Why Brewing Beer needs technology
Over the last ten years, craft brewing has evolved from something hipster kids did in their basements to something more mainstream, including a thriving, vibrant business culture of unique brews.
Since the industry lowpoint of the 1980’s, where cheap beer was king and Budweiser reigned supreme, the market has grown from only 92 breweries in the United States to more than 1500 in 2000. Since 200, the number has done nothing but rise. A number of reasons have contributed to the explosion in the world of craft brewing.
The craft brewers can experiment and risk failure with small batches unlike the large, commercial brewers who have to maintain consistency and brand loyalty. The industry has seen beer with apricots, cereals, seasonal fruit, seasonal grains, or gluten free malt. While some larger breweries have begun to branch out, it’s the small craft brewer that can flaunt their creativity and contribute to a beer culture upheaval.
Craft brewers, who know their audience and closely follow the changes in the industry, are keeping up with the times by combining the small batch brewing capabilities with high-tech production methods of the big business breweries . For example, Firestone Brewing has all of the nimble ability of a small craft brewer, but has also maintained pace with technology, incorporating the laser-printed Best By Date labeling that gives customer confidence in the product.
According to the research published by the Beer Marketers Insights group and Demeter Group estimates, traditional beer consumption is expected to decline by up to 3.9%, while craft beer consumption is expected to grow by more than 13%. Five of the 10 fastest growing brands are craft brewed. Craft brewers are gearing up for a much more competitive marketplace and looking to technology to help provide the competitive edge. The key is to connect with customers in ways that bring the artistry of craft beer production to the consumer in innovative ways. Customers want to see how the product is grown, processed and brewed. Technology can provide that personal connection, with intimate videos that bring the customer into the fields of grain being grown and harvested and follow the process right to the end product distribution.
The craft beer industry is well aware of the customer’s desire to feel better connected to the product and sponsors beer festivals where consumers can interact with the craft brewers in personal ways. There are craft beer cooperatives, joining efforts to sustainably plant and harvest quality ingredients in responsible ways. As the industry grows, it will be even more important to find fresh ways to connect consumers with the product. The traditional passive advertising, websites, and marketing will need to give way to exciting, interactive models that capitalize on the more creative elements looked for by the consumer.
One successful model has been to use the possibilities of the exploding drone technology market to provide customers a bird’s eye view of the entire supply chain of a craft brewer. Starting with sweeping panoramas of the grains in the field, following harvest and brewing, all the way to final labeling and shipping, the customer can engage with their product in ways not thought possible a short time ago.
These types of innovative marketing ideas will position the most savvy of the craft brewers to lead the emerging market.