Finding Niches to Help Boost Sales

From now, until November 1, Independence Brewing’s Austin Amber has a different name.

Because of the allegiance the brewery’s co-founder, Amy Cartright, has to the college she graduated from — The University of Texas at Austin — there is one particular team she isn’t a fan of.

And the football game happens to be tomorrow. The beer is rebranded for about two months as “Oklahoma Suks.”

“Both of our brewery founders are UT alums and this beer began as a tongue-in-cheek nod to the OU/UT football rivalry. And the Texas/Oklahoma state rivalry more generally,” said Marketing Director Nick Hiller. “The name ‘OK Suks’ is a reference to the common Texan diss, ‘The only reason Texas doesn’t fall into the Gulf is because Oklahoma sucks so hard!’ ”

The can’s old-school design features specific call-outs that OU football fans are sure to notice, including an upside-down image of Oklahoma’s silhouette and the can’s burnt-orange coloring. It’s a niche marketing ploy that can help boost sales of the brand for a short time.

“Austin Amber is a perfect beer for football season and by packaging it this way for a limited time, we are able to both reach new consumers and remind loyal consumers of one of our oldest and best-selling beers,” Hiller noted.

The brewery has been selling OK Suks for about 12 years now so Hiller said they have a pretty good idea of how much to package each year.

“Also, by packaging a beer that we already brew year-round, we are able to be responsive to fluctuations in sales,” he added.

Weighing in at a session-able 4.9% ABV, the Oklahoma Suks/Austin Amber is brewed using caramel blend and pale chocolate malts along with Nugget and Cascade hops and yeasted with American Ale (Chico).

Hiller said, as a brewery, their Texan roots are important to them which is why in addition to the annual OK Suks release, this year they also introduced their first year-round Lager called Native Texan Pilsner. Native Texan is a reference to the ubiquitous Native Texan bumper sticker.

Each can of Native Texan makes a Texas flag, and when stacked can create a large US flag.

“We’ve had a lot of fun with this beer and its packaging,” Hiller said, “It has rapidly become one of our best-sellers.

“The people of our great state clearly love good beer and share with us a deep admiration for the best state in the Union.”

Photos courtesy ​Julia Keim

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