I had the distinct pleasure to be part of a panel at this years Craft Brewers Conference in Philadelphia this month. As a marketing pro and with my business Women Enjoying Beer, the beer crowd is one I like to run with and help.
Julia Herz, Brewers Association Craft Beer Program Director, and Abby Berman Cohen, The Rosen Group PR Firm, were my colleagues to inform, educate, and provide answers and ideas to a room full of beer folk.
As testament that marketing is a forever-desired topic and necessary part of business, the room was indeed pretty full (I’m guessing 200 – 300 people). When Julia asked for a show of hands for new, start up, and in-planning breweries to raise hands, a LOT of the room participated. Whoa.
With over 2 breweries opening every day in America, there’s a huge need for people going into any kind of beer business to get smart with their marketing plans. Here are 3 reasons why:
- With well over 4300 breweries in America already, the field becomes more populated every day. This makes the clarity of your marketing message and brand all the more crucial to survival.
- All breweries must have a plan. Because opening a brewery is a business like any other entity, you must plan to succeed. Marketing is part of the foundational planning.
- Marketing = communication, education. Knowing your market and desired target market needs to be done before any tanks are bought, leases signed, or beers brewed. You must know who you will sell to before you begin.
One statement I made in my remarks was that the days of ‘if I brew it, they will come’ are long lover. The public – all of us – are more and more savvy to beer now than we were even a few years ago, never mind 5, 10 or 15+ years ago. It’s a whole new landscape and people wishing to open breweries need to prepare their marketing plans in order to succeed long term.
Being a flash in the pan works for gold mining. All other endeavors need to understand the full and total value of developing a marketing plan to make a living.
If you want to make beer in your garage and give it to your friends, fine – go for it. That’s what home brewing is about.
If you want to go up about 5 levels to pro level brewing and open a brewery, then do everyone the best service – you especially – and become business savvy. Study up, find a partner who likes and is knowledgeable in business to help, or work for someone else for a while to learn and figure out a lot of the actual day to day operations in running a business.
The first year I presented at the CBC was Boston 2009, effectively launching Women Enjoying Beer. So it was enjoyable to be on the East coast again for the event.
Cheers to Julia & Abby for what they shared. When you want a marketing expert, advisor and coach for your beer business, call on me.