Welcome to part three of the Six Pack of Brewing Success. Now I know I promised that it would take six weeks to get through this series and that was seven weeks ago where only now are we at the half way mark, but in my defence, I drink quite a bit and I get distracted easily so you know, live with it.
Let’s start with the question of pub versus bottleshop. People are much more likely to try a beer if it’s on tap in a pub rather than at a bottleshop, firstly because there is generally less choice in a pub which might have 6-8 beers on tap versus a line-up of fifty or so different beers in even the worst bottleshops. Also most bottleshops are geared towards 6 packs or slab sales and no one wants to risk ending up with 6, or worse still 24, shit beers.
So first and foremost getting tap presence is super important in getting trial, of course it’s harder to get a tap in a pub than included in a bottleshops range, but then again it’s cheaper to keg than bottle so it’s swings and roundabouts.
But what can a brewery do beyond this simple distribution focus? The next obvious option is tastings, there are a few breweries like Mildura who do a really nice job of this, particularly in the mainstream Uncle Dan’s stores, I’ve also been to some good ones from Moo Brew and others – and yes after they give you free beer you do feel compelled to buy a 6 pack or two.
But what about the things that breweries aren’t doing?
Say you are a brewery that has a popular style (like say Mountain Goat Steam Ale) and you have a new beer to launch, why not give away one of the new ones when someone buys a six pack of their favourite beer?
What about if you were someone like Two Birds, you have successfully launched a Golden Ale, people seem to be buying it and now you launch your second beer the ‘Sunset Ale’ how do you get people to try it ? How about a mixed 6 pack, three Golden, three Sunset?
Let’s talk events, I’m not talking beery events here, yeah you can launch at Beer Deluxe or the Local Taphouse if you want, but let’s face it you are probably preaching to the converted (or soon to be). The Microbreweries Showcase might open it up a bit, but I think more breweries need to think beyond the traditional beer market.
Or maybe just look for unusual places to sample, Matilda Bay did this well with their tastings at places like South Melbourne market, where they matched their beer to ‘market style food.’ Of course the two times I encountered this it was breakfast time so I wasn’t really up for a beer, but a nice thought anyway.
As a brewery why not look for events that might contain a group of people that might like your product but don’t normally come across it? Perhaps you should find some art gallery openings, see if you can get those arty types to put down their wine and pick up a beer instead.
Or pick an industry – think that craft beer appeals to white collar males aged 25-39? Then pick an industry where there might be a lot of these people and advertise to them, run a competition where you will bring a keg of your latest brew to their workplace for Friday night drinks. Better still pick an industry that work in digital, free beer will get them twittering in no time.
There is no reason why trial strategies have to be giving away beer either, why not offer catering packs (mini-kegs would be ideal) to people organising events? I read here that Young Henry’s (a microbrewery in NSW) biggest customer for growlers is The Sydney Theatre Company who are then selling them the beer to patrons by the glass. Great idea.
And what about pop-up bars? Young people love that shit. Okay you might need a liquor license or something but these are just technicalities, wouldn’t it be cool to have a coffee cart like thingy with a couple of kegs it in serving beer to people in Melbourne’s laneways?
Here’s the thing – getting people to try your beer really isn’t difficult, but like all things it takes some thinking about and more importantly some hard work and time.