Craft beer is a fantastic industry. It’s full of passionate and innovative people inspired by their art, culture, and community. Craft breweries and craft beer brands are popping up left and right, but it’s not easy to stand out from the crowd.
In a crowded food and beverage market, it’s hard for any company—especially a tiny brand—to break through the noise and reach its full potential. Craft beer brands must find ways to shift the competitive landscape in their favor, and one of the most effective ways to do this is by being authentic.
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What is authenticity in craft beer marketing?
Authenticity in craft beer marketing is when a brewery is true to its roots and produces beer and customer experiences in line with its mission, vision, and values. Authentic companies make choices that reflect what they say they stand for. When talking about authenticity, I’m referring to companies whose values match their actions.
Craft beer marketing has always been a little bit different. The companies and products involved are, in a way, more authentic. That is, they are more true to themselves, to their roots. But that’s changed according to the trends of the last decade. It’s hard to say how authentic marketing in craft beer was pre-2010 because “authentic marketing” wasn’t a thing. Well, it might have been. People may have said something like “that brewery is doing it right” or “that brewery is doing it wrong,” but there wasn’t a way to quantify that. Now there is.
Authenticity goes beyond a brewery’s name, logo, or even the beer itself for craft beer brewers and marketers. Connecting with consumers requires the organization to be authentic in its mission and values, employees, products, and marketing messages.
Authentic organizations have a clear sense of purpose and focus on a set of values and goals that are tied to their customers. This vision drives all marketing activities.
Why is authenticity important in craft beer marketing?
Authenticity is vital in craft beer marketing because customers look for an honest and unpretentious product. They want to support craft beer brands that are unique and unlike Big Beer.
Authenticity in craft beer marketing builds trust with customers. When differentiating your craft beer brand, you have to convince customers to choose your brand instead of their favorite lighter lager. You need to develop a brand that speaks directly to customers and gives them a reason to buy. Brands that are transparent about their ingredients, origins, and standards reassure customers because they can see the care that has gone into your product. Consumers want to know that their brands align with their values.
“Craft beer is a lifestyle.” is a common refrain in the craft beer industry, but why is this important, and how does it matter? Consumers buy what they like, even from a local brand. Why does it matter?
It matters for many reasons. Beer enthusiasts care about where their beer came from and how the brewery made it. They care about supporting small businesses, the local economy, and the local agriculture industry. They care about where the ingredients come from, how sustainable those ingredients are, whether or not there are GMOs in their food, etc. For example, hop growers have noted that the demand for craft beer has increased their profits, and they’re more progressive with their farming practices.
How can breweries create an authentic brand?
Many craft brewery owners are looking for ways to grow their businesses yearly. It’s a challenge, but one path towards growth is through B2B channels. Make the most of these channels by building an authentic brand.
Craft breweries can create an authentic brand by being transparent about their ingredients and brewing process, supporting local businesses, and getting involved within their communities.
Today’s craft breweries are more than just the beer they brew. They’re in the business of creating an experience for their customers. More than just a place to grab a pint and a tasty burger, craft breweries are becoming an escape from the mundane. Customers want to feel a part of the experience that a brewery can offer with unique menus, merchandise for sale, live music, games, and maybe even an outdoor space to enjoy a beer or two. It’s a fun way to unite people around great food and drinks and create an environment that encourages conversation and connections.
Crafting an authentic brand is more than just using organic ingredients, naming your brewpub after a street your brewer lived on in college or making your Instagram-famous dog the official face of your brewery. Authenticity means being true to who you are and what you stand for, and it’s something that resonates with consumers. Even if you’re not concerned about building an authentic brand, it’s still essential to have a sense of who you are and what you stand for as a business. And if there’s one thing craft breweries have proven in recent years, authenticity matters.
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What are the benefits of authenticity in craft beer marketing?
Some benefits of an authentic craft beer marketing strategy are that it can help breweries stand out from the competition, create a loyal customer base, and increase sales. When it comes to selling your product, authenticity is essential.
Your audience is constantly bombarded with marketing messages, and your craft beer brand should not only stand apart from the competition but also stand above the influx of marketing that dominates consumers’ collective attention. A genuine and transparent craft beer brand can be a way for you to build trust among consumers and help you find your target market.
Depending on who you are marketing beer to and how your marketing efforts may evolve in the future, there are some ways your brand can be authentic. Authenticity is all about communication. If you are open and honest with your customers, they will be more likely to support you and buy from you.
What are some dangers of inauthenticity in craft beer marketing?
Some dangers of not being authentic in craft beer marketing are that customers may lose trust in the brewery and its products, and the brewery may lose its credibility.
The best example of this is MillerCoors’ recent line of beer called Third Shift, which was heavily promoted and advertised as one of their “craft” brands, even though it was brewed by the same company responsible for Coors and Miller. While you’d expect the brand to be a big hit with beer lovers, it fell flat with consumers who, once they learned that it wasn’t independent, didn’t want any part of it.
Authenticity is a core part of craft beer’s DNA. That’s why it’s a big deal when breweries stray from authenticity. They lose fans, attract fewer new ones, and miss out on revenue opportunities.
Authenticity is essential in craft beer marketing.
Breweries must be true to themselves and their values to create a successful and lasting brand. For craft beer brands to take the competitive edge and break through the noise of an overcrowded marketplace, they must find ways to shift the competitive landscape. For authenticity in craft beer marketing and branding, craft breweries must be true to their roots and produce beer and customer experiences consistent with the brewery’s mission, vision, and values.