So you won yourself a beer award… now what?

Earlier in the week, I was quick to point out that this so-called dog park problem, didn’t actually have anything to do with dogs…

Or parks for that matter…

But instead the experience and perceived value that the business is able to achieve that draws in attention and beer-drinkin’ traffic. Those establishments are getting it right with their built-in blend dog + beer + food that gives consumers a reason to buy, and buy again.

But that’s not the only way to generate attention.

A more, let’s say “traditional,” way you might draw some eyeballs is by participating in a competition, beer festival, or some other enthusiast-centric event built to bring interested parties in contact with your product.

Case in point: Cabarrus Brewing recently won this past weekend’s NC Brewers Cup (put on by the NC Craft Brewers Guild) with their Daisy Roots English Gold Ale.

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Via NC Craft Brewers Guild’s Instagram.


Good on you.

Excellent work.

… so now what?

Because as much as we all like a nice pat on the back, we’re building businesses here and we need to tie it all back to the mission.

Brew top-of-the-line liquid, yes.

But also market, sell, and drive interest to that product… especially to the most profitable part of your brewery.

And now Cabarrus and the rest of the other category winners have the opportunity to do just that.

Here are some thoughts.

Low Hanging Fruit: Toot your own horn on social.

First, just simply announce the event.

And from the look of it many of the NCBC winners already have this box checked.

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Cabarrus’ victory dance Instagram post.

Now, although you should certainly be tooting your own horn here to bring some visibility to the win, keep in mind that (a) most people won’t be paying attention, and (b) most people are in WIIFM mode (what’s in it for me).

With those things in mind make sure you:

  • Post about it a few times over the next week or so attacking it from a different angle each time (e.g. announce the win, highlight the beer and its ingredients, describe the process, thank the community).
  • Make the beer the center of the story. Your customers like you and all… but the reason they patronize your wonderful establishment is for that delicious product you produce. More on this next.
  • Give them a reason to care. How can you turn this into a tool you can use to capture that attention and send it back home to the brewery? Maybe it’s a special release. Maybe it’s an event (described below). Use the award as a stepping stone to something bigger.


One Level Up: Put it on display.

Now let’s really start to use the credibility aspect of the win to amplify that perceived value.

Don’t just tell people about what you did. Show them.

Tin Roof Brewing does an excellent job of this with their Voodoo APA, which is a Great American Beer Festival winner.

beer award now what image 3

They went ahead and:

  • Incorporated the medal into their branding.
  • Featured the beer front and center on the website.
  • Regularly bring attention back to the credibility-enhancing effects of that branding decision at events and on their social channels.
beer award now what image 4
Via Tin Roof’s Instagram.

Consider how you might enhance and highlight your winning offering in this way.

Pro Level: Build an event to drive butts into seats.

Now remember, in the end, it’s all about the beer and experience for the customer.

The ultimate goal here is to capture the attention and buzz you’ve generated from the competition and turn that into business – recurring business.

And that can happen if you give people a reason to visit your taproom.

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A release event done like a pro.

Example: It’s not built around an award, but Wicked Barley’s Duval ‘Til We Die special release is an excellent framework for how it should be done.

Tie the event to the competition win of course…

But draw interest through a special release. A limited-time label or can? A giveaway? A collab with another popular food establishment?

Bottom line: just give people a reason to come by on THIS DATE versus “someday” and you give yourself a chance to win that new patronage for good.

And then lean on your taproom staff to bring it on home when the new folks do pay a visit. Because you can drive all the attention you want, but if:

Your customers don’t “vote” for your beer with their dollars in the taproom.
And your culture isn’t captivating enough to keep them coming back again and again after that first visit.

You can rack up all of the accolades in the world… and still be scratching your head when you look at the numbers at the end of the quarter.

P.S. For all you Tar Heel State-ers, next up for the guild is the NC Craft Brewers Conference in early November. If you’re not already headed there, it’s probably worth a look.

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