Recently, I wrote about the record pace of ticket sales for GABF and correlated that to many years of continued growth for craft beer.
Pat Strader at Digital Relativity responded and asked for my take on how this growth in craft beer relates to social media. (Full disclosure – I have nothing to disclose. Terrapin is not working with Digital Relativity and has no plans to do so. Sorry, Pat.)
Pat: Do you feel that craft brewers have evolved with their approach and use of marketing and communication tools?
John: As a group of mostly small business owners, we do not have the funds for traditional marketing. In fact, most brewers will tell you, “We don’t advertise. All of our promoting is one-on-one with the consumer.” Which is exactly why many brewers are using social media – it is a new way of having one-on-one communication – with lots of people at once.
Pat: Do you think there are any parallels between the growth of craft
beer and social media use?
John: Absolutely. The real growth in both craft beer and in social media seems to be coming from the Y Generation/Millennials.
A quick story to illustrate that point: Last year, on a flight to Denver, I was seated next to a 17 yr old, who upon seeing my Terrapin Beer t-shirt started raving about how much he loved Terrapin. (My first thought was to question whether I should even chat with him; had I somehow landed in an undercover sting operation?) Figuring he must have learned about Terrapin from his parents, I introduced myself to them. They had never heard of us.
This new generation is obviously growing up with social media, and craft beer is their beer of choice. They are not starting out drinking domestic light lagers and then waiting until college graduation and beyond to learn about craft beer the way my generation did. They are starting out with craft beer – and sticking with us.
Pat: It seems that many craft brewers have eschewed marketing and
feel that the beer stands for itself. As we approach the predicted 2700 breweries in 2013, what are your thoughts on the importance of marketing for craft brewers, and digital marketing in particular, moving forward?
John: I don’t think most craft brewers have eschewed marketing. It’s more a case of what the old guard considers “marketing” is not the best way to reach our core audience. Remember, craft beer is still only 5% of the overall beer market. So buying a bill board or running a TV ad are not effective ways to reach the Millennial generation. Hence the connection between craft beer and social media.
Pat: What surprises you, if anything, about the way craft brewers are using tools like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram?
John: It’s not really surprising to me. As stated earlier, these are just new tools to communicate more effectively the way we always have, which is one-on-one.
Great questions, Pat. Thanks for staying in touch.
Since we are talking about social media, here are my shameless plugs:
Obviously you are reading this blog, so I don’t need to list it.
So there you have it. My take on craft beer and social media. What do you think?