How To Find Your Brewery's Unfair Marketing Advantage

Brewery Marketing

In a country with over 4,000 craft breweries and too many flannel/beard combos, you are going to need something more to your story. Something that can't be duplicated, that draws the masses to your brewery, something different. What you need is an unfair advantage.

An unfair or competitive advantage is your edge. It's your business' secret weapon.

Jason Cohen explains this term perfectly in his blog: "The only real competitive advantage is that which cannot be copied and cannot be bought." Cohen elaborates, your unfair advantage is not Feature X, 3 PhD's, hard work, etc. etc. Rather, an unfair advantage is something only you, only your brewery can offer to customers. If it can be duplicated, it's not your unfair advantage.

So, when it comes to your brewery, these features are not your unfair advantage:

  • You started by brewing beer in your garage.
  • Craft beer is your life!
  • You're new and local.
  • It's taken a while, but you have crafted the perfect IPA recipe.

But if your unfair advantage can't be one of these go-to's, then what is it? That's something you'll have to define for yourself. Here are a few tips and questions to get you there: (via)

  • What's your mission?
  • Why are your people the best people? What makes them unique assets to your team? Why are they invaluable?
  • Name one thing you will never ever compromise on.
  • What's your niche? What is your specialty?
  • Do you have any unique experiences or skills?
  • Does your company have a passion project?

Two examples of breweries who have discovered and are leveraging their unfair advantages:

  • Kona Brewing. This Hawaii-based brewery bases all its marketing messages, brews, etc. on its location. From its #LiquidAloha and #OneLife hashtags to its "Big Wave" beer, Kona is all about the Island.
  • Forager Brewery. Okay, so we might be a tad biased about this one. But, we do think Forager's founders know what they're doing. This brewery is entirely focused on foraging for local ingredients, which translates into crafting seasonal brews, local collaborations, and local art and music in their taproom.

The answer might not come easily, but it should feel natural. Tell us, what is your brewery's unfair advantage?