Beer Marketing via the Web
There is a website called www.greatbrewers.com which has some interesting features - it allows you to search a label, then find a retail outlet for it based on your zip code. At this point it only has a few states and only certain labels, but it is a start.
I'm looking at expanding this concept with some special "push" marketing techniques to be available nationwide (global someday, but need to start somewhere). The "push" elements will drive customers to consider more of the craft/micro/specialty/import labels that are available.
As a beer distributor (or as a brewer) would you see a value in driving purchase activity to the smaller labels?
Does anyone know of other websites which help customers find different labels to try?
We think there is tremendous value in that sort of marketing directly to the consumer. We started that concept some years ago with www.worldclassbeverages.com and greatbrewers.com modeled their website after ours a couple of years ago. Worldclassbeverages.com also represents specific labels in specific states, but it is growing fairly rapidly in the amount of states and products that are covered.
Both websites are looking at and embracing many opportunities to go well beyond product location by offering beer education, beer news and entertainment all focused on the craft and specialty beer culture. Since I operate the World Class site I can speak more directly to it, but we are making a lot of progress with it in terms of sales direct to retailers as well via the website. We are also making major efforts to push more towards a much more interactive web experience for consumers this year and into 2009.
At any rate, we believe that it is a wonderful thing to be able to send a consumer directly to a retailer who has a specific product, particularly with the smaller labels, since those labels get the least marketing support as far as advertising and exposure in general.
The basic problem with this sort of concept is that you need to have the specific sales information from the various distributors to make this happen. Greatbrewers.com does this by pooling information from the Sheehan owned distributors on the east coast, while worldclassbeverages.com does this by partnering with various craft distributors across the country to share sales histories. However, many distributors are very relucatant to share their sales history information and in some states, it is even illegal for them to publicly display said information.
It is important to note that these websites are consumer focused, so we cover every brand and label that we think fits into the craft and specialty categories whether small or large. Our parent company, Monarch Beverage (Miller/Coors) is going to institite something similar next year for their products as well, though I don't think people need much help finding Miller/Coors products.
BeerAdvocate.com makes an effort to do something similar by asking the public to list stores at which they find specific products, but this is anecdotal information at best, and in theory is impossible to keep clean and updated. We pull our sales information directly from our internal sales software on a daily basis to update worldclassbeverages.com, so we are pretty confident of the information that we provide.
I'd be more than happy to discuss specific ideas with you and share our experiences.
Last edited by World Class Bev; 12-10-2008 at 06:40 AM.