Despite growing indications of saturation in some markets, the craft beer segment’s growth continues apace. In 2015, the U.S. brewery count officially passed the previous all-time, high-water mark, set way back in 1873. According to the Brewers Association, there were more than 4,100 craft breweries in the country at the end of last year. That figure is almost certain to rise when it’s re-tallied this quarter. It’s now a question of if, not when, we’ll break through the 5,000-brewery mark. Craft beer’s popularity is a double-edged knife, of course. New breweries can no longer count on standing out simply by virtue of being new, local, or edgy. And traction is no longer a virtual guarantee, as was the case back […]
Nectar of the Gods. Is Cannabis the Future of Alcohol?
The use, sale and possession of Cannabis (aka Marijuana, Weed) in the United States is illegal under federal law, but some states in recent years have lifted the prohibition by creating state-level exemptions. As of today, 30 U.S. states have decriminalized marijuana for medical use, whereas patients can be prescribed medicinal products derived from, or infused with medical-grade (FDA approved) cannabis with a doctor’s recommendation. Colorado, Washington, Oregon, California, Alaska, Nevada, Massachusetts, Maine, Vermont, and Washington DC went further by also decriminalizing marijuana for adult (21+) recreational use. Definitions of what is legal for residents to use, possess, and transport are cloudy from state-to-state and remain difficult to navigate. Mainly because some states haven’t written their laws yet because they […]
Beer and Brands
To stand out in today’s growing craft beer market, a brewery not only has to brew great beer, but must also have a distinct brand. Consumers are faced with an unprecedented number of choices, and they use brands as a way to quickly cut through the clutter of crowded retail shelves and taps. A strong and unique brand makes a significant difference. In 2011, there were 2,027 breweries in the United States. Today, there are more than 6,300 breweries, a staggering 300+% growth in just seven years. And the number of beer brands has increased even more, as each brewery typically brews several beers with different names. Not surprisingly, the number of trademark disputes involving breweries has also been on […]
Beer Label Design – A Step-By-Step Guide To Working With A Label Designer
As the founder and creative director of a craft beer marketing and branding studio, I’ve spent years working with graphic designers, illustrators, artists, and photographers. Which also means that I’ve spent a lot of time with brewery owners working on beer labels and frankly, I’ve learned a lot about what NOT to do. I want to share what I’ve learned with you so that you can make the label design process as painless and effective as possible. It’s a process that is equal parts exciting and frustrating – but if approached with the right combination of planning and willingness to experiment, can result in SKU-selling magic that we all hope for. What follows is a step-by-step guide on working with […]
Labels & Graphic Design for Craft Beverages
With so many craft beverage producers creating high-quality products in the industry today, breweries and distilleries need to find ways to distinguish themselves and stand out from the competition. Many beverage producers achieve this through creative use of unique labels and packaging design, which when done well, make a significant impact on beverage sales. Purpose of craft beverage labels Like other beverage and food products, the primary use of alcohol labels is to provide information, but that isn’t all that they do. Beer and spirit labels are powerful marketing tools that help customers get to know your culture and identify with your brand. They can also highlight the unique features of the beverage contained inside and perhaps even list some […]
Brewers Know Their Business Best – How to Know it Even Better!
The cost of producing beer is always greater than the total price of the ingredients used to make it, and those breweries with the best understanding of the indirect costs associated with their offerings are well positioned for sustained organizational success. No brewery can truly make informed business decisions without a clear understanding of its business processes, flows and costs. Such visibility is gained by efficiently and effectively gathering operational data, processing it, managing it and leveraging it to positively impact the not only the business’s bottom line, but integral business decisions. Through an investment in the right enterprise software and resource planning (ERP system), a brewery can obtain the capability to use its operational data to gain a better […]
The Best Marketing eLearning Courses for Craft Beverage Producers
Does social media confuse or frustrate you? Are you feeling overwhelmed by print and digital marketing options? How do you decide which promotion, customer engagement tool, or marketing software is best for your business? One of the most common complaints from craft beverage producers is that they don’t have the time or the money to market effectively. That’s a lot like saying that you own a car but don’t have the money to buy gas for it. Trying to run a business without a strategic marketing plan that is implemented on a consistent basis is a sure way to run out of gas and fall behind your competitors. Many craft beer and spirits producers don’t realize that there are marketing […]
Do You Judge a Beer by Its Label?
The landscape of the craft brew industry tends to reflect a more edgy, and sometimes quirkier culture, certainly represented in its labels and graphic designs. Often the names of the breweries have a great story behind them and the individual beers follow the same trend. This leads to wildly creative expression of a brewery’s identity and product, delivered as fun and unique packaging and label designs, appearing in pubs and store shelves. In a quick glance, the final packaging needs to introduce the consumer to the brewery’s story, communicate their values and vision, and attract customers. So, do consumers choose their brew based on the brand personality conveyed on the label? You bet. According to the Brewers Association, there are […]
Software for Distilleries: What Spirit-Makers Need to Know
As a response to the craft beer boom and the sheer number of breweries operating across the country, there are currently more tech companies working with brewery software than distillery software. There are overlaps in the basic needs of these two industries, and an increasing number of software developers are working to accommodate distillery operations too. However, there are significant distinctions between breweries and distilleries in terms of software needs to keep track of things like proof gallons, angel’s share/evaporation, and barrel aging. This has led to the development of highly specific software that is designed with the unique needs of distillers in mind. Leading Distillery Software Companies One prominent leader in the distillery software industry is Whiskey Resources, which […]
Bridge and Tunnel Brewery’s Hyperlocal Marketing
Rich Castagna, brewer and proprietor of the Bridge and Tunnel Brewery and Taproom, in Ridgewood, Queens, tapped into a nostalgic mother lode when he selected Bridge and Tunnel as his brewery’s name. During the late 80s and 90s, the phrase “bridge and tunnel” was often used to describe the residents of Queens, Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Long Island, because a train or tunnel was required to access Manhattan from those outlying regions. Nightclub patrons understood that affluent and fashionable Manhattan residents drew a discerning line in the sand that ended where New York City’s outer boroughs began. If you used a train or tunnel to enter Manhattan, the odds of brushing past the bouncer guarding the door of an exclusive […]