5 Tips to Boost Sales & Marketing in 2021

5 Tips to Boost Sales & Marketing in 2021

It’s good to have 2020 behind us, but there is still a ways to go before breweries can return to normal operations. Brewery owners and brewmasters have done an amazing job adapting to keep the lights on; so far, we’ve seen curbside pickup and outdoor seating as two common ways to make up the revenue lost to the pandemic.

But is that all we can do for now?

It is important that craft breweries maintain a healthy business because they are intimately connected to the local community, providing not only tasty beer but job opportunities and a sense of identity. Together, we can work to make sure craft beer lovers can continue to enjoy your brews during these difficult times.

Here are 5 sales & marketing tips your brewery can adopt today to set 2021 up for success.

1. Communicate that you’re open for business

2. Stay genuine with your website

3. Engage with customers on social media

4. Expand packaged beer distribution

5. Collaborate with your suppliers

Keep reading to see brewery examples and detailed how-to.


1. Communicate that you’re open for business

Thin Man Brewery advertises their open taproom front and center of the website. (https://thinmanbrewery.com/)

Many craft beer lovers understand that breweries make more on the sale of beer bought directly from the brewery instead of a grocery store, so our job is to make the direct shopping experience as smooth as possible.

The pandemic has impacted each brewery differently. Many altered their business hours. While some started to offer curbside pick right away, others remained closed until new measures for employee and customer safety were implemented.

How can we help customers stay on top of all these changes and continue to support their favorite craft beer makers? Consider over-communicating both physically and digitally.

Physically - Put up banners and signs at your venue, and make sure they are big enough to be seen from a distance. Inform passing-by customers that you are still open for business. Let them know about your new business hours. If you have set up outdoor seating or implemented extra cleaning measure to help customers stay healthy, highlight these offerings!

Digitally – Take a more active role in managing all virtual channels that connect you to your customers. These include your website, Google Maps, Yelp, etc. More than ever before, customers rely on these channels for the most accurate facts about your business. Help them avoid the frustration of showing up at your brewery just to find it closed because they were misled by Google Maps.

Another important action is to continuously address the challenges and concerns revolving around the ongoing outbreak. Here is an example from Highland Brewing Co. to announce the changing availability of outdoor seating.

2. Stay genuine with your website

Kona Brewing Co. demonstrates their promise for environmental protection online. (https://www.konabrewinghawaii.com/whats-new)

Speaking of the website, make sure to leverage your existing online real estate in 2021. Digital media usage has skyrocketed since the lockdown, according to the global market research firm Nielsen.

Pre-COVID-19, customers often learn about craft breweries through in-person experiences, such as talking to the owner/bartender and brewery tours. Although these interactions are highly effective in increasing customer loyalty, they are opportunistic – customers discover interesting history and brewery values by chance depending on the conversation flow.

In contrast, your website presents a great opportunity to communicate your brand in a more organized way. Sharing those “behind the scenes” stories with customers also helps craft breweries stay genuine at a time in-person interaction is limited.

  • What’s the “origin story” of the brewery?
  • Can you demonstrate the quality of your beer by highlighting specific raw materials and their suppliers?
  • Can you explain the values that make you a positive impact in the community, such as sustainability, equality, diversity, etc.?

Because craft breweries represent a unique brand experience and independent identity, it is particularly important that you communicate what differentiates your brewery from the rest. Here is a guide to defining your core brand values for craft brewers.



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3. Engage with customers on social media

Real Ale Brewing Co. shares a family photo of its owners on social media. (https://www.instagram.com/RealAleBrewing/)

As digital media usage surge, if you do not already engage with customers beyond website and business review platforms, now is the time to get started on social media and meet customers where they are.

Consider starting a content calendar to help you plan and track across platforms (check out How to Create a Social Media Content Calendar: Tips and Templates from Hootsuite). Don’t be shy to showcase your authentic brand with your very own people. Video content often grabs attention, even if it’s not produced with the highest-level production quality.

To learn more, read A Craft Brewer’s Guide to Social Media: How to trend like the top brands.

4. Expand packaged beer distribution

New Holland Brewing Co. offers Product Locator function to help customers find packaged craft beer without having to travel to the brewery. (https://www.newhollandbrew.com/find-our-beer/)

Some craft breweries are surviving thanks to being in grocery stores. While not as profitable as direct sales, local grocery stores emerged as an important ally for craft breweries during the lockdown for several reasons:

  • Grocery stores offer an alternative route to reach customers when on-premise consumption is limited.
  • Many people come to learn about a new brewery by browsing the grocery store beer aisle. It is also where they become first-time customers and later be inspired to visit the brewery.
  • For larger breweries, grocery stores enable a reach beyond the immediate neighborhood/city in which the brewery is located.

Based on our years of experience helping customers sell to grocers across different consumer industries, here are the levers to pull whether you are negotiating with a new distributor or justifying your shelf space:

Consistency – One of the biggest concerns for the procurement manager at grocery stores is whether small suppliers can maintain a consistent supply both in volume and quality compared to national suppliers. This is where brewing enzymes shine: Attenuzyme Pro helps to release a consistent level of sugars from your raw materials, and Maturex Pro eliminates diacetyl rest to help control for the taste.

Turn-around time – Ironically, while grocery stores ask for craft breweries to maintain consistent volume, there are times when sales exceed the forecast, and suddenly the procurement manager calls the craft brewery for “emergency orders”. Luckily, you can respond to this unplanned demand in a timely manner by shortening the brewing time with enzymes; Ceremix Flex helps to decrease the lautering time or even eliminate the cereal cooking process completely. You can also watch brewmaster JD from White Street Brewing explain how he improved his brewhouse efficiency.

5. Collaborate with your suppliers

Novozymes is dedicated to sharing craft brewers’ experience with specialty ingredients to help you brew beer better. (https://www.brewingwithenzymes.com)

Last but not the least, don’t forget about your partners! We mean it when we say the craft beer industry must work together to get through these challenging times. There are many synergies to be discovered between a craft brewery and ingredient supplier.

As suppliers work with numerous craft breweries at once, they often gain in-depth knowledge of some common issues other brewers face and their solutions. So don't be shy to reach out! A quick conversation may save you weeks of work.

Additionally, suppliers are often happy to provide brewers free samples to help brewers find the best product for their specific needs. While lots of product information can be found online, it never hurts to book our brewmaster Mark Stevens and have a customized discussion.

Once you find your hero product, a testimonial in return is always appreciated. By sharing your thoughts on the supplier’s website and social media, you receive free advertisement and online traffic in return.


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About the Author

Helen Lai

Market Insights Manager, Novozymes

Helen is passionate about enzyme technology for industrial and consumer applications. With 2.5 years of technical B2B marketing experience and a PhD in microbiology from Duke University, she specializes in translating market and customer data into actionable insights to drive growth. Based in North Carolina, Helen visits Asheville often to enjoy the lively craft beer scene and the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains.


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