What craft beer taught me about Marketing

I love craft beer. Lots of people do. And it should be no surprise to anyone that small, local craft beer breweries have exploded in popularity across the Philippines in recent years. Oddly enough, their massive growth has taught me a thing or two about marketing a brand successfully.

Right off the bat, the flavor and variety of choices do have something to do with why I enjoy craft beers so much. But, while there’s nothing quite like the bite of a good IPA, or the complexity of a stout, their flavors alone don’t endear me to certain craft beers. When I think about what truly speaks to me as a beer snob and consumer, it’s the distinct, creative, and proud brands the various craft brewers have created for themselves.

Each brewery markets its beer differently, and none seems willing to back down on their brand’s story. In a sense, they’re not ashamed to be themselves. But, what did that notion teach me about marketing? A lot. Looking at how craft breweries present themselves and their beers to the public, I've taken away a few key points that are applicable to any brand.


One of the first things I’ll usually ask someone when they tell me about a great new beer they tried is, “Where is it from?” To me, it seems that small craft breweries take extreme pride in where their beer comes from, so I like to keep location in mind as I enjoy their beverages. Though a beer brewed in Cebu ( Turning Wheels Craft Brewery ) may be quite similar in taste to one from Manila( Craftpoint Brewing ), the attitude and geographic context and personality provided by different cities helps to frame the brand identity for me. Their own local pride helps sell the experience for me.

Clearly, every city, state, or country has its own distinct culture and source of pride (sports teams, history, etc.), and along those lines, most craft breweries leverage some form of geographic context to strengthen their brand. On the most basic level, craft breweries start locally then grow nationally. After all, it was local recognition and pride in their home-made brand that gave breweries such as Turning Wheels Craft Brewery, Asia Brewery, and especially San Miguel Corporation such strong foundations, enabling them to expand their brands into nationally recognizable forces.


There’s a reason people feel so strongly about which beer brands they like. Craft beers have learned how to embrace their audience (partially due to the local connection mentioned above), and have found great success in remaining highly focused on building personal connections with their drinkers. Furthermore, Turning Wheels is playing off the experimental and “alternative” styles of beer they produce and the audience of quirky people that tends to enjoy them. The take away point, though, is that brands like this seem to fully understand that certain people love their product. People enjoy identifying with their brand, because the breweries make it so easy to do so! They have, for the most part, done an excellent job of providing a clear point of connection, something with which a very specific audience can relate to easily.


It’s as simple as that. The biggest piece of advice I’ve taken away from my experience with craft beer is that passion shines through if you let it. After seeing an amazing documentary of BEER WARS, I understood everything about them. The passion oozes out of the series of moving images.

To this day I think of the images when I order a beer, and the hands-on process of brewing still fresh in my mind. It’s passion like this, and dedication to the crafting process, that shows a sincere and genuine love for the product that small breweries are producing. We could all learn from them in that regard.

As someone working in a bar, I’ve found it exponentially easier to work with those who have a passion for their product. No matter the industry, it’s easy to market something someone loves. So, my final take-away? Work with people who love what they do. That way, everyone wins and the marketing comes easy.

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