Brewery Brand Maturity
When it’s time to evolve your brewery brand.
The Craft Brewing industry is heading towards a stage of maturation. More breweries across the country equate to more competition and more sophistication needed within the business to grow and gain loyal drinkers.
Nationwide there are about 4,000+ craft brewing companies, which represents a 16% increase in 2015, according to the Brewers Association. This still only represents a craft brew share of 12.2% compared to non-craft and imports. Only a small portion of breweries reach 10,000 BBLs per year in volume. A regional brewery is defined by annual beer production between 15,000 and 6,000,000 BBLs. That’s a huge range. Breweries looking to cross into the 15,000 to 30,000 BBLs threshold need to be a sophisticated operation, inside and out.
While the new breweries launch and work to survive and thrive, there are many craft brewing companies working to carve out a market position now that they’ve hit some level of business stability. Regardless if your brewery’s goals are moderate growth for the sake of profitability or accelerated growth to capture the attention of acquirers like Anheuser-Busch InBev and SABMiller, breweries need to grow to survive.
So, how do you know when it’s time to evolve your brewery brand?
Without a brand story and a consistent system on which to market your brand, you’re just selling beer. When breweries reach the 10,000 to 20,000 BBLs thresholds they need to get serious about their brand if they want to grow, while staying true to their roots, their craft, their community and their culture. Better brands are winning in the craft brewing marketplace.
Some brewery brands have done a remarkable job in establishing a potent market position and building a loyal audience through their great beer, focused sales efforts and a brand that fuels the brewery forward. Green Flash, Modern Times, Ballast Point, Brooklyn Brewing and Dogfish Head are just a few of the brands who’ve evolved their brands over time and established a clear market position that ignites engagement between their products and customers.
The impetus behind any brand evolution is an economic goal. It’s no longer enough for breweries to just deliver great beer. Customers have a growing insistence for brands that represent something bigger than them and they attach themselves to brands that are aligned with their beer drinking preferences, lifestyle and beliefs.
Because the need for brand evolution, or creation from scratch, is always driven by an economic desire—more customers, more profit, more investment, more growth—it is up to the brewery leaders to get serious about their market presence. In order to keep up with production increases, breweries need to drive demand for their product through relevant and differentiated branding, marketing and sales.
Most industry studies show that current consumer and growth trends are still favorable for breweries, and it’s clear that the more growth-oriented, more mature breweries across the US are claiming their market position and building powerful brands for bankable growth.