How to Ingrain Your Brewery Into Your Community

Utilizing community outreach has allowed Great Northern Brewing to connect with people beyond just serving them a pint. The veteran brewery has been in the same location in downtown Whitefish, Montana since 1995 and they say they have been hell-bent on brewing great beer and providing great experiences for everyone who comes through the doors.

“It sparks conversation, breeds partnerships and contributes to the overall growth and vibrancy of not only our brewery but our community as well,” said Niki Bates, the Retail, Marketing and PR manager for Great Northern.

Located in the downtown area, the brewery which has grown from about 1,300 barrels in 2011 to nearly 7,000 in 2016 is constantly developing its community involvement because Bates said they believe it’s imperative to give back to not only the locals but also the tourists who give support, even from thousands of miles away.

“Connecting with community members and being able to provide opportunities to better our town and experiences here is very important to [us] and we love every second of it,” she said.

A few ways Bates said that the brewery makes local connections include:

  • Every month the brewery hosts an event called ‘Pints for Purpose’ where they donate $1 of every pint sold for one evening to a local non-profit. They offer their Draught House space to the non-profits to host silent auctions, raffles and other means of generating additional revenue for their organization or cause. “These are some of the most fun evenings we have and being able to give back and connect with people and causes that are working to make our surrounding communities a better place is just the icing on the cake,” Bates said.
  • Every September, Great Northern releases Frog Hop, the state’s first Wet Hopped Pale Ale. Before they begin making the beer the brewery has its annual ‘Hop Swap’. “The Hop Swap gives any local grower the opportunity trade their hops for beer,” Bates said. “This is a fun event that gets locals involved in the process and allows anyone to contribute to one of our very popular fall brews.”
  • The brewery also sponsors events and programs at Whitefish Mountain Resort, a local mountain, where they are able to connect with people from all of the world to share the brewery’s beer, along with the brewery’s story and the staff’s love of the outdoors.

Bates said the brewery promotes events via a website calendar, social media pages including Instagram and Facebook as well as with promotional materials such as posters and handbills.

They cross-promote as much as possible with whomever might be involved in the event such as sponsors, organizers, attendees and such.

Smaller events, like a bi-monthly Firkin tapping, is shared with regulars and locals via word of mouth and text alert options.

“Once the logistics are confirmed and the event is solidified, it’s just a matter of sharing with our audience, who are engaged and generally excited about brewery events and events we choose to sponsor,” Bates said.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *