The amber nectar has been around for thousands of years – ancient Egyptians and Mesopotamians were probably the original craft brewers. In fact, In Mesopotamia, the oldest evidence of beer is a 6,000-year-old Sumerian tablet that shows people drinking through reed straws from a communal bowl. Party on!
Fast forward to the 21st Century. While enjoying a beer recently at a San Diego microbrewery, I began to ponder that with so many national and international brands available today, how do these smaller microbreweries rise above the advertising din of giants like Anheuser Busch and Coors and get noticed?
For the past several years — via social media. From Singapore to Delaware, numerous microbreweries have utilized a wide array of social media platforms, programs, tools, etc., to help with branding and marketing.
So while sitting at home this afternoon with a cold wobbly pop (yes, another beer slang term), I decided to roam around online and check out a few microbreweries that appear to be doing a bang up job at promoting their brands:
Established in 1997, the Singapore-based microbrewery and restaurant features a number of signature beers, some of which include Golden Ale, Iguana Lager, Hopback Ale, India Pale Ale and Oatmeal Stout.
As reported by Tech in Asia, Brewerkz has been proactive from the gitgo in using social media to promote its products. One interesting promotion has been with BuUuk, a restaurant scouting mobile app with 50,000+ users in Singapore. The microbrewery recently ran a successful one-for-one beer pint promo with BuUuk.
Other social media platforms are constantly cross-linked – this example of a recent tweet offering giveaway tickets takes you to the Brewerkz Facebook page, which is chock full of photos, videos, news about contests and posts from fans:
We have a pack of 8 VIP Singapore Slingers tickets to give away this weekend Sunday, 24 Feb. 1600hrs Singapore… http://fb.me/ssJffgno
Tech in Asia indicated that Brewerkz is constantly measuring social media ROI too. Facebook Insights are used to measure post quality and interactions; Google Analytics is employed to find out how much traffic comes from Facebook.
SweetWater Brewing Company
The Atlanta-based microbrewery offers a variety of year-round brews – some of the more catchy brands include Georgia Brown: Smoother than a Bill Clinton Apology; Blue: Ain’t Just for Breakfast Anymore; and India Pale Ale: the Beer You’ve Been Training For.
SweetWater maintains a lively blog – The Fish Wrap, which also features links to Flickr (where the microbrewery posts photos on events, promotions, and more), a From the Tap section that links back to Facebook and Twitter, and a Twitter roll they call TweetWater. A SweetWater In the News section on the Fish Wrap page also provides updated information on key events/programs to be held at the microbrewery. One recent event was a fundraiser for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
Located in Rehoboth Beach, DE, Dogfish Head has been churning out quality craft brewed ales since 1995. The company, reports Philly Beer Scene, has had a lot of success in promoting its brand via Twitter – as of today there were 115,449 followers.
Co-founder Mariah Calagione, noted Philly Beer Scene, mused about receiving a tweet once that read, “I’m at #Dogfish Brewpub and I haven’t seen my waiter in a while.” Calagione tweeted back asking what the customer was wearing, then immediately phoned the restaurant and had the waiter at the customer’s table in minutes. The customer soon posted another tweet praising the superb service.
Microbreweries like the aforementioned have also gotten a boost from companies like San Diego-based TapHunter. Founded by beer aficionados Melanie and Jeff Gordon, the husband and wife team launched TapHunter “to help bars, bottle shops and tasting rooms save time and increase sales by connecting to their most profitable customers with online and mobile solutions.”
TapHunter is both an app (see the graphic embedded in this post) and website that connects craft beer fans with beers, brewers and the locations that pour them. TapHunter started in San Diego and has since expanded services to more than a dozen U.S. cities and regions, some of which include Austin, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco Bay Area and Seattle.
Social media will continue to shape the beer universe. And that’s a good thing, I reckon. Philly Beer Scene’s Brittanie Sterner succinctly summed it up:
“If Twitter and Facebook can help weave the beer community into the world in positive ways, maybe it doesn’t matter beer drinkers might also use the platforms to broadcast puffed-up opinions. Critical consumer feedback can even serve as a gateway to brewers to tweak and tighten their methods, try new things, and ultimately take the craft industry farther. Maybe social media is just that kind of double-edged sword. At any rate, it’s making beer more popular. And isn’t that the idea – for everyone to drink good beer?”
I’ll raise a glass to that!