Posts Tagged ‘marketing’
With the craft beer market share in BC at 20% and the number of craft breweries in the province approaching 100, the landscape is starting to look a lot like Downtown Vancouver’s skyline. That’s not to say the market can’t sustain more breweries, given the other 80% that hasn’t come under the craft beer umbrella, but there will need to be more growth. The question is, where will it come from?
No Sure Bet
The easy days – if there really ever was such a thing – are over. Considering names like Surgenor, DIX, Taylor’s Crossing, and R&B, opening a craft brewery in BC is no longer a sure thing. Having a passion is not enough to carry a business. Now, a lot more dispassionate business acumen has to go with it. Marketing needs to be a fundamental component of one’s business plan, not an afterthought. That means realistically analyzing the market to find your niche and developing a strong brand around it before spending a cent on real estate and plant. Or for those with an existing business, it’s time to take a hard look at where the industry is going and ask yourself if major changes will be needed in how you operate to stay in the game.
As I anticipated, increased competition has breweries – especially those without a clearly defined niche – increasingly searching for new markets. Logically, the first forays outside BC have been to Alberta and Washington. Then, it’s only natural that the rest of North America eventually came into view. Anywhere else?
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At the risk of sounding immodest, Vancouver Craft Beer Week is a big deal. I just did a search for “Vancouver Craft Beer Week” on Google and it came back with 20,600 results. Between Vimeo and YouTube, the VCBW ‘I am a Canadian Craft Brewer’ promotional video has been viewed almost 2,000 times since April 21. There are over 825 followers on twitter and almost 1,400 Facebook fans. Then there are the mentions in the media… (Look for extra coverage on The Peak 100.5 FM and in the WestEnder, especially the upcoming edition on May 6.) All this has really only come together in the past month!
I would say that this rapid build-up of support is due to the fact that Vancouver Craft Beer Week is a simply an expression of the growing craft beer culture in British Columbia, as demonstrated by increasing craft beer sales. And for the first time, it brings brewers, the hospitality industry, and the public together in the largest, public demonstration of what we have in our own backyard.
The heightened publicity does not just benefit businesses directly involved in VCBW. There is a multiplier effect that extends to others, as well. For example, I know that people are coming to Vancouver from Austin, Phoenix, and Los Angeles specifically to attend this event. Given that it overlaps with Seattle Beer Week, brews travellers will be motivated to “kill two birds with one stone” and come here to spend their money. The Mayor’s Office recognized this value, which is why they have officially proclaimed May 10-16 as Vancouver Craft Beer Week. Seattle’s mayor has done the same.