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Not All Craft Beer Fans Are Created Equal

With over 8000 breweries nationwide, there’s never been more craft beer fans. But, while they’re united by their love of beer, we can’t lump all these fans together.

There’s levels of beer fandom, and even then, each of those levels has sub-levels within it. All of them have unique tastes and lifestyles that beer plays a role in.

As marketers, a one-size-fits-all solution might work and work well. But being aware of the differences between groups of fans and using them to inform strategy and tactics can lead to even more success.

Below we dive into and define each segment, with some beginning notes on how to reach them effectively.

Hardcore Craft Beer GeekHardcore Craft Beer Geek

These are your hardcore fanatics. The hazebois. The pastrybois. The crispy boi lovers. (Don’t know these terms – this ain’t your group.) They live and breathe beer, and probably have it tattooed on their body somewhere.

They’re no stranger to line-life, were on Untappd before it was cool, and started Instagram accounts dedicated solely to their craft beer adventures.

They’re a noisy bunch who are usually in first on trends, sometimes even dictating them. They’re fueled by the latest releases from the hype breweries and trade porch bombs on the reg. Their beer fridges are a thing to behold.

Most importantly, they’ve got money to spend, and craft beer is right at the top of their list. They’re finicky about what they choose, and their loyalty is hard-earned, but when they like you, they’ll champion with both their wallets and their recommendations to others.

How To Reach Them:

Be where they are, speak their language and put out beers that will get their attention.

Craft EnthusiastCraft Enthusiasts

This group also LOVES beer, but don’t take it to the all-encompassing level as the Hardcore group. Their life isn’t all about it, but it’s definitely at or near the top of their interests.

They love exploring the craft beer scene. Their weekends frequently included brewery trips, and nothing beats finding and trying new beers. They follow trends and the latest offerings, but they’re also loyal to who they like.

When traveling, they seek out local breweries to visit and bring beers back with them. They post about their craft beer adventures on social media. They’re on Untappd and have a healthy check-in list.

They frequent beer festivals, happy hours and have their favorite craft beer bars. While they don’t necessarily line up for new beer releases, they have their favorite beer shops, and regularly (1-2 times a week) stop in to see what’s new and pick up something so they always have great brews to sip on at home.

How To Reach Them:

Take them behind the scenes, share the stories behind the beer and keep them in the know with what’s going on and what’s coming up.

Craft FansCraft Fans

This group definitely enjoys a good beer, but it might be the third or 4th thing listed on their Insta profile. They know they like beer, and they know the styles of beer they like, but they’re just as happy enjoying their favorites as they are trying something new.

They go out to the bar, but it’s infrequent, and usually driven by getting together with friends. However, their first suggestion about where they should go is their favorite beer bars, and they explore the tap list when they’re there for something new they might like. If they don’t find it, they’ll fall back to their favorites.

This group occasionally posts about beer on their social media accounts, but typically it’s group shots with their friends at the bar. They may have Untappd or another beer app, but don’t check in frequently.

They stop by the beer shop or distributor to pick something up once or twice a month. Beer’s not a staple in their house, but they like having it around, and don’t mind spending a little extra for something good.

How To Reach Them:

Peek their curiosity with what’s going on and entice them with new offerings and things to do to draw them in.

Craft CuriousCraft Curious

This group knows they like beer, and wants to try new and different beers, but they don’t know where to start.

The breadth and depth of craft beers intimidates them a bit. They want to experiment and explore, but they need guidance. More often than not, they stick with their staples – a favorite style or specific beer they know they like.

They don’t really post about beer on their social media. They might have Untappd or RateBeer, but use it for research purposes rather than broadcasting what they’re drinking. They frequently pick the brains of the Craft Enthusiasts and the Hardcore Geeks to find something they might like.

Occasionally, they buy beer at the store, and it’s usually a beer they know they’ll like. In some cases, they might not necessarily be able to afford the newest craft beer, but know they’d like to try it.

When they go to beer bars, they stick with what they like unless they’re with someone who knows craft beer, and will listen to their recommendations.

How To Reach Them:

Education, Education, Education. Done in way they can relate to.

Craft Refuser

Craft Refusers

Nope. This group doesn’t get the hype about craft beer. To them, a beer’s a beer – and it doesn’t go passed that.

They’ve been drinking the same beer or group of beers for a while and only stray from the stable when those beers aren’t available.

Social media posts? No. Craft beer bars? Nope. Untappd? What’s that? They’re on auto-pilot when beer shopping, and don’t even look at the tap list at restaurants.

While they’re not craft beer fans, they’re good to be aware of, because they’re certainly aware of you.

How To Reach Them:

Don’t. Just don’t piss them off.

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