As the craft beer industry has grown, so has its marketing efforts. Brewery owners are always looking for new ways to promote their beers, whether it’s through traditional advertising or more creative methods like social media campaigns or experiential events.
Each year, Ekos has searched for the best brewery marketing campaigns out there to highlight the best of the industry and inspire other beer producers. This post includes an overview of beer marketing campaigns and some of our favorites from the past several years. You can click through to past years’ posts to see more!
Without further ado: everything you need to know about beer marketing campaigns.
- Types of Brewery Marketing Campaigns
- What Makes a Great Beer Marketing Campaign?
- Best Beer Marketing Campaigns of 2022
- Best Product Launch: Burial Beer
- Outstanding Charitable Campaign: JuneShine
- Best Can Design: Jackie O’s Brewery
- Best Packaging Design: Tonewood Brewing
- Innovative Beer Marketing Campaign: Bronx Brewery
- Creative Video Production: 4 Noses Brewing Company
- Best Use of Social Media: Zilker Brewing Company
- Best Overall: Strange Fellows Brewing
- Best Beer Marketing Campaigns of 2021
- Best Event: Two Docs Brewing Co.
- Outstanding Charitable Campaign: Backcountry Brewing
- Best Product Launch: Cape May Brewing Company
- Best Packaging Design: Bandido Brewing
- Innovative Marketing Campaign: War Horse Brewing
- Creative Video Production: Laughing Sun Brewing Company
- Best Packaging Design: Great Notion Brewing
- Best Overall: Fernson Brewing Company
- Outstanding Charitable Campaign: Marz Community Brewing Company
- Judges’ Choice: R&B Brewing
- Best Use of Social Media: Royal Bliss Brewing
- Best Beer Marketing Campaigns of 2020
- Best Use of Social Media: Alvarium Beer Company
- Creative Video Production: Bentonville Brewing
- Best Product Launch: Crying Eagle Brewing Company
- Best Product Launch: East Brother Beer Co.
- Outstanding Charitable Campaign: Gate City Brewing Co.
- Best Packaging Design: Heart of Darkness
- Best Overall Campaign: Hi-Wire Brewing
- Best Event: No Label Brewing
- Best Overall Campaign: Other Half Brewing Co.
- Best Innovative Marketing Campaign: Wallenpaupack Brewing Co.
Types of Brewery Marketing Campaigns
There are many different types of marketing campaigns that breweries can run to promote their brand and products. Some popular options include:
- Social media campaigns: These can include paid advertising on platforms like Facebook and Instagram, as well as organic content creation and engagement on social media profiles.
- Event marketing: Hosting tastings, festivals, or other events can be a great way to attract customers and build brand awareness.
- Collaborations and partnerships: Collaborating with other businesses or organizations can help to reach new audiences and gain credibility. This can also include partnering with other local businesses, charitable organizations, or artists to create unique and rewarding experiences for customers.
- Influencer marketing: Partnering with local social media influencers or industry experts can help to build credibility and reach a wider audience.
- Content marketing: Creating valuable and informative content that appeals to your target audience can help to build trust and establish your brewery as an authority in the industry.
What Makes a Great Beer Marketing Campaign?
There are many ways to market your brewery, but the most successful campaigns are those that align with your brand and customer base. A great marketing campaign is one that people remember. It’s the one that sticks in their minds, even if it’s been years since they saw it. An effective brewery marketing campaign is unique, with a message and tone that makes it stand out from everything else on the market. It isn’t just effective — it actually gets people talking about what you do!
The best beer marketing campaigns are well-executed and consistent with a brewery’s brand values. They’re stories told well by people who know exactly how to communicate with their customers and why those customers should care about what they have to say (or drink).
To be effective, a marketing campaign should have the following attributes:
- Clear objectives: The campaign should have specific, measurable goals that align with the overall goals of the brewery.
- Targeted audience: The campaign should be designed to reach and engage the specific audience that the brewery is trying to attract (which means that you first need to identify and understand who that is!).
- Relevant message: The campaign should communicate a clear and relevant message that resonates with the brewery’s target audience.
- Consistency: The campaign should be consistent with the brewery’s overall branding and messaging.
- Measurable results: You should be able to track and measure the results, so that you can understand the impact of the campaign and make adjustments as needed.
- Creativity: A creative approach to campaigns will make them more engaging and memorable — which is all too important in the competitive landscape of craft beer.
By following these principles, breweries can create effective marketing campaigns that help to build brand awareness and attract customers.
Best Beer Marketing Campaigns of 2022
Best Product Launch: Burial Beer
Asheville-based Burial Beer Co. went all out for Halloween in 2022 with “Things We See In The Darkness Dwell In The Damnation of The Unforgiven,” an Imperial Stout that builds on the brewery’s generally spooky vibe.
Outstanding Charitable Campaign: JuneShine
Best Can Design: Jackie O’s Brewery
Jackie O’s debuted a winter treat with an even sweeter design: “Deck the Hills.” Deck the Hills is a celebratory English-style holiday ale featuring an adorable raccoon pulling a sleigh on the can.
Best Packaging Design: Tonewood Brewing
Tonewood Brewing’s new taproom, which opened in early 2022, lives on the site of the former lumber center in their town. This brew, “Lumberyard,” and its packaging pay homage to the former Mr. Roberts Lumber Company.
Innovative Beer Marketing Campaign: Bronx Brewery
Creative Video Production: 4 Noses Brewing Company
When 4 Noses Brewing Company had a new double IPA on the way, they knew exactly what to name it: “Jeff,” after one of their most “regular regulars.” This video captures an honest, sweet take on the naming process and the 4 Noses team getting to surprise Jeff with his new brew!
Best Use of Social Media: Zilker Brewing Company
Austin-based Zilker Brewing Company shares it all on social media: employee shout outs, product shots, merch promotion, and events. There’s no shortage of vibrant content to take in and get you interested in showing up to their Austin taproom.
Best Overall: Strange Fellows Brewing
Strange Fellows Brewing is for just that: strange fellows. Included in the mix is “Krampus,” a Belgian-Style Abbey Dubbel launched just in time for Krampusnacht. Strange Fellows celebrated this devlish holiday with a brewer-oriented take on The Night Before Christmas, a Krampus Market, and even pictures with Krampus.
Best Beer Marketing Campaigns of 2021
Best Event: Two Docs Brewing Co.
Texas-based brewery Two Docs Brewing Co. teamed up with the Better Business Bureau of Lubbock to create a first-of-its-kind networking event for their community. They brought together industry leaders and community members to talk about topics like cybersecurity, starting your own business, innovation, social responsibility, and more.
Outstanding Charitable Campaign: Backcountry Brewing
Since 2018, Backcountry Brewing has hosted an annual “Suck it Cancer” campaign with a limited edition double dry-hopped pale ale and fundraiser for the BC Cancer Foundation. Through collaborations with a local artist, working with local photographers, and a meet-and-greet event, the brewery has raised over $26,000!
Best Product Launch: Cape May Brewing Company
For the launch of a Helles lager collaboration called “Boat Ramp Champ,” the brewery and influencers posted on Instagram leading up to a release party with live music and appearances from The Qualified Captain team. Along with the release, Cape May Brewing debuted merchandise including a hat, t-shirt, and coozie.
Best Packaging Design: Bandido Brewing
Upgrading the traditional PakTech carriers for their four-packs, Bandido Brewing created a beautiful to-go box that can be modified to show off cans or be sealed up for more protection during shipping.
Innovative Marketing Campaign: War Horse Brewing
Inspired by Andy Warhol, War Horse Brewing set out to create a new campaign for their Change IPA series that incorporated pop culture into their existing 1940s/World War II aesthetic. The campaign started with a plan for four cans and to date, they’ve launched more than 16, with pop culture icons like Marilyn Monroe, Ziggy Stardust, Hulk Hogan, John Lennon, and The Grinch.
Creative Video Production: Laughing Sun Brewing Company
During the pandemic, Laughing Sun Brewing Company decided to leverage video to promote its new beers. The team created short videos, including Pandemic Tears and Beach Scooter, in a continuing adventure series for each new release.
Best Packaging Design: Great Notion Brewing
To get customers excited and improve their experience with the brand, Great Notion designed beautiful boxes with custom artwork to hold beer shipped to customers. Customer feedback has been amazing and the brand is regularly tagged on social media in unboxing videos and pictures.
Best Overall: Fernson Brewing Company
Outstanding Charitable Campaign: Marz Community Brewing Company
During the pandemic, the brewery started a community kitchen to provide meals to people facing food insecurity in Chicago. Partnering with local farmers and suppliers, Marz was able to support local businesses while providing a service for those in need.
Judges’ Choice: R&B Brewing
R&B Brewing made their seasonal release for anyone who has had enough of video conference calls during the pandemic: the Green Screen IPA. The packaging design features the iconic green screen color so that people can attend virtual meetings with an invisible beer in hand.
Best Use of Social Media: Royal Bliss Brewing
Royal Bliss Brewing planned a social media campaign that started with demographic research of their target audience. They created a visual narrative for their Instagram, which resulted in a 74% increase in digital impressions in 30 days and more than 5,000 new followers.
Best Beer Marketing Campaigns of 2020
Best Use of Social Media: Alvarium Beer Company
Alvarium’s Instagram feed is full of professional-quality photos, fun and witty captions, and important information about products and how to purchase.
Creative Video Production: Bentonville Brewing
In 2020, Bentonville Brewing had a lot of fun with video, creating two videos for product launches — an animated promo, “Space Goose & the Escape from Galactic Prison,” and a music video for their Amber Lager that parodied the song “I Saw a Tiger” from Netflix’s Tiger King.
Best Product Launch: Crying Eagle Brewing Company
Crying Eagle launched the Things Unsettled Hazy IPA, referencing the unsettled nature of a Hazy IPA and the underlying battle between big beer and craft. The creative packaging and promotion strategy made this launch memorable and effective.
Best Product Launch: East Brother Beer Co.
In response to COVID-19, the East Brother team developed their “Pride and Purpose” beer. The marketing campaign was designed by taproom regulars and proceeds from sales of the beer supported local organizations.
Outstanding Charitable Campaign: Gate City Brewing Co.
Gate City’s team of female brewers, designers, and marketers created the Freedom Fighter IPA marketing campaign to fight against human trafficking in Atlanta. For each beer sold, $1 was donated to local Atlanta nonprofits rescuing girls from trafficking.
Best Packaging Design: Heart of Darkness
Heart of Darkness is a Vietnam-based brewery that is no stranger to winning awards for its delicious and creative beers. Their logos and packaging are bold, unique and beautifully designed.
Best Overall Campaign: Hi-Wire Brewing
To support the hospitality industry during COVID-19, Hi-Wire Brewing introduced a “Beer for Good” to benefit service industry workers, with a portion of proceeds donated to USBG National Charity Foundation and the North Carolina Restaurant Workers Relief Fund.
Best Event: No Label Brewing
When curbside pickup was the only option for breweries in 2020, No Label Brewing saw an opportunity to connect with the community. They ordered masks to give to customers and frontline workers who visited the brewery. In the first few days, the line outside to get a mask and buy beer was over a mile long.
Best Overall Campaign: Other Half Brewing Co.
Other Half Brewing started a worldwide beer collaboration called All Together to bring the craft beer community together during COVID-19. The idea was a collaboration that anyone could participate in, with 100% of the proceeds going to support out-of-work hospitality workers.
Best Innovative Marketing Campaign: Wallenpaupack Brewing Co.
To keep sales coming in during COVID-19, the Wallenpaupack team got creative with two sales promotions — a 14-day quarantine pack with a beer for each day of quarantine and at-home beer dinners.