Is there anything more relaxing than opening a refreshing beer after a long day? Any topic more amusing than comparing favorite craft brews with your beer-loving friends? Any excursion more easygoing than an afternoon-turned-evening in a vibrant brewery?
Anyone who kneels at the altar of craft beer knows how singularly delightful breweries are, whether you’re walking into one or seeing their photos pop up on your Instagram feed.
Breweries have the makings of fantastic Instagram accounts – their main product (beer, obvi) is crazy-photogenic. Breweries are just as Insta-worthy, too, especially if they have exceptional menus or architecture, or if they host events, give away swag, position their pets next to bottles of beer on the beach, etc.
In this article, we’ll go over a number of ways breweries can use Instagram to attract customers, and we’ll show you examples from the best brewery Instagram accounts. Most of these tips can be adopted by businesses of all kinds, too. If your brand has a similar aesthetic to breweries, shares the same audience or is capable of creating content that’s just as appealing, you’ll get plenty out of this article.
Craft beer is a leisurely, fun, spirited industry, and it’s growing – there are more than 7,000 craft breweries in the U.S. right now, and production increased by 4% in 2018. That means that craft beer social media marketing is hot at the moment. Make sure your Instagram account is as engaging, entertaining and growth-oriented as possible with these tips.
13 Crafty Social Media Marketing Tips for Breweries
[Tip #1] Participate in Trending Events and National Days
Some of the best beer promotions show support for a trending event, like Brooklyn Brewery did for WorldPride (even their logo is themed):
This is about more than just creating content around a topic. It’s about showing your customers what your business stands for and by actually getting involved instead of just creating a graphic and using a hashtag.
If there isn’t anything to get on board with right now, national days are the easiest to celebrate:
Just make sure that the national day you’re celebrating somehow connects to your business – if it’s too much of a stretch, it’ll look forced.
[Tip #2] Promote Weekly Events
Weekly Instagram-only happenings aren’t as fun as actual, in-house happenings that you post to Instagram on a recurring schedule.
TBT? Fine. TBT where the brewers dress like blasts from the past? Much better.
Weekly events that are showcased on Instagram create excitement and audiences both in-house and online.
Underground Coffee and Ales (a brewpub, FYI, not a brewery) does this well with their Tuesday night trivia. Each post is different in terms of graphics, but they post consistently and always have the text info laid out in the same way:
Don’t do what Clemson Bros. does, though – they have this “Tuesdays” post in their feed multiple times, but the caption only gives info about their daily hours. And there’s nothing specific to or exciting about Tuesdays. I don’t get it.
[Tip #3] Appeal To Foodies
What goes with beer? Food!
Whether your brewery serves food or not, the two are a match made in heaven. People who are into craft beer are also probably into delicious food, so recipes, pairings and plain ol’ good eats have a place in your Instagram content.
Dogfish Head does a great job at making you crave everything from ice cream to cheese-and-cracker boards:
Here are some ideas for food-related posts:
- Beer-and-food pairings
- Dishes from local eateries you’ve teamed up with for an event
- Food you serve in the brewery
- Ingredients displayed next to the beer
- Recipes using your brews
- User-generated content that shows how your beer is part of their meal
Bonus if your food-centric, beer-inclusive post can include another local company and be timely:
Or if it features pie:
[Tip #4] Feature Your Retail Products
People go to breweries for different reasons, and sometimes those reasons extend beyond the beer itself. Picking up custom glasses, tees or other branded retail items is a draw for a lot of brewery-goers, so it pays to feature your goods on Instagram.
Montauk Brewing does this, too, but with limited-time retail items, which have an even better chance of getting people in the door:
[Tip #5] Go Behind the Scenes
Some people do want to see how the sausage is made … or the beer is brewed. You get it. Take your followers behind the scenes to show them how you make such incredible beer and what’s coming soon.
[Tip #6] Take Advantage of Your Setting
Even if your brewery caters to brewpubs, restaurants and consumers across the globe, you’re still based somewhere, and that “somewhere” has something to offer. Some of the most interesting and attractive digital marketing for breweries pays homage to their locale.
Allagash Brewing does a great job at tapping into what’s local. They’re located in Portland, Maine, and their posts often feature the landscape:
They also team up with other local organizations for initiatives and events:
My favorite example of a brewery using its location is Montauk Brewing. So many of their posts are beach-themed, which just happens to go perfectly with an ice cold can of beer:
I mean, tell me you don’t want one of those. Or all three of those.
[Tip #7] Have Some Fun. You Sell Beer, After All
Very few beer brands are stuffy and uptight. The best brewery Instagram accounts take advantage of the fact that they’re in one of the most fun, youthful industries out there.
Even if you don’t have your brewers backflipping off kegs (though you should, because everyone would want to watch that), you can still create lighthearted posts:
Also, check out how Stone Brewing poked fun at non-beer alcohol with their video for how to make the perfect mint julep.
[Tip #8] Post An Assortment of Content
When it comes to craft beer social media marketing, you have to walk the line between giving audiences what they come for – setting and meeting expectations – and mixing up your content to keep it from getting boring.
If you normally post about your brewery and then you throw in photos of your home renovation, you’re going to confuse and lose your followers. But mixing up the brewery-centric content you post keeps things fresh.
The Brewery at the CIA does this well, and you also feel like you gain insight into what goes on behind the scenes by following their account:
[Tip #9] Don’t Neglect Instagram Stories
Instagram Stories is the perfect outlet for content that doesn’t quite fit well on your regular feed, making it ideal for some of your best beer promotions:
- Anything that you want to add an external link to (if you have 10,000 followers or are a verified user).
- Contests, events or other types of information that requires multiple posts to talk about.
- Freebies and giveaways that are just for your Stories audience.
- Time-sensitive information that’s going to expire soon, especially if you don’t want customers to have access to the information afterward.
Don’t forget to explain what the Story is about, though. This post from Peekskill Brewery has left the story out of their Story!
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[Tip #10] Keep It On-Brand
Even varied content can be unified with branding. Put your logo on your posts, use the same colors or color schemes in your content, and always go for the same font and text size in your Stories.
Brooklyn Brewery’s posts are always colorful, and while they don’t use the same color scheme across-the-board (though shades of blue show up a lot), it’s still quintessentially them:
Ommegang does this well, too, in a more subdued way – they’ve experimented with a lot of styles, but the one that’s used most is staged, moody and warmly lit.
You can also create a few types of branding for the different content you post. For example, if you have a weekly event, you can use the same layout every time you post about it – maybe you use just one color from your logo and put the text in all caps. Then, when you share images of your beer, you can always use the same type of lighting or filter.
As your followers get used to the branding you use for certain types of content, they’ll automatically stop when they get to a post style they recognize.
Be aware of over-branding, though. Other Half Brewing has cool cans, but their feed is so overrun with them that it’s boring:
[Tip #11] Connect With Influencers
Whether you connect with local, foodie or beer-specific influencers, breweries can spread the word through influencer marketing.
Portland-based brewery reviewer @pdxbeergirl has an account that’s micro-focused on beer and events:
Craft beer crosses a lot of genres, so you’re not pigeonholed when it comes to choosing influencers. You can reach out to local, niche or lifestyle influencers to promote your products.
[Tip #12] Share Audience-Created Content
Breweries are a place of fun and friends, and when people gather there they often snap photos and share them online. Let your audience do some of your marketing for you by re-sharing their posts, especially when those posts show an extra-awesome or unique aspect of your brewery.
[Tip #13] Use Awesome Photography
One last thing: use really, really good photography. Instagram is visual, as you know – at its core, it’s designed for photography. Plus, few things are as photogenic as a cold beer. Use that to your advantage.
Use “Lager” Than Life Marketing For Your Brewery
For beer-lovers, drinking craft beer or heading to a brewery is an event. It’s the adult version of going to an amusement park – the main goal, the only goal, is to enjoy yourself.
Breweries should send that message through Instagram as often as possible.
You’re not just showing off your latest concoction; you’re evoking the happiness and pleasure your customers get when they visit your brewery or crack open a can of your beer.
The experience includes the beer itself, but it goes beyond that, too. Your fans will embrace everything about your brewery – the ingredients you use, the setting, the design of your cans, the people who work for you, even what you do on the weekends. Think of your beer as one piece of the greater “good life” puzzle, and then show snippets of that puzzle on your Instagram account.