The Ways Tröegs Creates a Virtual Beer Shelf to Entice, Educate Consumers​

Looking at Tröegs website, you can see that the veteran craft beer producer has worked at creating the pages into living documents to help entice consumer interaction and clickability while also teaming with social media to draw in those exchanges.

​Jeff Herb, the Hershey, Pennsylvania brewery’s Marketing Communications Coordinator said they are getting more visitors to the site and back-end analytics show that people are spending more time on pages as well.

“Usually you can achieve one or the other of those goals, so seeing an increase in both of those is really rewarding,” he said.

The brewery has been using its blog more, as well. The use of employees with a journalism background has been a key, Herb noted.

“Our two people who are primarily focused on content both come from the world of daily newspapers,” he said. “They’re used to being out in the field, gathering information, crafting it into a good story, and turning it around quickly for publication.

“Essentially, they treat the world of Tröegs as their ongoing story. The beauty of it is, the stories have always been here at Tröegs. We’re just more focused now on getting them out there.”

Any brewery has that sort of “blank slate” when it comes to website creation. Unlike a newspaper which has limited space, a blog can be a good space to house lots of information in the forms of stories, photography, and video of both the brewery’s team and products.

Before, each page for a beer on Tröegs’ website included a photo, the label description, and a few nods to ingredients. Now, Herb said they have updated pages that are much more robust, with information on where to find each beer, more photography, and video along with food pairings, related projects, similar beers people might enjoy, merchandise, and details of the art and design.

“It’s a lot easier to get to know our beers through our website now,” Herb said.”What we really aim to do is set our customers’ expectations before they come to the brewery or see our beer on the shelf. That’s really been the main objective. Take a look at our Perpetual IPA page as an example.”

That said, social media is still a more direct way to reach beer drinkers.

“We focus most of our storytelling efforts there,” he said. “Of course, we’ll point to our blog if people are interested in taking a deeper dive.”

The blog is both written with photos while also having a short video that mimics the written effort. Creating a blog post or social media post does take a considerable amount of time,” Herb said. Planning is key.

“The vast majority of that time is taken up by brainstorming, research, and interviews,” he said. “Our brewers, chefs, packaging line operators, maintenance technicians, sales team, office teams. These are the real experts at Tröegs, the ones who work day in and day out to master their craft. So when we want to tell a story, we want to spend a lot of time listening to them and working alongside them.”

Herb said the marketing team always has its radars on for good stories.

“They can — and do — come from meetings,” he said. “For example, our founding brother John Trogner really wanted to tell the story of our work with nearby Little Peace Farm and how we work hand-in-hand with the owners there. Our planning starts in late February when we all sit down with a stack of seed catalogs and start paging through in search of something that catches the eye of our chefs. It’s a great example of creating an “only-at-Tröegs” experience.”

Herb said stories also can come from little moments, comments, or asides.

“We like to mine those unexpected places, too,” he said, saying they recently overheard a couple of brewers talking about one of the ways the lab manages yeast banks.

“One of the ways [Yeast Manager Valerie Delligatti] monitors yeast health is by pulling samples and counting cells by hand with a little clicker,” Herb said. “[The brewers] were just kind of astonished at how wild that is.

“Our storytelling radar goes off. If these guys find that interesting, if it surprises and delights them, then it’s going to do the same thing for our fans. And so we did some short-form storytelling around that on social, and it really resonated.”

Photo courtesy Tröegs Independent Brewing

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