B.C. has earned a reputation as a micro-brewery mecca when it comes to local Craft Beer. As home to some of the industry’s legacy brands such as Howe Sound Brewing and R&B Brewing, to the budding brands like Postmark, 33 Acres., Brassneck, Dageraad (and many more), B.C. has contributed some of the most successful key players in the craft beer movement.
In recent years, craft beer has become infused in our cultural identity to such a degree that Vancouver’s reputation as a destination city is largely as a result of its many craft breweries. What is evident across the board is that social media has continued to play a pivotal role as a tool in this popularity.
For brands who have adapted to the digitization of consumer demand, social media has become a comprehensive marketing tool with proven potency. Studies have shown that 63% of Millennials stay updated on brands via social media, with 46% counting on social media in buying decisions, and 84% saying that they rely on user generated content in solidifying brand trust.
These numbers speak to the key indicators of social media’s efficacy in the niche of craft beer, but how?
Craft Beer is to Millennials as Vinyl was to the Baby Boomers– it’s more than just an entity or a product– it’s a shift in the paradigm; it’s about taking something universally embraced (beer) and reworking it. It’s about the basic principle that mass production fuelled by sales quotas and widespread distribution compromises both the quality and integrity of the product. This emphasis on authentic innovation in the face of the overbearing bureaucracy (the man, so to speak), has become a mentality definitive of the millennial cohort, and as such, millennials have found an underdog narrative in Craft Beer that evokes a strong sense of loyalty and support.
This foundation of support is amplified by social media, as platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and now hosted live-stream platforms, such as Periscope, offer a transparent, instantaneous means of communication between vendor and consumer; for the first time, consumers can directly engage with representatives of a product, and they can do it now.
Whereas many large-scale corporations will sooner send you through a booby-trapped labyrinth (to end up at a gator filled-moat) than allow the everyday customer contact high-level reps, craft breweries–defined by their grassroots nature, have adopted a tin-can-phone mentality. By embracing social media as an intimate, direct and transparent means of communication with their customer, crafter breweries have put themselves in a league of their own when it comes to customer engagement.
For the first time, social media has made it so that consumers are getting to communicate directly with the source– information straight from the horse’s mouth– and in real-time, something that is treasured by savvy, impatient and proficient social media users.
Transparency, authenticity and instant gratification are the primary communications demands of the Millennial generation, and craft brewers–well, they get it. Not only do they have a firm grasp on the habits of their consumer demographic, but at the end of the day, their product speaks for itself. By staying true to their craft, producing excellent product, and bolstering themselves with all of the tools that social media has to offer, it’s no wonder that Craft Beer has been as successful as it has, aptly dubbed a revolution.
Stay tapped in (wink face emoji) for phase 2 of our craft beer case study, where we’ll discuss craft brewers’ use of social media in branding.
Until then, Hoppy Drinking (last one, we promise)!