It’s not unusual for a craft brewery to form strong bonds with members of a local homebrewing club. But the trend is growing stronger, and playing out in some new ways. If you’re thinking of initiating a relationship with local homebrewers—or looking for new ways to engage these craft beer fans in your brewery—here are a few ideas.
Invite Homebrewers to Help Brew
Many homebrewers would jump at the opportunity to participate in a brew with big, shiny, professional brewery equipment. The benefits to your brewery are pretty clear, too. You’ll get free labor. You’ll strengthen ties with local craft beer fans, who could become devoted customers at your brewery. And sales of that particular brew could be stronger than expected. The homebrewers are sure to provide lots of word-of-mouth marketing.
Keep in mind, though, that you’ll need to offer some basic training to volunteers assisting in the brewing process. The last thing you want is an injury or other incident that results in a liability claim, medical bills, or a lawsuit. Check with your insurance agent to ensure that you have protections in place, in case something does happen.
Host a Meet the Brewer Event
If you’re not quite ready for homebrewers to participate in a brew day, you may want to start with a different type of event. Invite your local club to a Meet the Brewer event at your brewery (or, alternatively, at a local bar or restaurant that serves your brews).
On your side, it’s a great relationship-building opportunity. For the homebrewers, it’s a chance to learn about your path to professional brewing (a path many of them no doubt aspire to follow), to ask technical questions about the brewing process and running the business, and to be inspired by your craft beer career.
Cater to Homebrewers’ Needs
Many craft breweries stock swag—from stickers to hoodies—for customers to purchase. Why not take it a step further, and stock the equipment and ingredients homebrewers need to get the job done? Or offer your brewery as a meeting place for a local club?
It’s not unusual for craft breweries to offer wort sharing with local homebrewers—most often as part of a homebrewing competition. You could initiate the competition yourself: offer wort to local homebrewers to take home and finish the brew—then bring it back to your brewery on a designated date for a tasting event. (Here again, you should check with your insurance agent to make sure you’re not overlooking any risk exposures.)
Many professional craft brewers got their start as homebrewers. Many homebrewers aspire to go pro. This is a relationship made in craft beer heaven—and if handled correctly, could build a lot of good will for your brewery… and grow its customer base, too.
For more than 25 years, Beall Financial and Insurance Services, Inc., has been helping corporations and individuals protect their most important assets. The agency’s client base covers a spectrum of niche businesses, such as craft breweries, that require specialized insurance packages and knowledge. With California offices in Redlands and Newport Beach, Beall Financial and Insurance Services serves clients nationwide.