Hey everyone! It's been a while. Things have been pretty busy, but I've decided it's time to start blogging again. I've spent a lot of time thinking about potential topics I could write about to get back into the swing of things. After much deliberation, I thought of a subject applicable to brewers and beer fans alike: how consumers connect with the people that make their beer.
There are many ways that those who drink craft beer form bonds with brewers. I'd like to lay out some that I find important to show how these connections are created, strengthened, and how they contribute to promoting a brewer's brand.
We live in an age where everyone is plugged in. People share pictures of their beer on the internet to make sure others know that they actually drank it. Today, most brewers have some sort of social media presence. Whether it's on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Untappd, or all of the above, brewers are online and sharing their beer with the world.
I believe social media is critical to the success of startup brewers, not only because it can expand their reach beyond the scope of their distribution, but because it allows them to introduce themselves to people that may otherwise never hear about them. For instance, I've only heard about some breweries through their Twitter accounts, which led me to their website, where I found a link to their Facebook page and eventually found them on Instagram. These sorts of connections create a network that only continues to grow as more people invite others to share in their discoveries.
Social media also allows brewers to engage their consumers in a way they never could before. Brewers may not get the chance to meet everyone that drinks their beer in person, but they can talk about their beer with their fans over the web. They can share what they're brewing, when beers are being released, and tell consumers about events featuring their beer. I've enjoyed getting to know the people behind certain breweries and hearing about their progress simply by reading their blogs, which I often find through social media.
Drinking the Beer
It may be that you heard about it through social media and arranged a trade. It may be that you were at a restaurant and saw it on the beer list. It may be that you were in a shop and saw it on the shelf. It may even be that you went to a beer fest and saw it at one of the booths. However you found out about a beer, your personal opinion on it only forms after drinking it. If you drink one beer and like it, you're more inclined to try another from the same brewer. If you try more of their beers and like them, you'll feel that they have a reputation for making great beers. You'll then want to talk about those beers with others, who may then try the beer for themselves. Word of mouth is a powerful thing!
Meeting the Brewers
Nothing strengthens the bond between brewers and their consumers more than meeting face-to-face. When you meet a brewer and talk to them on a more personal level, you become more personally invested in their success. When you know the people who brewed your beer, you feel even better when drinking it. In getting out there and spending time with the people who drink their beer, brewers not only enhance their connections, but form new relationships with consumers that can last a lifetime.
Visiting the Brewery
Not all brewers have a space of their own, but those who do have something very special. They have a place where consumers can come together and share in their appreciation for the beer the brewers make. They also have the ability to show consumers how and where their beer is made. There's nothing quite like drinking a beer inside the building it was brewed in. When brewers have a place to call home, the consumers will come to them.
Building the Brand
As more people connect with brewers, their brand becomes more recognizable. Simply wearing a shirt with their logo or mentioning their name may spark conversation. These connections begin locally, but can grow to connect people around the world who drink craft beer. In connecting with their consumers, brewers who start small may become much bigger over time. I know that the more connected I've become to my local brewers, the more I've tried to support them. I not only drink their beer, but I want to share it with others. When that happens, everyone wins.