So You Want to Open a Brewery?

It is estimated that there are more than 1.2 million home brewers in the US alone. How many of those home brewers decide to start their own brewery? And how many of the brewers who take their beer to the next step can actually sustain the business?
The truth is that over the last five years, the number of breweries in the US has more than doubled, from 2,400 in 2012 to 5,300 in 2016 and that number continues to climb. Business is booming – but how do you make your brews stand out against the ever increasing competition?

Find Your Story

How do find a loyal customer base? By creating a persona, a story, a brand, that emulates exactly what you’d want to see in your brewery.
The way you position your brand through your website, social media channels, logo and label designs will give customers insight into what you stand for, even if very subtly.
Things to consider within the design stage are your audience, your brand, and your story. Without encompassing those three things your brewery can often come off stale and insincere. Once you can bring those three things together, you’ll find your brewery voice and should use that to build the brand moving forward.
Take the branding of Lord Hobo Brewing Company, with a name like Lord Hobo you wouldn’t necessarily think classy, but the moment you see their beer cans, tap handles, and website, you get an immediate feeling of substance. They emulate royalty with their logo and take that one step farther by creating gorgeous and on-brand designs elsewhere. Their cans are a work of art, simple yet elegant, and even though the beer speaks for itself, the simplicity of their branding makes their story that much stronger.

Logo & Packaging Design

Nowadays it is super easy to get a logo – there are tons of companies online offering logos for $99 or downloadable files for $25, and I know, when you’re opening a brewery (or any business) you’re trying to pinch those pennies as much as you can. You’ve made a leap of faith into this business, no need to spend all the money at once. In the long run though, your logo, website, and design overall are going to be what people remember. They’ll walk into their neighborhood package store, see your six-pack, and pick it up because they recognize it as a name they like and trust, they’ll probably remember a great experience they had in the tap room or remember thinking what a great looking bottle you had. According to a study by Nielsen in 2016, 70% of the time craft beer drinkers choose their beer when they arrive at the store, not before. Without having packaging that stands out and entices your target demographic to buy it, your products will often get overlooked for things that resonate well with the audience at hand. It’s essential that a label fits within a brands identity while also standing out among the competition.

And Finally, Be a Great Experience

People go to breweries for the atmosphere, the friendly banter and the opportunity to share a flight or a pint of a great local beer. Giving people a great experience when they’re in-house is just as important as the right branding.
Making sure that everyone has a fantastic experience at your brewery is going to be essential for word of mouth marketing and getting your name out in the local community.
So if you’re looking into opening a brewery, make sure you have your story, message, and feeling nailed down so you can keep your brand consistently awesome once opening day rolls around.
Happy brewing!