Craft beer marketing for your craft beer bar mirrors small business or retail marketing and is a little more fun to do when you integrate social media into the mix!

Craft beer represents only 5% of the overall beer market, but it’s pouring on more drinkers every day. Mintel reports that craft beer sales in the United States shows that sales nearly doubled between 2007 and 2012, increasing from $5.7 billion in 2007 to $12 billion in 2012. How do these craft brewers and bar connect with their customers? Many craft beer drinkers search and follow their favorite businesses on social media to keep tabs on their favorite beers or beers that they want to try! This social media search and follow activity is helping craft beer bars be even more successful than their competitors!

Small business retailers, like craft beer bars, have three key metrics to help them understanding if they are succeeding with their daily business:

  • Get more people to come through the front door of their craft beer bar
  • Get these people to spend above the average bill on each visit (e.g., buying a Ballast Point Sculpin vs. a bottle of bud)
  • Get people to come back to buy again as soon as possible

This simple formula is called RFM – recency, frequency and monetary are to get me to buy, to buy more often and to get me to spend more on each transaction. Retailers, like craft beer bars, can affect each of these actions with social media.

3 Ways To Use Social Media For Your Craft Beer Marketing – Part 1 of a 3-part Blog Series

Let’s see how you can start to get more customers coming through the front door of your craft beer bar with social media.

1. Use a hashtag to promote your craft beer bar. Your craft beer bar needs to use the language your social-media beer drinkers are using – a hashtag like #FirestoneWalker or #FoundersBrewing. A hashtag makes your promotional messaging more portable and viral … like a six-pack or bomber involved in cross-country trade.

Founders Brewing Hashtags

Drinkers between the ages of 21 to 27 are the key beer consumer market and are the one of the biggest users of social media, so it makes sense to think out to match the two to connect with some of the biggest adopters, especially if you want to get more people to visit your craft beer bar!

For example, one of my most favorite craft beer joints in the world, Pinocchios Beer Garden in Media, Pennsylvania could use #PinocchiosBeerGarden. By using this hashtag in tweets or Instagram posts, you can connect a person’s social media behavior directly with the bar. What a great idea … to get the beer customer to promote the bar! In other words, the bar is using the native behavior of your social media-using customers to get their social media to work harder for you. With the correct hashtag a craft beer bar can reach people who are not currently finding you on Twitter or Instagram. Get people to use your bar name in their messaging, and you can amplify your awareness! Up your promotional game and put the hashtag of the beers on tap to connect with those searching on the beer hashtags. Here is an Instagram post I used to promote the bar!

2. Get your customers to take pictures, and post Instagram photos to evangelize your craft beer bar. What better way to promote you craft bar than with photos!

Bilbo Baggins Instagram

What beer lover doesn’t search social media channels when a beer like Bells Hopslam is tapped in their area? Yes, hop heads tap every resource available when searching for their favorite beer – and Instagram is one of those platforms. We know that many people are using Instagram on a daily basis. In fact, Instagram reports:

  • 90 million monthly users
  • 40 million photos per day
  • 8,500 likes per second
  • 1,000 comments per second

Wow! What a craft beer marketing opportunity to tap! Photo-sharing performance numbers like these prove that Instagram can extend your craft beer bar’s message – that you have great craft beers. Getting others to extend your bar’s promotional message this way is important since you will reach customers who are following you AND craft beer lovers in your area that can find you. So, using Instagram is a picture-perfect way to build up your beer tribe!

Now, how do you take advantage of using Instagram? Think about unleashing the legions of smart phone craft beer-drinking photographers to deliver pictorial hoppiness to their friends and other beer lovers. Marketing ideas flow, like beers during Philadelphia Beer Week, for you to use for your business! For example, run a weekly contest for the best Instagram photo of your newest beer on tap or feature drinkers’ photos on your Facebook page!

As an example, I just visited a wonderful craft bar in Alexandria Virginia, Bilbo Baggins, and I Instagrammed #WishYouWereBeer drinking a #FirestoneWookieJack with me at #BilboBaggins. Now those following these hashtags will know that Wookie Jack is on tap and get to the bar ASAP before it kicks! And, I did all the work for them!

1. Post your daily tap list on Facebook. Customers want to know what you have for sale. And, this does not necessarily mean what’s on sale. People want to visit your business if you have they want. Now, craft beer drinkers always want to know what your tap list and on-deck list. A great craft beer marketing idea is to post your tap list daily to help increase the amount of customers coming through your door, spending more and getting them to come back quicker than planned.

Garrett 2312 Tap List

Feed your Facebook feed with daily photos and updates to keep your social community vibrant. Every Facebook post you make should include a photo with every to make sure you have a better chance to increase your message’s reach. (Note: Only 15% of your FB posts break through to your followers.) So, by empowering your beeristas (bartenders) to take a photo and upload it to your Facebook page. Regularly listing photos will get more of your craft beers promoted and more customers through your door!

This is important since it will keep your page up to date, use a photo to help your news feed reach more of your followers and most of all give me reason to check out your page, so I know what you have on tap … and maybe come back sooner!

Do you have ways that you have used hashtags, Instagram or Facebook to promote your craft beer bar? If so, please leave a comment below or reach out to me directly on You can also find me on Twitter @GerryMoran.

More Craft Beer Marketing Blog Posts

If you like this craft beer-marketing blog post, you might like these others:

If you read in between the lines, even after a few nice craft beers, you can see that these ideas for marketing a craft beer bar can apply to any small-, mid- or large-sized business! So think about embracing the hashtag, Instagram and updating your Facebook post on a daily basis to tap some of your potential business! Cheers and make sure to tune into the 2nd and 3rd part of this craft beer marketing series.