Aye Yo! Craft Beer dude! Try the Black Market. All are welcome.

Most reading this will be new to my thoughts on marketing in the craft beverage industry. As a black man that enjoys crafts beers, wines, ciders, and spirits, I constantly have to scour the web to find events and products that I’d like to try. How is it possible that not one brewery, winery, or distillery in my area deems it profitable to market to me. Black dollars made up 12% of the $27 billion spent on craft {beer} in 2018. So why is it so rare to see targeted advertising for the black community? Especially when you consider the cultural affinity for richer, more decadent flavor profiles found in many higher-priced beer styles like Lambics, Stouts, and Porters. I get it though, craft beer is a suburban product by nature of its origin and that hasn’t changed much in its 200+ year history. To put it earnestly neither has the cultural makeup of many suburban neighborhoods in America. At some point, the neighborhood dollars will reach their limit and there will be a need to expand beyond its buying power. I don’t profess to have all the answers to reaching the black consumer but here are some thoughts on a few digital efforts you can attempt. They shouldn’t cost much and can result in the expansion, engagement, and education of a new consumer base. 

  • Look for micro-influencers. The black community is just that- a community! Seek out those within the community that can vouch for your product and the environment your brewery boasts. Think of it as your digital welcome mat. If there’s no welcome mat, we are not even approaching the door. 
  • Partner with your influencers to produce shoppable posts. Welcome mat or not, your brewery is likely not centered in the black community. Do not let logistics be the determining factor. Leverage your merch. Equip influencers with hats, hoodies, tees, and stickers to flaunt in their post. Send direct links to your swag store and BOOM your selling merch to an audience you couldn’t otherwise reach. I own 17 hats from breweries I’ve never visited or tried. The beer may not be hyperlocal but the gear can be.
  • Take up vlogging. Showcase your personality and the excitement that is unique to your brand. Consumers sharing in that identity and interest will engage you as a result. The more you give the more you get. A great way to encourage the share and repeat viewership is the instructional video. A nice ‘how to brew [insert your favorite recipe]”video would be awesome. The more content you have here the more time consumers can spend with your brand. 
  • Dedicate time to explore alternative and niche channels. Many black, beer enthusiasts, and even home brewers live in these areas. You’ll find and create raving fans for your brand and can even get genuine feedback to help order your steps moving forward. So hop in a few subreddits and have some fun with beer folks.
  • Most importantly take the time to do a real sentiment analysis. Understand that likes and dislikes don’t tell the entire story of the consumer experience. You need to look deeper into the comments, emojis, shorthand, and slanguage this new consumer base is leaving for you. If you opened a brewery in France you’d learn how to speak and react to the French language. Do the same here. Learn the intricacies of the many dialects that make up the black experience.

This is just my personal, semi-informed view of how to include a historically excluded group of consumers. There are black beer drinkers in your city right now. Many of which have been duped into drinking macro, masquerading as craft beer. Engage that consumer! Educate them on where to find better beers. Expand their palette and your consumer base! My people are like all other people- looking for good beer. Drop an ad. Say ‘What’s Up?’ You might even get invited to the cookout! 🙂

If the thought of a craft beer making its way into more urban communities excites you as much as it does us, like us on Facebook, follow us on Instagram, subscribe and help us build equity and diversity in craft beer by sharing and contributing to our crowdfund.

Now is the time to #CrafttheCulture.

Live Wild. Drink Responsibly. 

Sizzle – @sippinwitsizzle

If you missed it, I’m a Co Founder and CEO of a brewery that is founded for the “only people” in the craft beer world. Crafted Culture Brewing Company.

“Be[er] the change you want to see in the world.”

Published by Sippin Wit Sizzle

Purveyor of Liquids CEO @CraftedCultureBrew Taproom Manager @SpiresSocial I am a digital marketer with a background in craft breweries and small business management proficient in Hootsuite, Campaign Management, and Content Creation. I have 5 years of experience in organizational leadership, which allowed me to develop my skills as a thought leader.

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