Virtual Reality Opens Up Marketing Door for Craft Brewers

Being able to “tell your story” is a vital part of a craft brewery’s marketing mantra. Helping consumers learn through multiple aspects, with websites, labels, swag and face-to-face interaction are all key, but Deschutes Brewery has found a new path to go down in an attempt to connect with fans and future fans by introducing virtual reality videos.

The new immersive experiences features Oregon landmarks that inspired the names of the brewery’s beers for “Black Butte” Porter and “Mirror Pond” Pale Ale.

Each video is about three minutes long, and viewers can immerse themselves completely. For example, while experiencing the Black Butte Porter film, viewers can have a Black Butte Porter in hand, and toast at the summit with the folks who actually make the beer in two stereoscopic 360 degree virtual reality experiences created by fellow Oregon creative agency, Impossible Engine.

Best viewed with commercially-available, high-end VR headsets such as the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, the latest films are available on the Deschutes’ YouTube channel.


Deschutes’ culture is represented as most of the people on camera and all of the narrators are actual co-owners at the employee-owned brewery. It’s another way for Deschutes to give a consumer a new experience while marketing its flagship brands, either to huge fans or to newcomers to the products.

“The VR technology allows you to immerse yourself and interact with the content like no other online marketing,” Jason Randles, the digital marketing manager for Deschutes told Brewer. “And it is easy to access on your phone. Viewing it on the Oculus headset takes it to another level and we’re setting that up at events for our fans to check out. We’ll be setting it up … at our GABF events, in fact. Being that it’s more important than ever to tell your story in an authentic and interactive way, I think VR is the perfect platform to do it in a way that engages people and provides a new experience for them.”

Randles explained that the brewery was approached by the agency with the idea of making a VR film that highlighted the brewery’s labels.

“I had been looking into creating new video content for our beers and wanted to tell their story in a new, compelling way so when I heard about this technology, it was a no brainer for Black Butte and Mirror Pond,” he said. “Our two flagships are named after iconic landmarks here in our backyard and what better way to explain why we named the beer after them than to transport viewers to the actual place via the VR technology.”

A new film featuring the hop harvest and trip to gather fresh hops for the brewery’s “Hop Trip: A Fresh Hop Pale Ale” is slated for release this month to coincide with the release of the beer.

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