How These 3 Breweries Stay Visible to Consumers During Pandemic

In this unprecedented time when customers are nervous to go out, hours are limited, and beer release parties can’t really be what they were before, breweries must work harder than ever to get visibility in their markets and beer in hands.

Owners and marketing staffs from California Wild Ales, Weldwerks, and Outrun (keep an eye out for our Last Pint in the September/October issue of Brewer on this new brewery) gave insights into how their breweries are getting creative during the COVID-19 pandemic and what that has done for sales.

  • California Wild Ales shifted its website to include an online store for bottles sales, as well as offering online ordering and curbside pickup.
    “We have also created some really fun themed beers to keep the sour beer community excited during these uncertain times,” said Bill DeWitt, co-owner of California Wild Ales. “Our May the 4th Star Wars-themed event was a great success. We created 11 Star Wars-themed beers including Banakin Skywalker, Chewboocha, ImPEARial Stormtrooper, and many more.  Giving people something to look forward to has been our main goal.”
  • Weldwerks Brewing has experimented with different beer release formats over time, so now that social distancing is the new norm, the brewery was prepared.
    “We’ve experimented intentionally over time with multiple release formats to not only just experiment to see which works best for us, but to accommodate different types of craft fans,” said Jake Goodman, Director of Marketing.
    Weldwerks has used Eventbrite, a format where craft beer lovers can purchase beer ahead of time. They’re also giving customers a month-long window to come pick up the beer so people don’t feel pressured to rush in and get their bottles. Spreading out the releases, too, helps customers feel like they’re getting something new and fresh every time they come in for beer.
  • Because it’s a new brewery that just opened in July and is working to build up its customer base, Outrun is putting an emphasis on getting crowlers out of the taproom. The Georgia brewery fills growlers if customers have them, but the owners don’t want to have growlers for sale, and it’s not just because, “People always forget them and then they have to buy another one and then your garage is full of 10 growlers that you don’t ever use,” said co-owner Ryan Silva. It’s also because he and co-owner Josh Miller believe that cans have the capacity to showcase Outrun’s logo better.
    “A growler, yeah, you can print stuff on it and put your logo on it, but cans have so much more of an expressive area,” Miller said. “People want to get beer to-go right now anyway, not just for safety but also because [crowlers] look cool. It kind of helps out both ways because it reduces the number of customers who are staying, so we don’t build up a ton of people and more people are just able to get it to-go and be on their way.”

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