How 2021 Has Adjusted Future Planning

Going into a new year, plans by many experts in the craft beer field have been sorted out through many meetings with managers and staff and even looking to other fields of industry to see what the consumer needs, wants, and doesn’t know yet that they must have.

This year may have been better in terms of planning for 2022 than how 2020 helped breweries set goals for this year. Breweries shared with Brewer how this past year is helping shape the coming year in different ways.

More insights are available in the November/December 2021 issue of Brewer with the 2021 Expert Outlook.

​Focus on the Win

There’s only so much cooler space at retail, and the pandemic certainly has impacted that there’s only a certain amount of handles in the on-premise and SweetWater CMO Brian​ Miesieski understands that there’s a lot of competition out there.

“You’re not going to get even half your portfolio in every place,” he said. So the Atlanta-based brand is focusing on its core products in production while not forgetting that variety can be a spice of life.

“We always want to be innovative,” he said. “I’m certainly not going to say we’re dialing back in being experimental and provocative with our brews, but when you’re trying to manage such a big and diverse portfolio​, you do have to concentrate on brands that are ultimately going to win in the market today.

​”​We do some fun things like our Dank Tanks that​ are just quick in and out​​. Seasonals are obviously a place where you can kind of have some fun and get interesting​,​ and put sours out there.”

​It’s not that​ SweetWater isn’t going to do those ​types ​anymore​, but Miesieski said they are seeing that if there’s not a big opportunity ​in growing a brand, and consumers are going to try it once and then move on,​ ​then they need to put time​,​ energy and resources into what’s really going to fuel the fire.

​”We have a taproom for that and the Colorado brewery and airport bars​,” he said. ​”​So consumers can always get some interesting brands and beers and other products from SweetWater. But where you really got to focus if you’re going to win and continue to fuel the fire and drive expansion across the US, you got to kind of hit more of the sweet spot.

​”That’s just the Pale Ales, the IPAs, and getting into other parts of the cooler where there might be some rooms such as seltzers, hard teas, and RTDs as well.​”​

Local ​Impact Regional-wide​

​Even as a regional or national brand, a brewery still has to find a way to cater to its home audience as well while having a larger impact in surrounding areas.

For DuClaw​‘s​ community outreach, Marketing Manager​ ​Rachel Bradle​y said the Baltimore brand is planning to continue strengthening financial contributions and collaborations, always putting people first over sales.

​”​In previous years, our core fundraising tactic would be to simply release a beer and hold an event locally to collect donations​,” she explained. ​”​But, we knew we could pivot for a larger impact.​”

For instance, in March 2021, ​DuClaw partnered with the Colon Cancer Foundation and Squatty Potty to launch ​the “Thanks for Giving a Crap” beer and challenge and raised more than $20K.

​”​In 2022, we’re continuing the program with a new interactive campaign, and extending our reach by selling directly in stores​,” Bradley said.​

In October 2021, ​the company launched Hopportunity Awaits in partnership with craft x EDU to provide educational scholarships for emerging industry professionals, and plan to release the beer again in 2022. ​The cans featured 10 different stories from industry changemakers who carved a unique pathway for themselves into craft beer.

​”​At its core, this project is meant to show folks from all backgrounds that they can apply their unique skill sets to a solid career in craft brewing​,” Bradley said.

“We’re excited to plan more outreach as the year progresses, exploring new ways to raise awareness about impactful organizations while using our beer as a powerful tool for connection and community support.​”

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