Brewers Association Launches New Campaign to Promote Indie Seal

The Brewers Association (BA) has rolled out a new national advertising campaign aimed at bringing another round of consumer attention to its independent craft brewer seal that was unveiled last year.

Launched today, the effort, called “That’s Independence You’re Tasting,” includes a pair of 30-second commercials that will be “presented across a variety of media platforms,” according to a press release.

Speaking to Brewbound, Julia Herz, the BA’s craft beer program director, said the ads would appear in many forms across the web, as well as in print. The organization expects to be able to share more details about the size and scope of the campaign in the coming weeks, she added.

“It will be a multi-layered effort on a variety of channels,” she said, noting that the overall investment behind the campaign was the largest in the organization’s history.

“In terms of shouting it from the rooftops, our investment in time and effort — and the overall investment — this is the biggest we’ve done,” Herz said.

According to BA chief executive Bob Pease, the campaign “generates awareness beyond any one individual brewery.”

“Independent craft brewers are a success story for American industry,” he said said via the release. “Each of the over 6,600 U.S. craft breweries is a unique contributor to its community and should be celebrated.”

To help promote the campaign — which was again produced with The Sterling-Rice Group, the BA’s creative agency — and more than 6,600 breweries that meet the group’s definition of a “craft brewer,” the non-profit organization also launched new Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts under the “Indie Beer” or “Independent Beer” monikers.

“It’s a social-oriented world for beer lovers, and we are excited to have these commercials streaming through those mediums so people can re-share them,” Herz said.

The ads themselves are a significant departure from the organization’s initial cheeky “Take Craft Back” campaign, launched last October.

That effort – a faux $213 billion crowdfunding campaign to buy Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world’s largest beer company – included multiple videos, which have since been stripped from the group’s YouTube page, that featured a character named “Andy” who encouraged consumers to “pledge” fake dollars to “Take Craft Back.”

In the end, the BA ended up distributing thousands of t-shirts, hats, stickers and koozies to nearly 12,000 individuals who pledged, but the campaign fell $212,996,152,070 fake dollars short of its goal.

“As things evolve, your messaging will always evolve,” she said of the new approach. “We really took a stand with Take Craft Back to make the one specific point about how large the world’s biggest brewer was. This effort is more positive and focuses on celebrating craft brewers and elevating beer as well.”

The pivot away from divisive humor didn’t come without its subtle jabs at “Big Beer,” however.

“Our bottles and cans may not have the flag, but our beer is made with everything it stands for,” one of the commercials states.

That line appears to be a shot at A-B InBev, which over the years has sold various Budweiser packages featuring patriotic flair, but it lacks consideration for BA-certified indie breweries like Surly Brewing, Stoudts Brewing and Rogue Ales, among others, which have used imagery resembling the U.S. flag on their packages.

Despite the artistic Americana that adorns beer labels from large and small brewing companies alike, the Code of Laws of the United States actually prohibits the use of the American flag in advertising, a point that was made by an Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau labeling specialist during his presentation at the BA’s 2016 Craft Brewers Conference.

In a second commercial, the BA claims that independence – and its seal, an image of an upside-down beer bottle – is the “difference between real craft beer and the rest,” marking one of the few (if not only) times the BA has sought to distinguish between the actual products made by companies which meet its definition of a “craft brewer” and those owned by larger entities.

Nevertheless, the BA believes the new ads take a “proud and positive tone,” according to a press release.

“We are proud to be able to do for all our BA members what would be extremely difficult for them to do individually,” Pease said via the release. “Together we are united in independence.”

Following the release of the campaign, a number of craft breweries turned to social media to share the new videos and to express support for “independent beer.”

Dogfish Head wrote on Facebook: “Indie craft beer … a community of creativity & innovation cultivated one batch at a time. Proud to be part of the #IndependentBeer movement! #SeekTheSeal”

Maui Brewing shared on Twitter: “#MauiBrewingCo is proud to be among the 6000+ #independent #craft breweries. #seektheseal for #islandbrewed #MBC.”

According to the BA, more than 3,700 craft beer companies have adopted the seal since it was introduced last June.

Earlier this summer, the BA broke down adoption rates by state and U.S.-owned territories. At the time, 92 percent of breweries in North Dakota had adopted the seal, leading all other U.S. states.

In April, the organization embarked on an effort to convince retailers to adopt the seal, launching a website where point of sale materials could be downloaded.

A press release with additional details is included below.

Brewers Association Launches New National Awareness Campaign for Independent Brewers

Boulder, Colo. • August 29, 2018—To educate beer lovers about the craft brewing community and what it means to be independent, the Brewers Association—the not-for-profit trade association dedicated to small and independent craft brewers—is launching a new national awareness campaign, “That’s Independence You’re Tasting.” This integrated advertising campaign is part of the Brewers Association’s ongoing efforts to distinguish and promote America’s small and independent craft brewers. The videos will be presented across a variety of media platforms.

“That’s Independence You’re Tasting” takes a proud and positive tone, focusing on independence and choice—both key tenets of craft brewing culture—and tells the story of the country’s more than 6,600 independent craft brewers. These hard-working women and men are entrepreneurs, innovators, collaborators, risk takers and underdogs who advance the beverage of beer.

“Independent craft brewers are a success story for American industry,” said Bob Pease, president & CEO, Brewers Association. “Each of the over 6,600 U.S. craft breweries is a unique contributor to its community and should be celebrated. As a national campaign, ‘That’s Independence You’re Tasting’ generates awareness beyond any one individual brewery or beer and touches the spirit of independence that is a core American value. We are proud to be able to do for all our BA members what would be extremely difficult for them to do individually. Together we are united in independence.”

The initial phase of the awareness campaign launched in June 2017 with the introduction of the independent craft brewer seal. Featuring an iconic beer bottle shape flipped upside down, the seal indicates that a brewery is certified to be independently owned. The seal has been adopted by more than 3,700 craft brewing companies—representing more than 80 percent of the volume of craft brewed beer.

“‘That’s Independence You’re Tasting’ is designed to keep independent craft brewers and their beers top of mind. Our hope is that after being exposed to these stories, beer lovers are moved to support independent breweries and seek the seal when making their beer purchases,” added Pease. “By choosing a beer that has the independent craft brewer seal, the beer drinker knows that they are supporting a brewery with ties to the community.”

To learn more about “That’s Independence You’re Tasting” and the independent craft brewer seal, visit CraftBeer.com—the Brewers Association’s website for beer lovers—follow along on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and join the discussion at #SeektheSeal.

About the Brewers Association

The Brewers Association (BA) is the not-for-profit trade association dedicated to small and independent American brewers, their beers and the community of brewing enthusiasts. The BA represents 4,800-plus U.S. breweries. The BA’s independent craft brewer seal is a widely adopted symbol that differentiates beers by small and independent craft brewers. The BA organizes events including the World Beer Cup®, Great American Beer Festival®, Craft Brewers Conference® & BrewExpo America®, SAVORTM: An American Craft Beer & Food Experience, Homebrew ConTM, National Homebrew Competition and American Craft Beer Week®. The BA publishes The New Brewer® magazine, and Brewers PublicationsTM is the leading publisher of brewing literature in the U.S. Beer lovers are invited to learn more about the dynamic world of craft beer at CraftBeer.com® and about homebrewing via the BA’s American Homebrewers Association® and the free Brew Guru® mobile app. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

The Brewers Association is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, or marital/familial status. The BA complies with provisions of Executive Order 11246 and the rules, regulations, and relevant orders of the Secretary of Labor.

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