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Harness the Power of Emotion
Craft Beer Sales and Marketing

Warm sun on my face, a pleasant breeze in the air, crisp lager in hand, delicious food from a
local vendor, upbeat live music, socially distanced seating, and the ease of touchless ordering.
I’m imagining how my upcoming visit to this specific local taproom will feel and I’ve never
actually been there before.

These feelings of contentment, relaxation, confidence about safety precautions, and celebration
of my senses are all conjured by a series of photos on this particular brewery’s social media
channel. A handful of photos and some well-written sentences inspired me enough to drive 40
minutes away from my home to enjoy a Sunday afternoon pint on their patio with my entire
family. That’s the power of harnessing emotion in your marketing and sales techniques.


This particular brewery’s social media marketing techniques were just the tip of the iceberg. When we arrived, there was clear signage everywhere instructing us exactly what to do, which was not only helpful but used descriptive verbiage to communicate how following these rules would lead to a more enjoyable experience, for us and others around us. This instilled feelings of
safety, community, and commitment from their team.

The contactless ordering system was not only clearly explained and easy to navigate, but it gave us tempting prompts along the way to add more options to our order that was not on our radar until right at that moment. Vivid beer descriptions painted pictures of the experience I would get by ordering particular styles.

You don’t need a taster if the beer description is full of emotionally driven adjectives and familiar imagery.

To top it all off, when I closed out my tab, the ordering system asked me if I wanted to take this experience home with me. Yes, please, where do I sign up? I will take this festival of sensory enlightenment home with me in the form of beer to go, and of course, I want to sign up for your email list so that I can continue this amazing experience with your brand, and yes, I do want to purchase branded merchandise, because I now associate this particular beer brand with a memory of happiness, ease, safety, and pure joy.

This example should be your goal in your sales and marketing tactics.

Our current market challenges dictate that you can’t just casually talk about your beer anymore to generate sales, you’ve got to completely immerse your target audience in an emotionally driven experience that will inspire them to take a purchase action – either in-person or virtually.

Stop thinking about all the physical features of your products, your taproom, your merchandise or your loyalty program. Start thinking about the way these things will make your customers feel or the results they will get from their purchase. Go beyond ABV and your operating hours. Focus on the experience I will get from your German-style Pils or beer garden-inspired patio.

Consumers buy results, they don’t buy physical items, and emotions play a big role in triggering their purchase decisions. When you can learn to use emotionally-driven language to describe the benefits of your products and paint a vivid picture of how your consumer will feel after they buy something, you can tap into the psychological and social needs of the human brain. Humans have an instinctual need to feel good, feel safe, feel like they’re part of a group, or feel complete. You can do this with emotionally laden words and with photos or videos that spark positive feelings of inclusion, enjoyment, fulfillment, and safety.

So the next time you go to create a Facebook post or write your taproom menu or update your website, consider how you want your fans and consumers to feel. What should be the big overarching takeaway feeling after interacting with your brand? Then use emotion-triggering language and compelling visuals in your sales and marketing materials to conjure up those feelings, and watch your sales numbers increase.

Article originally published in Craft Brewing Business, August 4, 2020.


Contributing Author

Julie Rhodes                                                                             Owner/Educator, Not Your Hobby Marketing Solutions

Drawing from a decade of experience in the specialty beer business, Julie is an authority on beer sales, marketing, sales team management, and distributor partnership management.

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The country is beginning to see some semblance of normalcy since the COVID-19 vaccines have begun to roll out and case counts go down. Restaurants are beginning to allow sit down dining in limited capacity along with and bars and taprooms being allowed to let patrons sit down for a few drinks. As this reopening continues, make sure your brewery is ready to recapture (and possibly enhance) that once lost source of revenue and exposure. Here are few tips on how to successfully bring draft back.

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With challenge comes opportunity, and I am incredibly optimistic about what is ahead. Right now, I see thousands of breweries (there were 8,500 on the record before COVID-19 in March 2020) evolve in ways that show how agile and adaptable small businesses are.

In the August 2020 press release from online retailer Drizly, they shared: "As consumers migrate to purchasing alcohol through e-commerce channels, Drizly forecasts 20% of off-premise alcohol  

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So you’ve got yourself a contract with a beverage wholesaler and the sales should just start rolling in any time now, right? Wrong. One of the most common mistakes that you can make as a craft beverage business is to assume that your lagging sales will be miraculously increased by the addition of a distributor partner.

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You should apply this same concept to selling your beer. Your Sales Vision Plan will be the guiding 


Sales strategy should be at the forefront of your mind when starting a brewery. This is the phase where you graduate from homebrewer and humble beer fan to a licensed brewery owner and/or operator. You can produce some of the best beers in the world, but in order to make your beer your business, you must know how to sell your products.


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  • Identify Sales Channels

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  • Consider Sales Staff

  • Budget for Sales

  • Sales Projections

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  • Create Sales Goals

  • Create Sales Materials

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  • Work with District Sales Teams

  • Track & Analyze Sales Data

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