While walking the aisles of a beer store last week, I overheard two customers discussing the expansive array of craft beer brands on the shelf.
“It is amazing to me how many beers there are now,” one of the shoppers said. “How does anyone decide which one they are going to buy?”
It’s a fair question, and one craft brewery owners are constantly asking themselves. For an iconic brand like Sierra Nevada, that lives and dies by the sales of its flagship Pale Ale, it’s about offering customers new and innovative varieties of beer.
“We have been trying to do a lot to delight our customers, stay connected with them and make sure we are giving them what they want as far as wide range of different beer styles to choose from,” said Ken Grossman, Sierra Nevada’s founder.
For others, it’s all about the branding.
“About a year and a half ago, we launched all of our new branding,” said Brandon Borgel, the director of sales and marketing for Speakeasy Ales & Lagers. “We hadn’t changed the look of Speakeasy in 15 years and it was a big thing to take a leap and say, ‘we are going to totally rebrand from the top down.’ We didn’t want to lose what we had, but we really wanted to not become part of the wallpaper.”
So, in an effort to avoid becoming part of craft’s wallpaper, long-established breweries like New Belgium and Brewery Ommegang have refreshed their looks. Even younger companies, like the five-year-old Hangar 24 Craft Brewery, which recently unveiled a new design, are searching for ways to keep consumers coming back.
At the 2013 Great American Beer Festival, Brewbound asked a number of craft brewery owners and representatives how they keep consumers engaged with their brands. Our latest video segment from last month’s event is included above for your viewing pleasure.