Beer Branding 101: How to Determine Your Business's Story
Storytelling is a powerful tool to communicate what your craft beverage business stands for and what differentiates you. Discover how developing your business’s story can differentiate your business and elevate your beer branding.
June 27, 2019
What events in your life led you to open up your business to craft and share your beers? I bet you didn’t open a brewery just for profit as your sole reason. So, who are you? Why did you open up your brewery? What makes your brews and brewery different?
People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it.
Author of Start with Why
Your customers want to know the “why” behind your beer and business because they want to invest their money and time in businesses that share values similar to theirs. Crafting and communicating your business's story and values humanizes your beers' branding and is a great way to differentiate your business's brand and brews.
Beer Branding 101: Why Should You Tell Your Business's Story
Your Business's Story Helps Humanize Your Brand & Your Beer's Branding
According to Alaura Weaver, a copywriter who specializes in helping people speak ‘human,’ business itself can be quite dehumanizing. It is very easy for customers to get caught up in the thought that businesses just care about them due to their money and that they are just another sales number.
You want your business to be warm and inviting to your customers. A place where they can enjoy a great chat with friends, meet new people and enjoy the brews you brew. Sharing your story subtly within your communications and marketing can go a long way in making your customers feel like they are valued as individuals when visiting and interacting with your brewery. It humanizes both your business's brand and your beers' branding.
Your Business's Story Helps Differentiate your Business and Makes Your Beer Brands More Recognizable
No two breweries are alike. You might brew similar beers, or even collaborate with the brewery down the road—or even across the country—but the story about what makes you tick and how and why you choose to pour sweat equity into an independent brewery is different from everyone else’s.
Editor-In-Chief of Craftbeer.com
You may brew similar beers as your competitors, but your business's story and brand experience differentiate you from other breweries. Telling your story is a great way to begin building personal and brand connections within your community.
More and more, having a unique story is needed to create personal and brand connections. You are a business. Focusing on building personal connections and brand loyalty is a necessity when differentiating and growing your brewery.
You need to have a story, you need to have the catchphrases and your marketing needs to be on point. I know it doesn’t sound ‘crafty’ at all, but the craft is in the liquid and I’m still running a business.
Owner and Head Brewer of Nightlife Brewing
How to Create a Relatable Business Story
Draw Out your Timeline
Many articles on crafting your business's story will tell you to begin answering questions like “Who are you?” and “What makes your business stand out?” While answering these questions are the goal of creating a story, I do not believe it is a great starting point. Trying to sum up yourself, your team and your business as well as what differentiates you from the thousands upon thousands of other craft beverage businesses can be quite a daunting and difficult task. So, let’s start simple.
Draw a timeline of events from the key events that led you to start your business to present day. These influential events leading to your current circumstances will give you a great jumping off point and inspiration to begin crafting your business's story and enhancing your beers' branding.
Determine your Core Values
Your core values guide how your brewery is run and speaks to how you make decisions. All strategic objectives and new initiatives should be based on your core values, as they are the reason why you do business the way you do.
Implementing core values also provides an opportunity to connect with your customers. According to a study done by the Harvard Business Review, 64% of consumers cited that shared values were the primary reason they have a brand relationship. When you share similar values with your customers, they are more likely to recommend your brewery to their friends and visit frequently.
Determining core values does not happen all in one day. It takes time, brainstorming and collaboration.
Here are some things you should consider when determining the core values of your business:
Ask your employees, "What behaviors do you value and what values have you noticed portrayed throughout the business?"
Analyze your mission to see what values spring from it
Focus on your employees' positive actions and behavior instead of basing values on company objectives
Collaborate with your employees and agree on your core values together, as your core values determine how your business actually operates. Everyone who works at your business should be represented and should have a say in the values that guide them
Once you have determined your business's core values, then it is time to weave your history, core values and goals into a compelling narrative.
Weave your Timeline and Core Values Together into a Compelling Narrative
After you have your timeline mapped out and have determined your core values, you have a solid base for creating a relatable, aspiring business story that enhances your beers' branding. It is easier to write a narrative when you have your story beats planned out in the form of your timeline along with the core values that were demonstrated in the opening and daily operations of your business.
When writing your business’s story, make sure your story answers the following questions:
Who are the people that are the driving force behind your craft beverage business and why?
Why do you brew beer?
What does your business stand for?
What sets your business apart from other craft beverage businesses similar to yours?
How Your Business's Story Can Differentiate and Elevate Your Business
Creature Comforts is an example of a brewery who understands what differentiates themselves as a business and has a story to back them up.
Creature Comforts is a brewery built upon passion. Their story goes through how passion has driven David Stein and Adam Beauchamp to open Creature Comforts in Athens, GA, a place they believe, “Has the potential to be a craft beer hub and destination for the South East.”
Throughout their story, they express how their core value, passion, was the driving force behind turning their homebrew operations into the expansive brewery they are today.
There are the following reasons their story differentiates and elevates their brewery:
They highlight how passion, one of their key core values, led them to build the expansive brewery they are today
Instead of telling their story like a history lesson, they use their story as an opportunity to express what differentiates their brewery
Their story explains why they brew and what they stand for: Uncovering passion and finding happiness through sharing their beers have allowed them to "Enjoy the Creature Comforts of life"
They invite their customers to be a part of crafting and telling Creature Comfort's Story
Creature Comforts is the end result of the story of our past and the starting point for the story of our future, and we look forward to writing that story with you.
About the Brewery Page on the Creature Comfort's Website
Share Your Business's Story & Beer Branding to Get Others to Tell It
Your story should not be confined to an “About Us” page, never to be told again. Your story explains why you brew beer, what makes your brewery different and the values you stand for. Plus, you’ve worked hard on it. It would be a shame not to spread it!
An engaging story is one people like to be a part of and share, and there are things you can do to keep your story being shared and told:
Incorporate your Business's Story within your Marketing Content & Social Posts when Relevant
When explaining why and how you do business, your core values and story fit naturally into your content. Do not be afraid to describe past examples of how your core values and story influenced your business in making decisions and creating new brews. Remember, 64% of consumers cite that shared values were the primary reason they have a brand relationship. When you share values with your customers, they are more likely to recommend your brewery to their friends and visit more often.
Encourage your Customers to Tell your Business's Story and Share Your Beer Branding
Testimonials are a powerful way to showcase your story, especially when, according to Kristen Baker from HubSpot, 85% of consumers trust testimonials as much as personal recommendations.
Testimonials give your most loyal customers a chance to back up your claims on what differentiates your business.
Storytelling is a powerful tool to communicate to your customers what your business stands for, why you brew beers and what differentiates your business. Without having a compelling business story, it is easy to blend into the sea of thousands upon thousands of craft beverage manufacturers doing business across the US.
Take the time to write your business’s compelling story and share it with others, so you can ensure that your customers know that they are not another sales number. Instead, your business's story will let your customers know that they are a part of a rich narrative and relationship that you and they continue to craft as you share your love for craft beverages together.