The British Beer Industry is undergoing something of an evolution, thanks to Gordon Brown’s budget speech in 2002. At that time the Progressive Beer Duty was introduced which offered tax breaks for small breweries. The result has been a flood of micro-breweries, the most the UK has witnessed since the 1930’s. And their numbers continue to grow annually, at a rate of nots, some 64% in 5 years.
How have these smaller breweries become so popular? What opportunities to promote your business arise from summer beer festivals? And how can you get your brand involved?
Beer Festivals: British Beer Market Brief
In the UK, beer is responsible for almost half of all trade drink sales and with over 2,000 breweries and rising, it’s no surprise that it remains the favourite drink of Brits. It is notable though, that the mainstream beer market is in decline, 2.2% down in value. The cause? The rise of the smaller ‘Micro-Brewery.’
It seems this country’s beer drinkers are no longer content with the conventional tasting beer offered by large scale corporate breweries but as the BBPA (British Beer & Pub Association) explains;
“The discerning public are moving on from bland, generic, mass produced beers and lagers … instead they’re opting for Craft Beer from smaller breweries, many of which aren’t just brewing traditional ale, but also experimenting with new ingredients and techniques.”
Our beer drinking nation has been lured away from popular long-standing brands to sample the new flavours and brewing methods of high end, independently owned brewers. The results speak for themselves; the number of UK Breweries has tripled in less than 15 years, with an estimate of three new ones opening every week and an increase in value of 8.4% to £65m.
What is the true nature of a Craft Beer?
Whilst the US has a very clear definition of what exactly a craft beer is, it is far less clear cut in this country, but there are several loose guidelines devised by that roughly explain what makes a beer ‘craft.’
- They are brewed in smaller breweries
- They are less widely distributed in smaller batches
- They tend to be more expensive
- They are viewed as a quality product and are distributed from more prestigious outlets
- Branding is creative and appealing to niche consumers, with highly coloured labelling
- Packaging is almost always brown bottles or cans
- A more hoppy and bold taste is achieved by the addition of traditional ingredients and some less conventional ones too.
506 million pints of Craft Beer were drunk in 2017, from a bountiful list of the most unconventionally named brands. Some of the more popular ones include:
- Northern Monk, ‘Obelisk’ (Triple Hopped)
- Verdant,’ Don’t tell Gus.’
- Wylam, ‘Midnight Train to Byker.’
- The Veil, ‘Never, Never, Stop, Stop’
- Burnt Mill and Fieldwork, ‘Dark Mode.’
With so great a choice of speciality beers available the need arose for somewhere, other than in bars and pubs, the public could go to specially seek out, sample and purchase the wealth of beers available. CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale), protagonists of Craft Beer Festivals in this country to this day, started the ball rolling in 1977 at Alexandra Palace with the Great British Beer Festival. Dubbed the “Biggest Pub in the World,” “the GBBF is still an annual event taking place every first week in August at Olympia and lasting from Tuesday to Saturday, it remains one of the more popular events on the ‘beer lovers calendar.’
Some of the Craft Beer Festivals headlining for 2019 include:
The Great British Beer Festival, London, 6th – 10th August
Craft Beer Rising, London, 21st – 23rd February
Indy Man Beer Con, Manchester, 3rd – 6th October
Craft Beer Calling, Newcastle, 24th – 26th October
Fyne Fest, Argyll, 31st May – 3rd June
Liverpool Craft Beer Expo, 27th – 30th June
Advantages of attending a Craft Beer Festival
Beer Festivals are a great way to contact your customers face to face enabling them to sample your products for themselves. Opportunities are also available to network and form long lasting business relationships whilst learning first hand how to promote your brand. With copious numbers of visitors to these events, (anything from 10,000 – 80,000 depending on the event and weather), there is ample exposure to potential customers but with considerably forethought and planning, you can make your presence at a Craft Beer Festival a resounding success.
It is estimated that visitors, in general, are willing to travel from a radius of one hour to the event, to enjoy the live music, tastings and chats with brewers, food stalls, arts and culture and more often than not, beautiful location. These festivals also benefit from high levels of press and social media coverage in the weeks leading up to the event and for weeks afterwards, providing scope to link in your brand.
Before you choose which event is right for you have in mind some important factors to consider.
- Who is your target customer? Are they likely to attend the festival?
- Have you considered every cost involved, not just the stand itself? Variable costs such as fridges, lighting, staffing, transport of your goods to the venue all need to be accounted for.
- Are you clear what your objective is? Is it just a case of creating awareness? Or would you like to sell a specific amount of your product? Or meet up with a potentially useful trade contact?
- How many staff members will you need on the stand bearing in mind the festival opening hours, personal breaks and lulls in
visitors. Are these staff well prepped or experienced in speaking to the trade or public?
- How will you record all useful contacts and enquiries, in order to follow these up efficiently after the event?
Once your strategy is in place and planning complete, the main challenge is in making your brand stand out or getting your message heard above all the others participating at the event.
How to create an eye-catching Beer Festival stand.
Location – The first step is to find a prime position for your stand. On the corners of main thoroughfares or at the end of aisles can get you noticed. Also setting up next to a popular food or drink stand where queuing is necessary will give your stand a high profile with those waiting. Also, a location next to well established and popular brands, will enable you to piggyback on heavy traffic going to and fro.
Overall Appearance – Make sure your stand is pleasing to the eye, tidy and creates intrigue. Having something to look at, smell, listen to or touch, appealing to the senses always attracts the crowds. Keep your graphics simple, thought provoking, clear. Train your staff to be constantly approachable, enthusiastic, helpful and friendly.
Outdoor Exhibition Kit – choose from weather resistant, stable display banners and stands that will withstand the worst of British weather. A printed Gazebo Tent may cost a little more but is a great way to protect your displays, your customers and even yourself whilst continually promoting your business. Gazebo Tents are supplied with a strong easily assembled aluminium frame, custom printed roof and optional concrete blocks for extra stability all neatly packed into its own carry bag. Wall Mounted Banner Frames come with their own PVC printed banner and can be attached to the sides or buildings, fences or on railings.
Mesh Banners are exceptionally good for advertising in windy locations as the weather blows through the tiny holes in the fabric. Outdoor Roller Banners or Outdoor X Banners make an attractive accessory to your stand highlighting sales promotions, unique selling points or your product or contact details for your business. The Roller Banner comes with ground pegs to tether it to the ground and the X Banner has a water fillable base that keeps it standing by itself. Blade Feather Flags come in three different sizes, with graphics printed on a single side or both sides. Event Flags are portable, packed into their own bag, stable, with a water fillable base and versatile with a telescopic pole to adjust the size to your needs. If you want to really make an impact the EXO Banner Display creates a massive back drop to your stand and can really attract attention if graphics are kept simple and in bold colours. Finish off your display with a couple of forecourt or pavement signs to direct the event visitors to your stand. A little incentive of free samples, discounts or special promotions advertised on these boards works wonders in drawing the public in.
If you’re more into your gin, check out our similar article all about gin festivals.
Roller Banners UK are experts in planning outdoor events, festivals and exhibitions and are happy to advise what would work for you as well as to design and print full colour, high quality graphics to your specification. Call them today to plan your summer event on (02380) 700111 or chat online.