How to Win Friends and Influence Consumers From the Start

Entering a new community where craft beer is still slightly foreign can be a daunting challenge for some breweries. Having to make extra time to communicate what a craft brewery is and educating that public is something that may not exactly been a part of the business plan.

“There is always resistance to change when it takes place,” noted Heavy Seas founder Hugh Sisson. “I have always found that candid and open dialogue will go a long way to solving most problems.  Also always do what you say will do – integrity is important.”

Very important notes Montauk Brewing’s Vaughan Cutillo. So much so, that having a role in the community was a part of his business plan to help build that public into consumers.

“[We wanted] to create a unique space in Montauk [New York] that would serve as a meeting place, a location to host fundraising efforts, and to offer a casual vibe with quality beer in the heart of the town,” Cutillo said. “If we hadn’t connected with our local community, I don’t think we would have been able to build our fanbase as successfully.”

It took some effort. The small New York town government wasn’t necessarily 100 percent supportive of the plans at Day One

“However it was because we simply needed to educate them as to what our goals and ideals were centered upon,” Cutillo said. “Once we finally received all the permits to open — which took about three years of being in town hall meetings — we quickly showed them that the brewery was less about a bar scene and more community and family focused.”

It also showed that a small town brewery can help in creating jobs so that local friends can stay local.

“The East End is quite an expensive place to live and we are focused on creating careers that allow families to stay here and thrive,” Cutillo said.

Sisson added that Heavy Seas works hard to be perceived to be a part of the Halethorpe, Maryland community, not only with fundraising events that are tied specifically to the community, but by also making sure that the brewery adds to the quality of life in their backyard.

“Being a contributing company in our community is essential to who we are the company we want to be,” said Grey Sail’s Jennifer Brinton. “This, and managing a great staff, are the best parts of my job.”

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