Since last year, there’s been a curious development in the American beer market. Even though two of the biggest breweries, Anheuser-Busch InBev and MillerCoors, have taken control of 90% of the beer market, much smaller craft beer breweries are thriving. What does this mean for aspiring craft beer brewers? If brewing your own beer is your passion, now is an excellent time to cash in on the steadily-growing market for craft beer. For those of you who don’t have the seed money for a craft beer bar, you can try these alternative ways of marketing and selling your brew.
Remember when milk used to be delivered straight to your home by the milkman? In some places, the milkman has returned, while door-to-door delivery for craft beer may soon become more common than the milkman. At present, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington D.C. all allow door-to-door delivery for craft beer. Texas is the latest entrant in passing legislation that enables customers to get beer to go (in limited amounts) from craft breweries and allows liquor delivery straight to customers’ doorsteps. In these states, customers can order online or from an app, or sign up for a weekly or monthly delivery. Check if your state allows this business model, and mind the limits on quantity and alcohol content for your brew. Some states may also require special licenses, fees, and taxes. Do your homework, and this could be a profitable venture.
Craft Beer Truck
Hundreds of entrepreneurs have broken into the food truck business, so it was natural for other entrepreneurs to come up with the craft beer truck. One benefit of selling craft beer from a truck is mobility. You don’t have to worry if your current location attracts enough customers as you can always move to a better spot. You can even join forces with events or events companies and sell your brew to thirsty festival-goers or whatever event you get hired for. A possible drawback to this business could be that demand for your product could far exceed your supply. You’d best stock on ingredients for your brews, like Mandarina Bavaria hops, to keep your customers’ glasses full. Before you go this route for your craft beer, check your state’s laws, taxes, licenses, and fees. Figure out your costs as well and predetermine your profitability.
Pop-Up Craft Beer Bar
Another unconventional marketing strategy and business model is the pop-up craft beer bar. This business lets you avoid the hassles of the craft beer truck (like insurance) while sidestepping the problems of renting a permanent spot. The way to profitably operate a pop-up craft beer bar is to get hired for private individual and corporate events, music festivals, and/or concerts. Tying up with food trucks and food truck festivals is also great for profits and exposure. You can also be nomadic and set up your pop-up bar at legal spots where there’s high foot traffic. As with the other strategies, check with laws and regulations in the state where you operate.
The craft beer business is booming, which is why you’ll need to resort to unconventional marketing and business models to secure your niche and set of customers. The good news is, craft brewers can look forward to innovations in both the product and in the ways to market them. So once the usual craft beer bar becomes old hat, you can still attract customers if you choose any of these unusual craft beer businesses.