complement, Gledhill suggested adding another Picnic Time product: the Mega Can Cooler (686-00-000), an insulated 5-gallon plastic cooler that looks like a beverage can.

Impressed by Gledhill’s product pitches, the craft brewery ordered 150 Reflex Couches and 250 coolers. Beyond winning a single sale, Gledhill’s performance helped further solidify him as the brewer’s go-to source for promotional solutions – a distinction won with persistence and reaffirmed with campaigns that are always carefully orchestrated to produce maximum ROI. “It took a year to get in with them, but I was able to prove myself and we’ve been working together now for seven years,” he says. “I’m always looking for fun ideas for them.”

Biz Tips: Focus On Football

Beer is often an integral part of football watching for many fans. With the season just around the corner, now is an opportune time to prepare pigskin-themed promotions for craft brewers. Stay ahead of your competition by suggesting unique ways to brand and integrate traditional items like koozies and bottle openers into promotional campaigns. Also, pitch outside-the-box items that, when combined with creative messaging, truly evoke brewers’ brands.

Fast Facts

  • 20% - Dollar growth of craft brewing in 2013 over 2012.
  • $14.3 Billion – Retail dollar value of craft brewery industry in 2013
  • 110,273 – Number of U.S. jobs provided by craft brewers.

*Source: The Brewers Association

Craft Brewers Want…

  • --Bar collateral: pint glasses, beer mats, coasters, towels and even taphandles
  • --T-Shirts, caps, hoodies -- sometimes for each style of beer the brewer makes
  • --Key chains that double as bottle openers