BOCA RATON, FLA—Even as the COVID-19 pandemic has forced bars and restaurants to close their dining rooms and taprooms, independent craft breweries are continuing to engage customers, exploring safe and novel ways to serve their communities, and cultivating new fans, thanks to Brewers Marketing’s dedicated mobile app and marketing platform for the craft beverage industry.
Brewers Marketing, a specialty division of Daruma Tech, a developer of mobile apps, has been helping state and regional brewers’ guilds and their members—mostly small, independent breweries—build brand awareness and customer engagement. The mobile apps, branded for each guild, allow craft beer aficionados to learn about regional breweries, find breweries close to them, see menus of brews created at each brewery, and even map out tours of breweries in a region of interest.
Because craft breweries can no longer serve drinks on the premises, many are actively pursuing new revenue streams to keep their staff employed. Many are offering beer for takeout or delivery or partnering with local restaurants to provide takeout meals. Meanwhile, loyal fans of local breweries are still craving the comfort of their favorite brews and a continued sense of connection to the brewery’s community as they navigate a difficult and unpredictable time.
Brewers Marketing apps are helping craft breweries stay connected to their core customers during this crisis.
“Our app is allowing us to stay connected to customers and helps us continue our business with carry-outs and gift certificate sales,” said Tami Plourde, owner of Pearl Street Brewery in La Crosse, Wisconsin. “It allows us to notify them when we have a promotion or alert. And although we look forward to the time when we’ll be able to meet our customers face to face again, our Brewers Marketing app is now allowing us to continue business every day.”
“COVID-19 is posing challenges to the hospitality industry, and consumers are overwhelmed trying to figure out who’s open or closed,” explained Rick Griswold of Brewers Marketing. “It’s confusing for consumers because this situation is so exceptional that some food and beverage outlets are changing their hours and offerings day by day until they figure out what works for them. Our apps make it easy for craft beer fans to get up-to-the-minute information on how to get their favorite brews right on their phones. They can check which places are open or closed before heading out. And just like before, they can also use the app to get the latest information about what’s on tap—or rather, what’s new and available in growlers or cans for takeout or delivery.”
Independent breweries are also striving to be part of the solution to the challenges posed by the pandemic. Some breweries, for instance, have pivoted to producing hand sanitizer, while others are partnering with local charities to raise funds for those in need. In Rhode Island, independent breweries are also supporting each other—those with canning equipment are opening their canning lines to smaller breweries so they too can offer their beer for takeout sales, said Gary Richardson, executive director of the Rhode Island Brewers Guild (RIBG).
Also, the guild has offered to help restaurant and bar owners monetize unused kegs of beer already in stock before the mandated closures. “Restaurants stuck with beer in kegs that they can’t tap and serve at the bar received permission to fill and sell growlers from the kegged beer,” Richardson explained. “The RIBG has offered to train restaurants who may not have served beer in growlers before in the proper techniques, including cleaning the tap lines and making sure the growlers themselves are clean and sanitized.”
Brewers Marketing apps also support breweries’ philanthropic efforts by facilitating consumer awareness and buy-in. “With the app, brewery owners can get the word out directly to their most effective marketers—their regular customers,” Griswold said. “All breweries have to do is enter the latest information about their campaign into a secure web portal, and the information appears on the app. Fans of the brewery can feel good about supporting and promoting these charitable efforts, and this will translate into an even stronger relationship between the brewery and its customers as we move past this crisis.”
Brewers Marketing apps have proven so impactful to existing client guilds and their member breweries that other guilds are signing on, even during the COVID-19 crisis. “They’re signing on because of, not in spite of, COVID-19,” Griswold said. “Now more than ever, it’s critical to nurture relationships with existing customers. And they know the app will put them in a strong position to build brand awareness for member breweries among visitors to their region once things return to normal. People are going to want to travel and explore new places once this is over, and Brewers Marketing can help them make meaningful connections.”
The RIBG is among those with apps in the works. While the deployment of their Digital Passport mobile app, which will allow users to discover the guild’s member breweries and earn swag such as branded hats and growlers by checking in to breweries on the app, has been delayed due to the COVID-19 crisis, the guild is already planning for its launch. “The delay gives us a chance to make sure all is in readiness when we can open again,” Richardson said.
Daruma Tech is a developer of cloud-based marketing platforms and mobile apps specifically for the needs of the craft beverage industry. Leveraging cutting-edge technology, best practices in marketing, and an understanding of the fast-growing craft beverage industry, Daruma Tech creates attractive, high-impact custom apps for guilds, festivals, and craft summits for tourism boards, civic organizations, and economic development institutions.
Rick Griswold: 561-990-1625. https://www.linkedin.com/showcase/brewers-marketing https://www.brewersmarketing.com/craft-brewers-guild/