The US has more than 2,400 breweries across the nation that account for more than $62 billion in sales. With brands such as Bud Light, Budweiser, and Coors Light hogging a little over 50% of the market share, how are microbreweries supposed to get their spot in the light?
Microbreweries hold 6.5% of the market share and taste alone did not get them there. A consistency can be detected in successful microbrewery’s marketing strategy. This includes a strong position in their home market, working and developing their selling points, and social media. The most important part of the strategy, other than brewing a tasteful beer, is to have a strong position in their home market. A strong foundation in the home market will gradually increase the reach of the brewery and give it enough support to be able to try and reach out to other markets.
Microbreweries and craft beers are easily distinguishable from mainstream beers for a certain reason, they have to focus on their selling points rather than rely on big marketing campaigns to sell their beer. These selling points include variety of taste, catchy brand names, edginess, high alcohol content, unique ingredients and spices, unique bottles and labels, and finally tap handles. The visuals of a wild name, eye catching labels, an attractive high alcohol content, and a bizarre tap handle will attract the curious drinker and the flavor from the unique ingredients, spices, and hops used will be the hook that lands them. Being noticed is their first goal and being remembered is the main objective.
Social media is a big part of the marketing strategy because for the most part it is free. Most microbreweries do not have the funds to support big ad campaigns and other marketing tools. A common dilemma with a small budget is whether to market the beer or make more to sell. So getting their supporters to “like” their page or follow them online is very beneficial. The most powerful marketing tool is word of mouth and what better place to use such a tool than sites that can reach millions of people.
Microbreweries and craft beer are becoming more popular every year and are hitting new shelves in different markets. There is hope for a larger market share but, as growth continues, at a certain point they are no longer considered a microbrewery and the marketing strategy has to evolve to continue growth.