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  • Writer's pictureCalla Norman

You Need Two Glasses to Clink: 4 Collaborative Marketing Strategies for Craft Breweries

Updated: Aug 10, 2021

 a bunch of taps at a brewery

For a craft brewery, your community is everything! Your neighbors are the ones buying your beers, visiting your taproom, wearing your t-shirts, and waxing poetic about your lagers to all their friends. So, why not leverage your community to help market your brewery?

At Honeycomb, we know that collaboration is important to any small business, neighborhood breweries included. It keeps things fresh, introduces new ideas, and expands the market beyond your usual beer nerds. So, here are a few collaborative marketing strategies that you can use in your taproom, take-out window, and even in the brewery itself!

1. Host events with other local small businesses

Many breweries are perfect venues for a variety of different events that can be hosted throughout the year. Whether you have a spacious taproom or a beautiful outdoor beer garden, you can welcome not only customers but also other small businesses to collaborate within a mutually beneficial relationship!

One way many craft breweries do this is by inviting a local food truck to do a pop-up on the premises. This is a great idea if you don’t happen to have a kitchen yourself! But the possibilities don’t end there.

patio at Monkey Wrench Brewing Company

Honeycomb alum Monkey Wrench Brewing Company in Suwanee, Georgia, hosts everything from morning yoga sessions to puppy adoptions (as we all know, dogs and beer-lovers go together like peanut butter and porter). Because of their outdoor beer garden, it’s easy to socially distance and safely keep the party rolling.

2. Host Brewery Pairing Events with other Small Businesses

Chances are your customers who think of you as their neighborhood brewery have some other favorite local haunts as well - connect with them! You can link up with a local bakery, cheesemonger, coffee shop, or even butcher shop to perfectly match your brews with their products and host tastings.

These kinds of events are fun to do in-person, but are easily adapted for social distancing as well! Just plan the pairings with your collaborator, plan out how people will be able to sign up and pick up pairing kits, and you can even set up a Zoom tasting session.

There are really no limits when it comes to what kinds of pairings you can do. Guggman Haus Brewing Co. in Indianapolis did a beer and pie pairing with local bakery 4 Birds! Seasonal pie + seasonal beer + tickets to an online beer tasting = a collaborative marketing match made easy as … you get the idea.

Is there a local bakery, or other small business that you love? Why not spread the love by reaching out to them and working together on a pairing event!

3. Look Locally for Inspiration and Collaboration

Collaboration doesn’t just have to be limited to the local food scene. Craft breweries are increasingly looking to local landmarks, celebrities, sports teams, and more to create collaborative, co-branded beers.

Swedesboro Brewing, another successful Honeycomb campaign, names many of their brews after beloved local figures. For example, their Morton’s Cabin Fever Porter is named after a local pioneer who built the cabin for which the beer is named!

Logo for Swedesboro Brewing Company's Morton's Cabin Fever Porter

Reach out to popular local restaurants and see if they’d like to work together on a signature ale for their establishment. Is there a famous icon from your city that you could pay tribute to with your beer?

The key to this kind of collaborative marketing is actually pairing up with organizations to help market your brew. For example, maybe you can create a limited-edition beer for a museum fundraising event, or create a signature beer for a local whiskey distillery using their aging casks.

4. Collaborate with another brewery, maybe even internationally!

Also - and this might seem crazy - why not collaborate with another brewery? Many larger craft breweries sometimes “host” guest brewers in their space, working together on a recipe and creating a new brew together.

facebook post from Abjuration Brewing Company, explaing collaboration with Verdant Brewing Co's yeast

Abjuration Brewing in Pittsburgh, another Honeycomb alum, coordinated with Verdant Brewing Co from the United Kingdom on this beer, simply by using their yeast! Abjuration is known for its penchant for experimentation, and collaborating with other local breweries and businesses for them comes naturally.

For fledgling breweries, collaborating with other neighborhood breweries is a great opportunity to help get more experience in a larger setting, and also reach a wider audience. For the bigger breweries, it’s a chance to foster relationships with other local breweries, act as a mentor, and also gain a reputation for being a community-minded business.

Collaborative Marketing to Collaborative Crowdfunding

By now, you should be thinking that collaborative marketing is a great way to build your network, freshen up your marketing strategies, and expand your customer base. Did you know that you can also bring collaboration into funding loans to grow your business?

This is where Honeycomb comes in. With our community-oriented approach to investing, your loyal customers and collaborative partners can invest in your business so you can keep doing what you’re doing - creating a stronger neighborhood.

Want more information about crowdfunding with Honeycomb? Sign up below.


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