Brewery Branding: Growing your Business with Merchandise and Swag
Brewery Branding in Today’s Industry
Brewery branding is a long and creative process. The craft beer industry is booming. More than 6,000 breweries operated in the United States in 2017. The good thing is, as long as you’re creating great beer, there are beer lovers that want to be brand loyal. However, you have to be memorable to get and keep your beer in people’s hands.
Homebrewers, tasting rooms, brewery pubs – no matter how big or small you are, finding a way to stand out can be difficult in such a rich, craft beer culture. Begin with branding and positioning, it will catapult a rich marketing strategy and hopefully, in the end, help to easily sell your brand to every beer drinker along the way.
Branding and Positioning
First, your brand is the perception of the company that consumers see. You create that perception with your core values, voice and tone, brand identity, and mediums that tell your story.
As you’re developing your brand, you should be creating a positioning strategy. How are you going to set your brand apart from the other local breweries, and then apart from the hundreds more lining the grocery store shelves? Anchor in your core values, attract your target audience, don’t disregard your competitors and most importantly, know how you are unique. This is where your positioning statement should stem from.
For example, Dogfish Head Brewery states, they offer “off-centered ales for off-centered people.” They have identified their target audience, told them how they’re distinct and then, they relay that message on their packaging as well. All of their different beer brands have logos that are slightly off-centered. They do a great job of bringing together their brand, brand identity, and positioning strategy for a clear and concise message.
Get Some Swag
Swag can be a great way to get your brand in front of new audiences. With a useful, lifelong customized product, your one swag item could return more than 200 impressions for you. Some studies show that about 45% of people use a promotional product once per day. By providing people with a product they want to use every day, they’ll be showing off your brand to new people all the time. If you’re considering getting swag or promotional products, here are a few things to think about:
First, people love free stuff but they don’t want junk. Customers want swag items when they immediately believe “this is so unique, I have to take this home with me.” If they have to second guess whether or not they’ll actually use it, chances are they’ll be walking away empty-handed or your swag ends up at Goodwill. When someone picks up something earth-friendly, durable, fun and unique, they’re 100% convinced it’s a must-have and that they’ll use it.
Secondly, the way that you give out (or “activate”) swag is also important. Curating one-on-one interactions is a great way to meet your potential customers and build a relationship. If your brand has an interesting story, they want to hear it, but you need to make the effort to tell it.
Great swag fosters conversation and returning customers. If an event is pouring your beer (but not at your tap room), set up a table there and bring swag. If you offer something unique, people will spend more time interacting at your table. You’ll have the opportunity to develop enough rapport to tell your story.
Here are a few ideas some of our customers have implemented:
- Give away customized 5.5oz Silipint Tasters with sips of your delicious brew inside
- If you use the Tasters at an event, offer a discount off their first pint when they bring that customized taster back into your brewery
- Giveaway custom 16oz Silipints to the first 50 entrants of an event
- Share the cost of the swag by partnering with the event hosts or other organizations, and screen print different sponsor and event logos on each side
- Utilize customized Silipints to move towards a zero-waste event, like Sierra Nevada did at a few of their Beer Camp events.
Sell Cool Merch
Capture the brand essence of your brewery within the merchandise that you sell. From apparel to stickers and especially drinkware, something about your merchandise should be as unique as your brand. It can become an important revenue stream, so don’t put out those half-baked ideas.
There are a few things that successful merch offerings all have in common:
- Cool artwork that relates to the brand itself
- Representations of both the logo and the beers
- Retail areas with clean and accessible presentations
- A variety of price points
- Unique items!
To elaborate on the last point here are a few ideas we’ve seen, but remember to first ask yourself who your audience is.
- Why is your community unique, and what do they love? If you’ve got a big cyclist population and your brewery gets involved in local races, consider selling a cyclist jersey with a fan-favorite beer on it.
- Do you connect with outdoorsy folks? Customized Silipints can accompany any adventure – they’re unbreakable, insulating, and will last a lifetime.
- Sustainable-minded people will also love the reusability factor of Silipints, and the ability to enjoy your beer places that glass pints or bottles may not be able to go. Get rid of the plastic cups on the patio, there is so much waste to consider. And way less breakage to worry about.
- Incorporate where and how people drink your beer. If you sell kegs at your brewery, consider selling your tap handles at a discount to people when they purchase a keg. It’d be a great gift for someone who has an in-home kegerator and keeps getting your name out there.
Social Proof to Other Beer Drinkers
Another great thing about selling customized merchandise is building social proof. The millennial generation plays a great role in this. An article in Forbes said that according to research, “84% of millennials are likely to be influenced to make a purchase based on user-generated content that is created by strangers.” So, if people are purchasing your customized merchandise and loving it enough to post a picture with it on social media, you’re building social proof for your brand, your beer, and your fans.
Silipints as Brewery Swag
For every dollar spent, custom drinkware provides 250 brand impressions, now consider the unbreakability of Silipints and you’re exceeding those brand impressions significantly. When you choose to customize Silipints, you’re choosing a lifelong product that will be used time and again with your everlasting logo on it.
Silicone pint glasses are conversation starters. As the patent holders on silicone drinkware, we can attest that folks who have never had their hands on one before go bananas over them.
According to Alaskan Brewing Co. “Our customers love-love-love them, often they’ll have purchased 1+ in store and order more once back home.”
Silipint fans know exactly when and where they’re going to use it, and if you’re targeting outdoor brands, you’ll want to get in on this. Your fans will enjoy all types of drinks at camp, on the water, in their backyard, and even ship them as gifts to their family.
Tourist destinations (like your brewery) are excellent places to pick up gifts. So, when they go to take this home with them, Silipints calm any nerve of fear of breakage during travel. Added bonus, since the unique screen printing process on Silipints ensures that your logo will never chip or fade, every single time they travel with it, your brand will shine. Can a glass pint say that?
What’s Great About Silicone?
Silicone is insulating, earth-friendly, made of abundant materials, safe for temperatures ranging from -58°C – 450°F and are non-porous, which ensures they’re odorless and protects from bacterial growth.
When someone drinks your beer out of a silicone pint glass, they know they’re going to enjoy every last, cold, refreshing sip. Whether they’re just visiting your tasting room for the first time, or are lifelong fans since your very first brew, send them home with something to remind them of the great beer they enjoyed on your bar stool. Give your fans a lifelong product that has endless cheers and years of usability. Give them unbreakable, customized Silipints.