Never Complacent, Twomey Drives New Belgium Marketing Plans

As New Belgium prepares to become a truly national product available in all 50 states this year (although branding as a national name is already there), finding new ways to market itself never stops. So the brewery brought on Ruairi Twomey as Vice President of Marketing in March, 2016.

Twomey has over 15 years of experience in leadership positions in Ireland, Canada, Nigeria and most recently in New York as Vice President of Marketing for Diageo Guinness USA, where he drove the Guinness and Smirnoff Ice trademarks as well as bringing a highly innovative approach to communication, innovation, digital and sponsorships.

“For many years New Belgium have been the ones to watch in the world of craft beer,” he said. “The portfolio is deep and diverse, the brand voice is strong and authentic and the culture is second to none. That has a real irresistibility to it.”

Twomey said he is “very pleased” with his marketing team, but that doesn’t mean they should rest on their laurels.

“To be content in the world of branding risks being complacent and we are certainly not that,” he said. “What I bring is maybe a more global, holistic perspective having worked in beer, wine and spirits on three continents over the past 22 years. That has exposed me to cultural nuance and dynamic markets that will serve us well in the ever-changing alcohol beverage landscape.”

Twomey took over Marketing responsibilities at New Belgium as the brewery celebrated 25 years of producing beers while expanding both its’ distribution footprint and product portfolio.

“We have a really strong, progressive leadership team at New Belgium and we all work together to progress the brand vision and develop our strategy moving forward. Our second brewery in Asheville opened in April, we have new Sales Leadership in Michael Corrigan who is an exceptional business partner, a really tight, collaborative way of working between Sales, Marketing and Operations and and we’re about to embark on a whole new chapter.

“As a marketer, it doesn’t get much more exciting than that.”


As the brand has grown to being distributed later this spring in all 50 states, the brewery can also look overseas for new opportunities.

“The American craft beer movement — let’s just call it American beer for our purposes — has worldwide respect as never before,” Twomey said. “We are making the world’s most interesting beer right now and our passion and energy creates excitement abroad. You absolutely have to have outstanding liquid in the glass, but there is something that fascinates in the “how” as well. we believe that New Belgium and all we stand for translates well across the globe.”

Twomey noted that many of the tried and true methods of promotion: experiential marketing, digital, social, interesting collaborations and partnerships —  are still underdeveloped.

“For us, it’s tweaking the percentages, getting to scale and going deep across platforms while we continuously test and learn what we might do next,” he said.

Twomey came to the brewery just as the Asheville, North Carolina facility was set to open. Twomey stressed that although it is two facilities, they are one brewery with slight ripples in story.

“The biggest difference might be in the Liquid Center (tasting room) tour and experience,” he noted. “We have hired most everyone on the Asheville team from the region, so they will come with their own stories and character. While we want the experience at both breweries to be consistently world-class, we also want Asheville to feel like Asheville and the surrounding area. The people you meet when you walk in that door each have their own story to tell, and we want to allow that personality to shine through. It would be an interesting summer adventure to take both tours and compare notes.”

So how can a brewery improve its marketing strategy? The key is to always listen and learn, Twomey said.

“We will always listen to and engage deeply with our base – the drinkers who got us to where we are today – while we continue to bring new drinkers into the fold,” he said. “I think you can only do that with one authentic voice, but that voice can have many inflections.”

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