According to The Brewers Association, Colorado ranks third in the nation for number of breweries per capita. In 2015, Colorado’s booming craft-beer industry contributed a $1.7 billion economic impact in 2015. Craft beer fans in Colorado have an overflowing variety of beers and breweries. With so many great options, how can each brewery stay ahead of the curve?
Last week, we sat down with several marketing representatives from different breweries across the state to discuss how they manage their marketing efforts in the competitive craft beer industry.
While craft beer is here to stay, the industry has changed dramatically in recent years. Colorado went from having 175 breweries in 2013 to almost 350 in 2016. Julie Kovaleski, Marketing Coordinator of Boulder Beer described how the first craft brewery in Colorado is staying relevant throughout the years. Boulder Beer has the competitive advantage of name recognition, however, they still have to remain competitive in this challenging market. After 38 years of making incredible beer, Boulder Beer has learned that making a great product doesn’t guarantee success in this business anymore. Consumers want more.
Breweries generally begin with a passion for making great beer, but in a saturated market like Colorado only succeed when they are able to offer that ‘something extra’ that consumers crave. Elvira Masinovik at 38 State Brewing has this down to a tee. At 38 State Brewing they have events almost every day: open mic, trivia, crafting parties, you name it! They have become not only an establishment where people can come for a cold one after work, but a place where the community gathers. The brewery industry is more than just the beer, is about the community and the experience.
Alicia Duncan at Kokopelli Beer Company agrees. They know their success comes from being the cornerstone of the Westminster community. Kokopelli Beer Company is the place where families gather and everyone is welcomed. Kokopelli is also proud to be the first sole owner and operated brewpub in Colorado. And, did we mentioned that this owner is a woman? Colorado is one of the lucky states that has one of the higher percentages of female consumers. Female beer enthusiasts in Colorado account for 32% of the market share in Colorado as indicated by The Brewers Association. Part of this change, in an otherwise male dominated industry, is due to the fact that breweries are now more than ever making an effort to promote craft beer events geared towards women.
For instance, Boulder Beer is partnering with Barley’s Angels, a group dedicated to women and beer, this Wednesday to offer a “Bacon Three Ways” pairing held in celebration of Colorado Craft Beer Week. On the other side of town, 38 State hosts different events geared towards the female demographic such as “Denver Girls Pint Out” and “National Nurses Day.”
In addition to hosting great in-house events and attending strategic beer fests, many breweries have all upped their social media marketing efforts. Breweries today need to have a presence on multiple platforms. Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat seem to be some of the favorites. The social media content includes events, new releases, behind the scenes photos, charitable work, and more.
Finally, the brewery-marketing gurus gave us some advice for those trying to enter the industry. Unanimously, they all agreed that the most important piece of marketing in the craft beer industry was to know your product. If you want to be in marketing in the craft beer industry, it is not enough to know your platforms and marketing strategies. You have to know about beer. Not just what your favorite beer is, but knowledge about the brewing process, ingredients, and different styles of beers. Many marketing representatives have gone through the rigorous process of becoming Cicerone certified. Talk about commitment!
If you are interested in learning more about Marketing in the Beer Industry, AMA Colorado is hosting a panel of experts on March 22, 2017 to discuss the topic. You can learn more and register here.