Raising the Bar: Marketing your Adult Beverage in 2017

With the shift toward digital marketing in the past few years, many smaller alcohol brands are faced with a dilemma: “Do I continue to market my adult beverage products using traditional media or join the big dogs in the digital world?”


When Heineken decided in 2007 that they would like to grow their market share among young Puerto Ricans, the brand decided to take the road less traveled. Instead of placing ads on traditional media like television, the brand took to the Internet, creating “Heineken City,” an interactive game where digital currency is earned by interacting with the brand. Playing Heineken branded mini games meant you could upgrade your Heineken branded apartment. Within a few months, Heineken City led to 10,000 early adopters becoming loyal Heineken drinkers in Puerto Rico alone. That was almost a decade ago.


Today, with the advent of virtual and augmented reality, and greater technology coming everyday, it can be hard to keep up to date with current market trends in the adult-beverage economy. That’s why we took the liberty to identify some of the trends in the industry, so that you can know if your brand’s messaging is up to date, your ad budget is being used effectively, or if you could use some help.


1. Social Media

Collecting and indexing your consumer base is an incredibly powerful tool. That’s because social media represents a captive audience of some of your biggest fans. Imagine a smaller brand, called Brand X. Brand X has 1,000 social media followers, and sells bottles of Bourbon for $40 each. If Brand X can use social media to convince each customer to buy an average of 2 additional bottles of bourbon per year, then in five years, Brand X’s social media presence will have generated an additional $400,000 in sales.


With more followers, and more effective messaging, that number will only go up. Your audience is on social media, and if you’re not taking full advantage of that fact, you are losing out on potential sales. Type in any major brand into the Facebook search bar and you’ll see lots of high-quality content on their sites. That’s because these brands understand the power of social media, and are using it to spread their messaging and brand to interested consumers.

2. Digital Shift

While social media might be the biggest trend in adult beverage marketing, it’s hard to ignore the fact that much of the industry ad spend dollars are moving online. That’s because digital marketing allows for very specified targeting, which is very important in a highly regulated industry where advertising to consumers under 21 is not allowed. But more than that, digital marketing allows for two-way conversations with brands and consumers, and with higher engagement comes higher brand loyalty.


For example, tequila brand Patron allows consumers to take a tour of their factories in virtual reality, meaning consumers can see how the beverage is crafted from the beginning to end. Newcastle, who relies solely on digital marketing, began producing high-quality humorous videos in 2014 that were hyper-focused to its biggest segments in its largest markets. That effort has been rewarded for Newcastle, an early adopter in the digital shift, but hardly the only entrant. Digital marketing’s ability to focus in on segments means cost effective ad spends, and that’s where top adult beverage brands are headed.

3. Engage

For better or for worse, millennials are growing in purchase power, and they are major players in the adult beverage economy. The one part of the marketing mix that millennials appreciate most is engagement. According to a 2015 study by PR firm Edelman, almost nine in ten millennials engage with a brand online weekly, in the form of tweets, Facebook reviews, recommendations, and more. Beer, wine and spirit brands are wise to take advantage, or get left behind. Bacardi allows consumers to text their flavor of rum to a number where the drinker will receive recipes to match the spirit. Heineken raised the bar with its Heineken City, but the purpose was the simple: engage with consumers to manufacture brand loyalty.


Now, we’d like to ask you a question. With the complications that go in to distilling and creating great beverages, do you have time to maximize your own brand engagement, digital marketing, and social media? Well, at Wier and Bein, our specialists work hard to come up with creative solution for your marketing needs.


If you think your brand can benefit from any of our services, please reach out to us today to see why top brands are going digital!

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