Brewery Storytelling 101: How to Craft an Effective Brewery Story
What events in your life led you to open up a brewery to craft and share your beer? 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?
Your customers want to know the story behind your beer. According to Simon Sinek, author of Start with Why:
“People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it.”
Your customers want to know the “why” behind your beer and brewery because they want to invest their money and time in businesses that share values similar to theirs. Crafting and communicating your story and values humanizes your brand and is a great way to differentiate your brewery and brews.
Why Should You Tell Your Brewery’s Story?
Your Brewery’s Story Helps Humanize your Brand
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 brewery 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.
Your Brewery’s Story Helps Differentiate your Brewery and Makes your Brand 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.”
Jess Baker, Editor-in-Chief of CraftBeer.com
You may brew similar beers from your competitors, but your story, brewery 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 in differentiating and growing your brewery.
Juan O’Naghton, Owner and Head Brewer, Nightlife Brewing
According to Juan O’Naghton, Owner and Head Brewer at Nightlife Brewing in Miami:
“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.”
How to Create a Relatable Brewery Story
Draw Out your Timeline
Many articles on storytelling will tell you to begin answering questions like “Who are you?” and “What makes your brewery 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 brewery as well as what differentiates your brewery from the thousands upon thousands other breweries can be 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 brewery 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 story.
Determine your Core Values
Your core values guide how your brewery is ran 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 give an opportunity to connect with your customers. According to a study done by the Harvard Business Review, 64% of consumers cited that shared values where 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 brewery:
- Ask your employees, “What behaviors do you value and what values have you noticed portrayed throughout the brewery?”
- Analyze your mission to see what values spring from it
- Focus on your employees’ positive actions and behaviors instead of basing values on company objectives
- Collaborate with your employees and agree on your core values together, as your brewery’s core values determines how your brewery does business. Everyone who works in your business should feel representative and should have a say in the values that will guide them
Once your brewery has determined 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 to create a relatable, aspiring story for your brewery. It is easier to write a narrative when you have your story beats planned out in the form of your timeline and the core values that were demonstrated in the opening and daily operations in your brewery.
When writing your brewery’s story, make sure your story answers the following questions:
- Who are the people who are the driving force behind your brewery and why?
- Why do you brew beer?
- What does your brewery stand for?
- What sets your brewery apart from other breweries similar to yours?
How Storytelling Can Differentiate and Elevate Your Brewery
Creature Comforts is an example of a brewery who understands what differentiates themselves as a brewery 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 from 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 tell their story as an opportunity to express what differentiates their brewery
- Their story explains why they brew and what their stand for: Sharing how 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 apart 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 our future, and we look forward to writing that story with you.”
-Creature Comforts, About the Brewery
Share Your Brewery’s Story & 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 apart of and share, but there are things you can do to keep your story being shared and told:
Incorporate your Brewery’s Story within your Marketing Content and 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 on how your core examples and story influenced your brewery in making decisions and creating new brews. Remember, 64% of consumers cite that shared values where 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 Brewery’s Story
Check out our testimonial on how OrchestratedBeer helps breweries plan for the future
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 brewery.
Storytelling is a powerful tool to communicate to your customers what your brewery stands for, why you brew beers and what differentiates your brewery. Without a compelling story, it is easy to blend into the sea of thousands upon thousands of breweries doing business across the US.
Take the time to write your brewery’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 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 beer together.