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Running a microbrewery, also referred to as a craft brewery, is expensive and labor-intensive. To be successful, your microbrewery needs to sell a lot of beer, which can only happen if your beer tastes good and stands out from the pack. Combining the right ingredients, such as hops, yeast, barley, and highly specialized brewing equipment helps create the perfect brew.
However, that is just the start. There are things you need to do to take your small business to the next level. Otherwise, your beer sales will remain flat, pun intended. This Balboa Capital blog article features tips on how to grow your microbrewery.
Create a mission statement for your microbrewery.
Founders of microbreweries share a common passion: the enjoyment of making quality beer. This is probably the cornerstone of most brewery mission statements. A well-thought-out mission statement conveys the purpose of your business, explains why it exists, and helps differentiate it from the competition. Consider revising it if you have a mission statement that might sound too vague or does not convey what your business is all about.
If you are in the startup phase of your craft brewery operation, now is the time to put pen to paper. When writing your mission statement, it is good to keep it simple and to the point. Most mission statements fall between one and three sentences and do not exceed 80 words.
Update your beer-making equipment.
Having top-quality beer-making equipment allows for more productivity, less downtime, and greater consistency from batch to batch. It can also help you meet your production goals and add new brews to your product line. If your microbrewery has outdated equipment or machinery that periodically malfunctions, it is time to invest in something new.
Brew kettles, fermenters, heat exchangers, sanitation equipment, and water treatment systems, among others, have high price points. Financing brewery equipment can preserve your capital and keep your credit line open.
Expand into new markets.
Expanding into new markets is a great way to grow your microbrewery, but it is not easy. There are thousands of microbreweries in the United States. In addition to being highly competitive, the beer market is influenced by longstanding drink preferences. For example, IPAs are very popular in the Pacific Northwest, lagers are the overwhelming choice in the Midwest and South, and light beers and pale ale are favorites in the Southwestern states.
So, research the markets you are interested in entering. This is a great way to see what beer types sell well and determine if any beer-drinking trends are emerging.
Participate in local events.
Getting involved with community events such as food festivals, beer festivals, and summer fairs is a great way to increase your brand awareness, introduce your beers to a new audience, and let people see the faces behind your brand. Contact your local Chamber of Commerce or check online to find out which events are taking place in your area. Participating in local events requires a team effort by you and your employees, and it is a good idea to plan well in advance.
Try to reserve your space early, and choose a spot with lots of foot traffic. Then, invest in a booth and signage for your event. Having a booth will make you appear more professional. Lastly, do not just serve beer and mingle with people during the event. Instead, hand out business cards, beer information sheets, or other marketing materials, and consider holding a raffle with prizes.
Become familiar with microbrewery laws.
The alcoholic beverage industry in the United States is highly regulated and complex. The laws and tax rates relating to beer sales and distribution may vary depending on the state. In addition, many counties within states have rules you need to follow.
Therefore, make sure you fully understand the laws relating to wholesaling, distribution, and retail sales before expanding into a new market. You can get all of the legal information advice you need from a business attorney. Lawyers are not always cheap, but they can help prevent legal problems down the road.
Large beer brands that dominate the marketing landscape, and supermarket shelves, are experiencing greater competition from microbreweries like yours. A research report from a leading retail business firm showed that sales of leading domestic beer brands have dropped for ten consecutive years. More consumers are switching to craft beers.
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.