Imminent Brewing has been a long time coming. Northfield Minnesota has long hurt for a craft brewery, and the folks at Imminent agree that "It's About Time".
I took the opportunity to chat with Laura Meyers, one of the four owners behind the brand, about their marketing efforts. Laura and her husband, Derek, met Tonja and Randy Clay through a local homebrew club. With Laura, Derek, and Randy as brewers and Tonja as the creative arm, the four are ready to start selling beer.
In this interview, Laura discusses the naming and branding of Imminent Brewing, why they continually choose to pay homage to the opinions of Northfield locals, and how the Imminent team thoughtfully addresses social media.
About The Name
The logo creation was a very fluid process. First, we chose our name, and that was based on all these conversations we had heard with others around town. People told us 'You guys are brewers; you should start a brewery', which is something you hear quite often when you're a homebrewer. There were a lot of folks saying, 'Why do we not have a brewery yet? Somebody must be planning one. It must be any time now.' I had actually heard people use the word 'imminent'. We were hemming and hawing about what our name would be and Tonja said, 'Let's just call it imminent brewing. Let's just pay homage to the fact that everybody feels that way about a brewery in this town.'
We wanted a logo and catchphrase that gave a little bit of credence to our vision. We came up with a mission statement with ideas and values about how we want to run this business and be a part of the community.
I think Randy was the one who said, "It's about time." Tonja took that and ran with it. It's about time; and it's about time we spend together; it's about time we spend gathering ingredients and being thoughtful about the creation of recipe. She came up with the hourglass, and we all thought that felt good. She eventually brought the other elements into it. I think she's brilliant!
Why pay homage to local opinion?
For me, it's because that's the way that craft breweries are supposed to be, and it always has been. That was what drew me to wanting to do this at all.
Derek went to graduate school in Fort Collins, CO and I think we were both really inspired by the breweries there--like New Belgium and Odell--that are so invested in sustainability and the well-being of their community. They sponsored events--especially New Belgium with the whole bike scene--which was really amazing even to be on the outside witnessing. We got involved as much as we could in whatever events they were throwing, and it was just inspiring.
Once we moved to Northfield and met Randy and Tonja, and realized how deeply they love this community--and we loved it right away, too--everything just started meshing together. Local was never not a part of it. We could never do this without it being that way.
When I was younger, it was stuck in my head that business is business, and you should treat it that way. I really didn't like that. To me, business is very personal, and that's what this business is for us. It's very personal to us, and to a lot of people, which it should be because why else are we doing this? We want to serve good beer to our friends and neighbors and community.
Tell me about your IndieGoGo campaign.
We knew probably from the start that we would do some sort of gap funding or crowd sourcing. Part of it was a way for the community to get involved. We get a lot of questions of people asking how they can help or when we are opening. There's all this enthusiasm and we are really appreciative of that. We wanted to give people a more tangible way to do that.
It's also a marketing tactic in a way. It's a way for us to show people what we are all about and for people to be able to say, 'That's neat, I want to be a part of this.'
It helps us, but it's also another way for people to get to be involved.
The campaign video is a hilarious take on Northfield's historical ties with Jesse James, involving the founders of Imminent as well as well-known figures from First National Bank.
How do you handle social media?
For the business, it became very clear very quickly that it's an amazing tool. It's a great way to spread news, share moments, and follow what's going on in the industry and in town.
We talked with Lindsey at Montgomery Brewing, and she taught us that some times and days are better for posting. That was interesting to hear, and I've been very aware of it. Partly, [social media] is about posting regularly, but I don't like [posting just to post]. I want to make sure every post is thoughtful. Even if it's a little reminder that we exist, every piece of it needs to be thoughtful. It's great to see that people really care what we're doing.
One thing that we said from the very beginning was that this is not an easy process. It is never going to be an easy process. It's going to be fun, and it's going to be awesome when we open our doors and get to work for ourselves. But, we always knew it was going to be very hard. So we decided early on to be thoughtful about every decision we make.
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