Brewery Marketing With Badger Hill
As part of our brewery marketing series, I got the chance to chat with Britt Krekelberg of Badger Hill Brewing. In this interview, Britt talks branding, social marketing, and finding creative content.
What’s In A Name?
Naming a Minnesota brewery anything to do with a Badger is a bold choice--not that we blame any Minnesotans for a friendly rival with our neighbor to the east. So, why did Badger Hill go there?
It all starts with a little family history. Broc and Brent Krekelberg are brothers and two of the four owners of Badger Hill Brewery in Shakopee. The other two owners are Britt Krekelberg (Founder and wife of Broc), and Michael Koppelman who joined as Head Brewer and Partner in 2014.
The Krekelberg brothers lost their father when they were young, and both wanted to pay homage to their family history in naming the brewery. After planning to brew several Old English beers, the partners discovered the Old English meanings for Broc and Brent - Badger and Hill respectively. Keeping it in the family, the Krekelberg’s sister designed Badger Hill’s logo along with each beer label.
Badger Hill’s branding is mirrored in its taproom, both drawing on modern, industrial, and vintage qualities. You see these features in the scripted typeface, bold colors, subway tiled taproom, and beyond. Perhaps it’s best to take a trip to Shakopee to see the effect for yourself.
Beyond the brewery, Badger Hill strives to give each beer name its own story. For example, the Minnesota Special Bitter (ESB) pays homage to the brewery’s home state, and the Foundation Stout is named for the first beer the three founders agreed to brew.
Why Go Social?
“Our audience is very active on social media. If you look at the demographics of a craft beer drinker, it’s 25-45 year olds. We try to reach people throughout that demographic on different platforms. Social media is a strategic marketing tool; you can reach a lot of people.
It helps us promote a lot of our partners as well. A lot of other marketing avenues don’t let you share who your customers are, what you’re up to, or partners you have in the business whether that’s a distributor, liquor store, restaurant, distributor of steel, or a local farmer.
People are interested in what’s going on right now--tonight. You can’t do that if you take out a billboard or a magazine ad.
With craft beer, a lot of your opportunity and growth is with grass roots, and I’d say social media fits right in there.”
Tipsy - Elf On The Shelf
In an ingenious marketing move, Badger Hill introduced “Tipsy The Elf” to social media. Britt explains why he was such a success, “Most people who live within a 15 mile radius of Shakopee have children (we’re in the suburbs!) who have elf on the shelf. You have to look at who your audience is; even though I want my audience to be everyone, being hyper focused on my backyard makes sense. [Tipsy] wouldn’t be as fun for some other breweries whose radius is filled with single young professionals.
“Brewing Arrogant Bastard was a huge awesome honor. I am so appreciative to Nate Hausen; his belief in us is what made that a reality. He knows how much we’ve worked on quality and how passionate we are about our craft; he’s obviously passionate about Stone and what they do, so he knew it was a good fit. Our branding and marketing doesn’t totally mash up with Arrogant Bastard’s, but that’s why it worked; we could be a little more arrogant and they could show that they appreciate other beers and communities.”
“Arrogant Bastard was really cool was for our brewers--just think about getting the opportunity to brew that beer and how it made them feel.” Britt explains the brewers work hard on the quality of the craft, which is how they got the chance to brew Arrogant Bastard. “That’s something they could hang their hat on,” says Krekelberg.
Badger Hill has forged several other partnerships, such as the High Roller Extra Pale Ale for Valley Fair, and they look forward to fostering more partnerships in 2017 that work well for both parties.