Where Breweries Can Look to Find Regional Growth

Finding an untapped market to build a craft brewery’s growth is always on the mind of a decision maker in the industry.

For the Southeast, growing the market means continuing the education of macro drinkers. Georgia brewery Creature Comforts CEO Chris Herron noted that his brewery, which has grown from less than 2,000 barrels in 2014 to being on pace to surpass 20,000 in 2017 is finding both craft-leaning consumers along with tapping into the market of drinkers that have yet explored craft beer.

“There is still a lot of room for growth in craft in our region,” Herron said. “There is so much more diversity that we need to figure out how to engage with more intentionally and effectively.”

Additionally, while California is seemingly more accustomed to craft beer than Georgia, there are pockets were craft is indeed still not widely accepted. But the “a rising tide lifts all ships” mentality has helped growth in the region.

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“If a competitor leads them into the craft market it’s good overall to gain the new consumer who may branch out to your product once they are comfortable in the craft market,” said Mad River Brewing Marketing Director Tera Spohr.

Trying to follow what’s hot to attract new consumers isn’t always the goal, she added.

“As a small company we change what styles are offered in our Artisan Series every few years but otherwise we have small budgets for research into segments,” she said. “We watch trends, but usually can’t act as fast as larger breweries to jump into the new trend first.”

Creature Comforts is not focused on going after a specific segment, noted Herron, as they want to create a brand and products that will feel inviting to all consumers.

“If people are passionate and curious, we think that we have a great platform for them to engage with us, regardless of the demographics,” he said. “I would say we try to just be more thoughtful to ensure we are not neglecting and/or turning off any potential consumers versus really trying to target a specific group.”

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