The Brewers Association’s Chief Economist Bart Watson on why marketing and branding are more important than ever

Bart Watson’s findings on recent craft business are stirring up the market of microbreweries. How shall you compete with the global giants? Which aspects of branding should you focus on? Should you venture out beyond local fairs? How can you advertise cheaply?

With more beer consumers being conscious of their purchases, Watson, the Brewers Association’s Chief Economist, says the competition is soaring. So, how do you address the changing demands of today’s customers? You can start by adding some interesting moves by giving presents for some actions like sending photos for a specific topic or mentioning your product on social channels with posts, etc.

Or, you could try partnering with some production companies and offer presents for buying their product, i.e., “buy some food and get a bottle of beer for free.” It works like a welcome bonus in the online casino and attracts users or customers to your brand.

Here are five marketing strategies that your craft brand can use to cut a path in the new year:

No. 1 — Local events are your field
Breweries must compete with people who invite consumers to their breweries. How can you manage to promote your beer with comparatively lesser resources? Does your club host beer-drinking events? Why not advertise your product there?

You can sponsor a local sports club that is popular, and offer discounts and merchandise to those who attend the games. Does your brand have a seasonal or limited release policy? Don’t wait. Approach the organizers for a booth or about sponsoring any of the attractions.

No. 2 — Be honest about your craft branding
Do you know why Budweiser achieved the No. 1 ranking among top beer brands in 2019? It is because they have been open about the consistency of their beer and always maintained a unique air. But then, craft beer has taken up almost as much as 14% of the beer industry.

How did this happen? First, the craft market focused on locally-sourced ingredients. Don’t be afraid to tell your audience about your brewery. Be vocal about how committed you are to quality and promise your consumers the local taste. That’s why they have chosen your ale over some multinational conglomerate.

No. 3 — Find a partner
Looking for a partner? Here’s a hint: While beer customers and casino fans might seem widely different in their tastes, the trend is to bring them together and inspire sales. Mobile casino games are on the rise as gamblers are rejecting glam attires and luxurious casinos in favor of mobile gambling. They continue to look for something they can enjoy in the comfort of their own homes. After all, who wouldn’t like to sip on a refreshing beer while earning free 20 pounds in blackjack? You can place the promo codes for bonuses on your beer bottles.

No. 4 — Social media networking is more useful than you think
Social media is the least expensive, yet most accessible platform for your craft brand marketing. By reaching out to your target audience on social media, you can easily get the hang of the latest trends in consumer demands and technology. Be as innovative as you can with your brand’s social media promotion. Don’t just post the latest beer varieties or new sales hours, tell them a story. Tell them how your brand emerged and succeeded in reaching the place where you are.

No. 5 — Your customers are your loyal friends
Honestly speaking, every brand thrives on the goodwill of its consumers. However, craft business operations are even more dependent on a loyal fanbase. Why? The reason is that local breweries do not have the necessary capital to invest in print media and telemarketing. Word-of-mouth is a consistent and proven method to increase your sales.

Millennials are more eager to visit taprooms to get the experience of drinking craft beer. Here’s where you will capitalize on that. Engage with these enthusiastic beer-lovers who are interested in your craft. The chances are high that your customer will be well-versed in beer making. Hence, you should communicate with them, honestly and openly.

Following these craft brewery marketing tips will help you stay relevant and put forward a unique label to quench the customers’ thirst. So, what are you waiting for? Advertise your craft beer brand in the local fair and let us know how you fared.

Thomas Glare is renowned for his marketing strategies among the best of the brands. He shares his tips and suggestions through blogs. Also, he attends business seminars to provide valuable information on how to market a business right. He believes in helping people to grow and live. People do trust his tips and get great results.

More from Bart
5 craft spirit areas to watch in 2021

Brewers Association Chief Economist Bart Watson dishes on five areas craft spirit should keep an eye on in 2021. For more insights from Watson, as well as news across the industry, visit

Models are showing growth of 6% to 7% over 2020, but with production levels that will fall below 2019. That means it will take craft until 2022 to recover to its previous levels, and longer to fully return to the growth trend it had been following of 3% to 4% per year.

The on-premise has borne the brunt of the pandemic’s market disruptions. According to analysis from Nielsen CGA data, around one-fifth of on-premise consumers are waiting for a vaccine or treatment before they return to the on-premise. That means there will not be any significant recovery until late Q2 at the earliest.

Openings had been declining for around a year before the pandemic hit. As much as two-thirds of it is related to that longer-term trend rather than the impact of COVID-19. Next year may see a further decline, as fewer breweries plan to enter the pipeline and other structural factors such as lending make it more difficult to do so until the pandemic passes.

Next year will see closing numbers match the current market reality more closely, as closings rise sharply. Market conditions returning to normal may accelerate closings, both as breweries take stock of the hole COVID-19 has made in their finances, and as other players, such as landlords, end extensions or forgiveness on rent.

Craft has been growing its consumer base steadily over the past decade. Nielsen Harris data shows that the percentage of the 21 and over-plus population who drink craft has risen from 35% in 2015 to 44% in 2020. These demographics are likely to continue improving in 2021—and for the next several years—as an aging millennial population stays in or moves into the core craft age range.

If on-premise was the loser of 2020, e-commerce was the winner. Prior to the pandemic, estimates were that 2% or less of beverage alcohol volume flowed through e-commerce. Beer was a small portion of that. E-commerce sales for both beer and all beverage alcohol remain far beyond where they were a year ago.