Social Media & Craft Beer – How It’s Changing The Way We Drink

By Mike Fogarty

In the past few years social media and craft brewing have seen a huge increase in both attention and use. Social media is allowing companies and customers to connect in a new, non traditional way. Which allows for very direct and almost instantaneous exchange of information that both sides love and it’s free. As such it seems fitting that Craft Brewers, Micro Brewers, Nano Brewers, etc. are picking up on social media so easily and readily, as they face what most Americans would call the “Traditional” beers (Budweiser, Miller, Coors) who are using traditional media marketing that the craft brewers could never afford or even want to attempt to compete on the same level.

Social media allows the breweries to connect directly to their fans, other brewers and potential customers. Essentially allowing a small brewery with almost nothing for a marketing budget the ability to grow and spread the word about it’s beer in ways they may have never thought possible 10-20 years ago.  Here are three examples of social media platforms that I feel are having their own effect on craft beer consumption.

1) Twitter (& Facebook) –

Considered the go to social media channels, they’re there for a reason and their power/influence shouldn’t be under estimated. Twitter has become an amazing tool in the craft brewer’s arsenal. Allowing you to not only connect with potential customers, but helping you find and dive into the huge craft beer community that’s appeared on Twitter. In this craft beer twitterverse, people are looking for their favorite breweries and brewers. As well as craft beer reviewers, and enthusiast who are wanting to share the beers they’ve found and their thoughts on it. For example, through Twitter, a small brewer in “Normal Town, America” could suggest to a “big” craft beer persona in the twitterverse to review or share their flagship beer, which could then be discovered by thousands of people who are not only being exposed to the beer and brewer, but who are very likely to then go out an try the beer for themselves. After trying it they may just tweet about it some more…

2) Pintley

There are many beer rating sites out there, but none that really do anything with those reviews, besides giving the beer a meta rating and it’s own page. You don’t get back any real useful information for yourself after reviewing on one of those sites, that is until Pintley came about. Pintley has you create a profile, rate beers, give tasting notes, and then based on what you’ve enjoyed (ranked high/talked about) it will recommend some beer’s you haven’t rated before. Allowing you to discover new beers, breweries, and rate them, allowing Pintley to improve it’s recommendations.

3) TapHunter

Have a few favorite craft beers, or you’ve just found out about one via Pintley that you’d like to try? That might be a little harder then you’d think, with a craft beer, because unfortunately unlike the big 3 (Bud, Miller, & Coors) there’s a strong chance that if you just walk into any given bar, your craft beer won’t be on tap. And as any craft beer enthusiast can tell you, if you don’t know a place that constantly has your beer on tap, it can be a pain to try and find it. Or you find yourself trying to decide between a few of your  favorite bars and  the tap list is going to be the deciding factor. Well you’re in luck because there is now an app for a situation just like the ones above, it’s called TapHunter. TapHunter lets you search for your favorite craft beer and see where it’s on tap around the city. Alternatively you can search your favorite craft beer bar and see their tap list, which is updated almost daily thanks to the users, aka  “TapHunters,” who are updating the tap lists as they visit their favorite bars. You might say it’s the craft beer enthusiast’s very own beer concierge, or as some would call it their “magic beer finder.” Now this is a very interesting combination of social media tech meets craft beer, as it allows for craft beer drinkers to know where exactly they can find the beer they want. This sort of social media tool paired with say Pintley, would allow a craft beer enthusiast to not only discover a new beer, but try it out fairly soon after.

Now these are just a few examples of how social media is being used in the craft beer industry.  As both continue to grow and enter the daily lives of people it will be very interesting to see what emerges from the craft beer drinking social media mavens out there. There is no doubt in my mind that the partnership between craft beer and social media is changing the way we go about enjoying and pursing craft beer.

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  • Mike, I absolutely agree that social media is allowing much smaller breweries to grow geographically and at a much higher rate than in the past. I do think that social media – and particularly mobile social media – will play a pivotal role in spreading the word on great new products in the beer industry that otherwise may have gone untasted. I’m glad that we can be a part of that at Pintley!