How to Capitalize From Off-Premise Marketing

The rise of off-premise sales has been a huge change for many breweries and those that have been rising to meet the need in this capacity and quickly shifting to perhaps new sales strategies are benefiting in some way.

“Once people were forced to stay at home, packaged beer became their only option, and we saw a healthy spike in sales from liquor and grocery stores,” explained Amanda Jessen, co-owner of Bonfire Brewing in Eagle, Colorado — located 120 miles west of Denver. “Our marketing focused on our home delivery program, which in turn reminded people to shop Bonfire when they’re browsing the shelves of one of our off-premise accounts.”

Bonfire has an extensive and very consistent social media strategy, Jessen said.

“We also have supplier reps in each market visiting accounts, monitoring sales trends, hosting events, and gathering customer feedback,” she added.

Urban Artifact is selling in about nine states right now, but 95% of volume is still in the Cincinnati brewery’s home state of Ohio. Social media is ultimately the driving factor for the brewery as well.

“It’s hard to penetrate new markets, but we are slowly gaining,” said Director of Operations, Bret Kollmann Baker. “What we are seeing ultimately, is that the online market is mimicking the in-person market of about 6-12 months ago.”

For Urban Artifact, that means new releases are better as they see huge spikes with any release. When the brewery pushes hard with Facebook and Instagram, sales spike — new release or not.

“And we are seeing a surprising amount of people that are returning customers, which is fantastic,” he said. “Is beer brand loyalty making a come back? I fucking hope so!”

​The jury is still out on what is working ​best​ from a direct sales velocity perspective.

Although, with online sales from the brewery, Kollman Baker said making sure that account​s’​ ​aren’t being hurt​, either in sales or feelings.

“We are having no ill-will with our online store​, but​ we are doing a couple very important things,” he noted​.

​First, all new ​UA ​releases get physical distribution first. (​”​We aim for a week or more before it goes to the online store.​”)​ Urban Artifact has continued its Retailer Appreciation Program, ​with ​beers released that only go to retailers/bars/restaurants. ​That means no taproom ​or online sales.

​Also, almost every single post​ ​that mentions the online store, ​UA will mention ​to consumers​first to buy it at ​their local retailer/bottle shop/bar/restaurant.

​”​They eat, we eat​,” Kollman Baker said.​

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