Content Marketing & Craft Beer
With lockdowns and indoor-dining shutdowns thanks to the pandemic, the craft beer industry has had to get especially ‘crafty’ this year. Over the past few years, craft beer has increased in popularity with American consumers and the $29.3 billion market has continued to steadily grow. However, the pandemic has thrown a wrench into a lot of craft beer producers' plans. As top producers strive to attract new audiences, diversify their portfolios to accommodate changing tastes, increase distribution channels, and plan for a post-COVID world, you can expect to see a lot of innovation in the industry in the year to come.
So, what’s the latest in craft beer trends for 2021, and where’s the future of the industry heading? We tapped into the craft culture to find out.
New to the scene this past year was COVID-19 fears, that craft breweries and craft beer brands had to pivot to address. Many regions and areas did so effectively, by offering new options of pickup services at microbreweries or restaurants, and even delivery. While not all changes were welcomed, there were some points won for the craft beer game. Now, customers are more apt to seek for these convenient, and online options, to quench their craft brew cravings.
Recovering from COVID-19 precautions, and how the new market will look is still undetermined. But, if these unique delivery methods, like online purchasing and shipping still remain, the sky’s the limit for future growth and accessibility for new and veteran craft breweries.
It’s no surprise that Hard Seltzers like White Claw and Truly have taken over as the new ‘it’ drink. And, it doesn’t look like the fad is ending anytime soon. That’s why more and more craft breweries are bubbling their way into the trend. From big brands, to microbreweries, everyone who wants to be anyone in the craft brew market is trying their hand at fizzy success.
As the craft brew industry has grown, we’ve watched the spectrum of flavors, and palettes expand. That common diversification of flavor profiles continues on. So, what’s in this year? Sips of hazy, sour, and tart notes. Sour beers have taken their time making the journey from classic German beer haus’ to the US. Now that they’re here, acidic tones are joining refreshing, fruity and tart blends, and the up-and-coming hazy taste as the next best thing since dry, brut flavors that are on their way out.
Even though some have found themselves enjoying craft beer more since recent lockdowns and quarantines...others have taken the opposite direction. Low ABV (alcohol by volume) and NA (non-alcoholic) are trending more and more, right alongside health and wellness trends. Not to mention, expanding cannabis legalization which has shown to reduce alcohol consumption in large and long-standing legal states. Experts in the industry are predicting high ABV will soon be a niche market, and shifting focus to tamer taps will be beneficial.
Love for Lager
As much as beer aficionados love their craft brews, they share the love for lagers too. So, like the emergence of effervescent seltzers on the craft brewery scene - we’re seeing more and more lager blends show up, too. While lagers do take longer to produce, the timeline is proving to be worth it for small and large craft breweries. Considering craft beer isn’t for everyone - offering lager opens the doors to even more consumers who find comfort in their favorite non-crafty brew.
Cultivating Craft Connections
Those who love craft beer, aren’t looking for a generic, run-of-the mill experience. For the most part, craft beer connoisseurs seek an enriched adventure with the brews they love, while exploring the nuances they often offer. A part of this ambiance, is the story that comes along with the beer, as introduced by its unique name, or shown by its bold label.
So, continue the experience for craft beer buffs, by offering authentic marketing, and building a social media presence they can nurture a connection with. An intriguing brand persona is especially key for craft beer companies to reach new audiences, and increase recognition and retention with current customers, too. A content marketing mix for craft beer brands, that’s found to be successful includes:
- Sponsored editorial content - Sponsored editorial content lets brands reach and interact with new audiences in a more authentic and genuine way than traditional advertising tactics. Through sponsored editorials, craft breweries can share exciting news and updates, educate consumers about their products, and elaborate on what exactly makes their brand special without coming across as annoyingly sales-y.
- Interactive content - Showing your customers how and where they can enjoy the brews you produce helps them connect with the experience you’re selling.
- - There’s a reason why most brands now host, and promote their blog. Blog content serves as a simple communication tool with current customers, while also providing SEO opportunities to capture new.
- Social Media - Through influencers, customer spotlights, or videos - authentic, engaging and interactive type of content is well-received by a wide range of consumers. Especially in lieu of direct advertising, that can come off as sales-y, and off-putting to some.
- Pairings & cross promotion - Content, infographics or how-to guides that feature common pairings, or a connection to other popular products can offer double the reach. You can seek out like-minded partners for promotions - or put together a useful guide on your own that can resonate with customers, and serve as a tool for capturing contact information for future marketing, too.
In a world that’s increasingly going virtual, having the ability and opportunities to still connect with traffic is key. And unlike foot traffic, the online world allows you to customize, and segment your target markets to get your message seen by those who are seeking it. If you’re not yet taking advantage of content marketing for craft breweries, and craft beer - it’s time you hop on the trend.