Shopping Spree: Interesting Additions to your Swag Shop

Selling more than a branded T-shirt or glassware can offer consumers more variety and allow a brewery like Ecliptic Brewing to reach a greater range of customers.

Although the Portland, Oregon brewery does offer up the “basic” array of merchandise, mixing it up with patches, pins and buttons also sell very well.

“Perhaps one of our fans doesn’t need a new T-shirt or our hat offering isn’t their ‘style’ — although we do offer lots of different options,” said Marketing Manager Colette Becker. “[A consumer is] able to help rep and support our brand with another option.

“We want to have options for everyone.”

Pepin Young, taproom and facilities manager at Bent Paddle Brewing said they​ think of ​the Duluth, Minnesota brewery’s swag as another vehicle to connect with ​a customer​ while ​ ​promoting the brand and expressing the brewery’s lifestyle​.

Diversity is a priority, too. In addition to T-shirts and hoodies, Bent Paddle sells bike jerseys and flannel shirts, growler carriers and glassware, and two kinds of beer soap. Customers can even sign up for brewery tours and yoga classes online.

“We absolutely love our merch, almost as much as we love our beer,” Young said. “First, we design apparel that we want to wear. We like to cover a wide range of price points and offerings, striking the balance between having an impactful selection versus being over assorted.”

Online at Lagunitas’ “Schwagshop,” the brewery sells everything from tie-dyed onesies for newborn babies to dog treats and hoodies for dogs. Beer pitchers and mason-jar pint glasses with the company’s familiar dog logo also can be purchased on the website as well as IPA-scented candles and even a harmonica.

“It’s important to have diverse offerings because everybody’s a little different, and not everyone can fit into a 12-month onesie anymore, you know,” ​said Karen ​Hamilton​, Director of Communications at Lagunitas​.

​The top seller at Fort George is a simple t-shirt with the brewery’s logo, as well as black hats.

“I’ve never considered the merch we move out of the pub to be about advertising,” ​said Merch Manager Kirsten ​Pierce. “For me — when I was a server and now as merch manager — it has always been about offering our customers something really cool to take home with them. But it is nice to walk around town and see a bunch of Fort George gear on the street.”

Fort George set a goal at the beginning of 2019 to hit 3% of net restaurant sales by the end of 2024, and so far, they’re ahead of schedule to meet that goal.

​Ecliptic sells its merchandise both in-house and online.

Becker explained that they have a small storefront behind the host stand at the taproom, ‘which keeps things tidy and organized.’

​The brewery’s merch supplier hosts an online storefront, which is super helpful for the logistics of sales.

“It’s one less thing we need to manage, as they track and fulfill all orders,” Becker said. “We provide merch photos for the store, and they keep the inventory and do all shipping. We recommend this approach.”

Callie Miller and Bob Cunningham contributed to this story

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