By Kim Pace, Senior Manager
Unlike many of my colleagues, I am no beer connoisseur, but I am a beer consumer. Even more importantly, I am a local biz supporter and a huge fan of outdoor day drinking (fellow parents of toddlers, holler if you hear me!).
I may not be a beer connoisseur, but I have lived in Kalamazoo and Asheville, two of the premier beer cities anywhere in the country. And my old stomping grounds in Texas are no slouches when it comes to craft beer, either! You can bet I’ve spent my fair share of time at local breweries.
In honor of National Beer Day, I thought I’d celebrate some of my favorite craft beer brands – and the marcoms and community efforts they get right – in the places I’ve called home.
- Jester King Brewery, Austin, Texas: Farmhouse ales. Mouthwatering wood fired pizza. 165 acres of farmland for family and friends to safely gather. If that doesn’t drive you to Jester King, then perhaps their unwavering community support will. For example, in March, the brewery announced on social media that they’d donate 100% of that week’s sales of the Joyce pizza (which is topped with kimchi – YUM!) to the Austin Asian Community Health Initiative. The effort received positive praise and comments on all posts.
- Karbach Brewing Co., Houston, Texas: Karbach gets a lot right (and not just hop-heavy beers like their Hopadillo IPA and Rodeo Clown Double IPA). Their marketing and community efforts are as varied as their styles of craft brew. From the partnerships with Texas country artists (shout out to my girl Bri Bagwell!), to their social campaigns like this one that highlighted the Karback Women in Beer, to the creative ways they utilize their massive outdoor beer garden for events like the Astros watch party – there’s something for everybody.
- Whistle Hop Brewery, Asheville, North Carolina: Whistle Hop is one of the coolest set-ups I’ve seen. The taproom is built around a 1941 Southern Railway Boxcar and 1969 Norfolk & Western Caboose on three acres of land, which includes a covered deck and a ton of unique lawn games. I love their Woof Wednesdays where they host a food truck for dogs on-site. Talk about a niche market! Pet adoptions are way up during the pandemic and a lot of people and pooches are itching to get out of the house for some safe socializing and delicious grub for all.
- Founders Brewing Co., Grand Rapids, Michigan: Founders is one of the most popular on this list and a beloved client of Lambert. What day drinker wouldn’t appreciate a beer called “All Day IPA?” They’ve recently introduced the Mas Agave Premium Hard Seltzer and will be kicking off their very first national influencer campaign to promote it this spring. With the growth of the hard seltzer market, it’s smart for craft beer brands to diversify and hop on this bandwagon (pun intended).
- Bell’s Brewery, Kalamazoo, Michigan: First, chances are you’ve had Oberon or Two Hearted, even if you’re not from Michigan. Second, chances are you don’t realize “Oberon Day” is basically a holiday in Michigan. Oberon Day is the first day each year that the seasonal wheat beer is available in most of the country; at Bell’s Eccentric Café, it is a giant party (fun fact: Oberon is available year-round in Florida and other select literal hotspots). To add to the celebration this year, they introduced Oberon Clone Kits to allow fans to brew their own version of the beer at home.
The past year has been a challenging one for a lot of us and for a lot of businesses, especially breweries that rely heavily on traffic through their tasting rooms. With temperatures and vaccination rates rising and cases declining, breweries are going to provide a very welcome preview of normalcy as we continue to navigate the pandemic. I, for one, look forward to raising a glass with friends again.