When it comes to content that consumers crave, video is king. No longer happy with just stylized still pictures, drinkers want to forge a deeper connection, hear and see ingredients, and learn about recipes from the brewers themselves. The Brewing Industry Guide spoke with three breweries that are using video to their advantage. They offer advice on how to incorporate it into your business.
Kristen Wood, Community Manager, Odell Brewing Co.
(Fort Collins, Colorado)
“Video speaks to our social community and strengthens our relationship through social media in a powerful way that traditional ads aren’t able to achieve. Because people are following us on social media, we want to create content that is relevant and something people enjoy and will want to see and then share. We’re not creating content to get media attention; we’re creating content for people following us because they want to know what we’re doing.”
Odell’s produces two different kinds of videos, designed for different products. Monthly, when they release a taproom-only IPA, the in-house marketing team films the brewers talking about the beer, the specific hops, and the intent behind the beer. Wood says that on the days when the beer and video are released, she sees people in the taproom and hears them talking about the video as the reason they came in.
For larger and wider launches and releases, or when they are working with a certain supplier, the brewery uses a freelance video contractor who produces more stylized, scripted, and edited videos.
“Between Facebook and Instagram, we have 180,000 people who have opted in to us and want to hear more. We have a good view rate on our videos, and someone will come in and say that they saw our video on Instagram. That’s all the proof we need that this is working. “At the base of it all, you want to tell a compelling story. For us at Odell, that story is about really good beer and the people who make it. We offer a peek behind the curtain and let people hear the voices, and sometimes that means getting our [beer] production team comfortable in front of the camera.
“Whether it’s with a high-end DSLR camera or even just an iPhone, there’s a really authentic, endearing quality that you can get shooting on the fly, and craft brewers are a brand that can get away with that. Don’t worry about going viral. Just share a story and show customers the people, process, and beer that they love.”
Mike Schwandt, Marketing & Communications, Full-Time Dreamer, Bauhaus Brew Labs
Bauhaus Brew Labs, launched in 2014, started with video projects almost immediately. Now, what they release regularly is more like short films, complete with handmade sets that parody existing movies (such as Raiders of the Lost Ark) while promoting new beers or the brewery.
“So many of us in this industry have creative backgrounds, and now that it’s so easy to produce content, it’s a new way to explore a passion. The biggest thing is knowing how to judge what is quality and then to always learn and improve on the previous [video].
“Video is one of our biggest marketing assets. There’s a lot of competition in beer in Minnesota, and great beers keep popping up. Creativity is the only unfair advantage that you can exploit in the service of your customers. We’ve been very lucky to be able to apply that creative edge from day one. We [the owners] are all musicians, so we’ve done the music and jingles for our videos. It has very much set us apart in this region, and with each new video, we attract people who relate to our humor and appreciate the thought we put into each one.”
Schwandt says that when they have done a big-scale video, such as the Indiana Jones parody, they’ve been picked up by local news channels and have won awards for best commercial. That extra boost in eyeballs has led to increased business.
“We get reports all the time that it’s helping with success, be it from different beer buyers or salespeople or customers coming in or calling us who had never heard of us but saw the video and said, ‘We’ve got to try this beer.’ There’s a lot of choice, and each new video helps win people back into the fold and collect new fans as we go.
“My advice is to be open to outside feedback. In the beginning, some of the things we did were too insider, too in our head. Until we stepped back and looked at them or sought opinions, we weren’t able to make the call to not put things out. Don’t be afraid of things hitting the cutting-room floor, either for quality reasons or because it doesn’t fit under the brand umbrella.
“You need to know what your brand is all about. If you start making content and are not unified under a central theme or umbrella, you could send out information that’s going to feel like it’s not all part of the same goal or effort. Always stay consistent—that’s what works for us.”
Sam Masotto, Owner/Brewer, Bonn Place Brewing Company
Following Bonn Place on social media is like tuning in to a regular television show. With characters born out of the brewery staff’s minds and customer feedback, these somewhat-scripted, often improvised, and usually entertaining videos—typically shot on an iPhone—have earned fans around the country for the brewery, no small feat since they don’t distribute outside of the taproom.
“We try to stream a video twice a week. It started because I was alone in the brew-house going crazy. I have a background in video production and video editing. Of course, there’s really none of that with these. It’s just hit ‘record’ on the phone, then release, and then set up a shot and hit ‘record’ again. It’s all done in the phone. “The very early ones have a crude charm to them, but what I found is that people looked forward to them. It’s an opportunity that not everyone is capitalizing on. Storytelling through video production is a great form of marketing. One of the first big ones we did was for a Belgian strong brewed with Peeps [brand candies]. I had an assistant brewer, and we told the story of the Peeps going to the boil. We had classical march music in the background and made it dramatic. What’s great is that we got an immediate reaction, and the people who came in could see that we were hands on with everything.
“That’s my favorite—that I can feed my creativity through my career and get this immediate response. I was a stage actor, and that bug never went away. Now I have a buddy who I went to college with who is our ‘marketing’ person. He has a bit more experience with bigger videos, so he comes to the brewery, and we do these more professional videos with our characters, all while telling the story of our beers and the brewery.
“It’s also allowed us to branch out. We did a video at a local dairy farm recently, and there was cross-pollination that happened. When we can do something with someone outside of the brewery and they with us and then we share with our own audiences, we can grow both businesses. Having someone doing video for us gives us that flexibility and freedom. “There’s no good reason not to do video. Just about everyone has a connection to the Internet and a device to watch videos, and it can be a low-cost commitment on the brewery end. We keep doing it because it’s fun and it keeps me sane in a lot of ways.
“It’s also one more way we can get an entertainment factor to our guests and fans whether or not they step foot in the brewery.”