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Beer & Brewer Editorial Contribution

From on top to down under — FOE was honoured to have been approached to contribute to an article based on “brewery grow & branding,” published by Beer & Brewer, out of Australia, one of the largest craft beer magazine in the world.

Below is a snippet of the questions that were asked by Brew & Brewer, plus some insight into our creative outlook and processes.

Q: What do brewers need to bear in mind when growing their brewery?

Depending on where a brewer is in the stages of their business, this could vary, but I always recommend planning your year in advance, setting measurable goals for yourself and your team and to communicate effectively with all of your stakeholders; so that they are aware of your plans well in advance of when you hope to execute them. From a branding perspective, brewers need to ensure that their brand, packaging and print collateral effectively communicate who they are and what separates them. Take stock of your brand, does it communicate your values, and reach your targeted market? Do you know who your competitors are? If you do, ensure that you’re differentiating your self either through your product or your marketing communications.

From a creative perspective, when working with brewers, I like to meet quarterly and discuss what is in the works to ensure we are on the same page, our timelines are aligned and my team has ample time to create a label, package or other marketing materials that are going to effectively communicate with their targeted market. How your brand communicates to consumers is a major factor in their decision making, at point of sale, so give your creative team the time they need to get you something special.

Q: How is growing a brewery different to starting one from scratch?

When you are already established, all branding, assets and messaging “should” be in place prior to growing your brewery. These are the tools that will assist in creating a voice and communicating why your product is just “so damn good” and why everyone should buy it not once, not twice, but again and again. When growing your brewery, in theory, you should be able to leverage your existing brand and assets and focus on how you can expand them into your new product offering. At this stage you need to be thinking about what your objectives are – are you looking to gain broader distribution? Are you looking to expand our core line-up or offer “one off” seasonal brews? Depending on what your goals are, you may need different things but no matter what, this is a good time to assess your brand and marketing communications, to determine whether they are aligned with your goals.

When you start from scratch the approach is much more in-depth. You need to take a look at market space, conduct a competitor analysis and assess your brands desired message. This plays a crucial role in the brand development process of a brewery. Establishing brand recognition and equity plays a key role in sales, so solidifying this in your earliest stages can help a brewer succeed. The craft beer industry is an extremely loyal industry, so by providing clear, honest messaging and product incentive, you can pursue a loyal following – roughly 60% of craft beer sales is influenced by packaging and label design. A brewer should look to lure potential consumers visually and hook them with a premium, authentic product. Communicate how great the product inside really is.


Q: If a brewery is growing its capacity and output, why is this the time for a brand refresh (new brewery, new look, etc.)?

Growing capacity and output doesn’t automatically mean that it is the right time to rebrand, but more importantly to assess your current brand. Meaning, if there’s dedicated and loyal customer base in-place, then you may not want to confuse things by refreshing or changing your brand. Instead spend your resources to build out additional brand assets to expand your brand in-order to support the increase in product capacity and potential desire for future seasonal and experimental beers. This is a breweries opportunity to tighten up their messaging in order to re-solidify their brand loyalty and create incentive to entice more followers to climb aboard – sticking true to your values can go along way.

In other cases, this may be the perfect time to rebrand your brewery. If your value proposition is not being effectively communicated and you are not reaching your target market, then even an established brewery may want to use this time to liven things up. Additionally, when making a major shift like this, it is important that the change occurs across all areas of your business. A brewery may not only be increasing their production and capacity but also adding a tasting room, or brewery tours to increase their exposure. Brand continuity is vital – it not only tells a consistent story about your company values and mission, but also the product that you stand behind and swear by – so be authentic and live it everyday whether you are on the tasting room floor, firing up the milling machine or hosting a booth at a local festival.

Q: What should breweries consider when rebranding as part of a growth strategy?

The biggest thing to consider when rebranding your brewery is brand “authenticity” – If you’re not going to be authentic and true to the heart of your brand, it will show and it will reflect poorly on your product offering.

Start by answering the “why and who” (Why am I doing this? …Why do I love beer? …Why does this industry get me up in the morning?…Who are we?…Who do we want to buy our beer?). It will set the tone for your brand values, create a unique voice, even influence the ingredients that you choose for your beer styles, but most importantly it will set us (your creative partner) up for success in the way that we approach market research, competitor analysis and explore your brand’s visual identity & packaging designs.

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