What consumers want from breweries and bars through COVID-19

Recently released research from GlobalWebIndex sheds light on what consumers are after from brands during this global crisis – here’s now that’s relevant in the world of beer.

Through the Coronavirus pandemic, research company GlobalWebIndex have been surveying consumers across the world to assess their reactions – fears, concerns, changes in behaviour and general attitudes. While there’s a few ways that consumers can help out their local breweries, bars and bottle shops, I’ve looked closely through their most recent release and it seems as though there’s some key learnings that the world of beer – breweries, bars, bottle shops and more – can take from their side:

  1. People are concerned about their personal finances – but not as much as you might think
  2. Online shopping is key, but combine it with other online activities for maximum impact
  3. Insert your brand into other ways people are spending their time
  4. Nail your content – it’s not just about the product

Read on for more details and ideas…

People are concerned about their personal finances – but not as much as you might think

A longer-term trend to think about. People are clearly concerned about the future of their money, but in fact show more concern for the national economy more broadly right now. It’s something that is hard to predict (and I’m certainly no expert), but I don’t think it would be any surprise that there are and will continue to be repercussions to the economy.

Online shopping is key, but combine it with other online activities for maximum impact

People are obviously shopping more online, with 37% of consumers in the UK saying that they are spending a little or a lot more time doing so – probably not a surprise. About 8% of those say they are buying alcohol online more now (more likely to be aged over 25, male and earning higher incomes) and although that might sound small, it could represent up to 2 million people.

There’s an audience there – make sure you are promoting any online offering you have. On top of this, overlapping with some of the audiences spending their time in different ways (see point 3) may help to broaden the beer audience outside of this existing group. People are interested in cooking, so post a recipe and a beer to pair with it, or use as an ingredient – link directly to the beer on your website. Put together a pack of beers for sale and host a virtual tasting session or film viewing party.

Insert your brand into other ways people are spending their time

Other ways people are spending their time include more reading, time on social media, talking with friends & family, cooking, doing other hobbies and watching TV or using streaming services – how can you be part of these? You want people to come across your brand in their daily lives, either to grow awareness or act as a reminder, so the broader you can be the better.

Recommend your favourite books, films or series – maybe help people get to know your team by showing off their different interests (especially helpful if you are very small). Invite submissions of favourite books or films, or ask more crafty-minded followers to submit can art ideas and alternatives. Give followers materials to empower them to share their love of beer with family and friends. Now’s a great time to build relationships with your brand’s fans.

Nail your content – it’s not just about the product

Consumers do want to know what your response to COVID-19 is (and understand why you would communicate this) but they are also looking for more light-hearted news and content. While everyone is spending more time on their phones, reading news and scrolling through social media, they need a distraction from all the terrible news around the world.

So what can you show them that’s a bit different or more entertaining? Behind the scenes video of the brewery/bar on a normal day, or a tour while it’s empty? ‘The making of’ a certain beer? Design process or early versions of artwork? Understandably you might not want to post memes, but can you run a quiz or ‘guess the beer’ competition or poll? Name your next beer? A spot the difference post?

These are just a few ideas, but hopefully are some useful thought starters as you plan out your company’s activities over the next few weeks and months. I’d love to hear about any more ideas, what you’re doing, and try to help others along the way. Please share this list to anyone who might find it interesting.

Stay tuned for more analysis of news and trends, as well as beers!

How to help beer survive COVID-19

This is a difficult time for everyone. While we are all staying at home, the hospitality sector has been hit hard and pubs, bars and breweries are feeling it. If you are reading I hope that this doesn’t include you, but if it does know that you have my support and if this is a useful list, please share.

So how can you help? Here’s three ways:

1 – Support pubs and breweries through CAMRA’s Pulling Together campaign

CAMRA, in partnership with SIBA and Crowdfunder, have launched a campaign called Pulling Together (#PullingTogether) to raise awareness of the initiatives pubs and breweries are carrying out during the coronavirus crisis. Learn more here and join the Facebook group here to stay up to date with what’s going on, and help where you can.

2 – Buy directly from the brewery or pub

While it may be an essential item, the supermarket is not the only place to buy your beer. Many breweries sell their beer online, and with smaller breweries suffering the most now’s the time to order directly. So visit your favourite brewery’s website, order in your staying at home supply, and support their business in the process.

Many pubs are also launching delivery, food and/or drink, giving you another option for getting beer straight to your door.

3 – Spread the word

Tell your family. Tell your friends. Tell your neighbours (who may or may not be your friends). Share your love of beer with everyone you can, and get them involved in supporting businesses which need the help. Send them this list, and encourage them to share too if it’s something they also care about.

I know that there are sadly many businesses feeling the impact of COVID-19, not to mention those personally affected, and my heart goes out to all those that includes. We can get through this period together, and I hope that on the other side of it we will have learned the importance of community and mutual support.

An important bonus

Donate beer to NHS staff to thank them for their incredible work with Brewgooder.

First post & Instagram beers

It was while I was watching the Super Bowl in February 2018, drinking from a box of American beers I had got in specially, that I posted my first Instagram pic through @craftynumber, but my interest in trying new beers had started a while before. It goes back to a trip to Edinburgh and in fact a slightly different alcoholic drink, whiskey! Going on a whiskey themed ride explaining how the drink is made, followed by a tasting flight of the four main types really opened my eyes to how different one drink could be. What followed was a number of different whiskeys bought for me or by me and after straying into the world of wine in the same way, I found my natural place in the world of beer.

In beer terms, I was always a typical lager drinker coming through the teenage years, as I’m sure many readers are familiar with. Into university, it was then about price more than anything, with Carlsberg the beer of choice in the student unions and their rather entertaining £1 pint evenings. It was never something I truly enjoyed the taste of, but as you do, drank away… other than a brief dabbling with cheap cider in my second year of university, basic lager was it for me. A few years later, I came to terms with Guinness and my horizons were broadened!

Looking at the craft beer world from the outside, it’s completely baffling. A load of words you don’t understand, hipster men with beards and tattoos but some very attractive looking cans and bottles. I think it’s easy to be put off, especially with some of the snobbery hanging around the beer world – people looking down their noses at lagers and everyone who drinks them, paying over the odds for the supposedly rare beers in smaller glasses. Some places seem to think that writing ‘craft beer’ on their windows, shop fronts and menus means they can bump up prices and cash in on that crowd. What it in fact seems to do is scare people into paying too much for beer they don’t necessarily like the taste of, or understand what they’re buying.

I’ve made a conscious choice to try as many different types of beer, from as many different breweries as possible. I want to understand the differences between them, and why one tastes more hoppy, malty, sour or sweet than another – so I know better what I like and where to find it. If you feel out of your depth looking at a menu of beers you’ve never seen before, at least knowing what you like can help you pick one out that won’t feel like a waste of money. However as anyone out there who’s had the same experience can attest to, you do get the occasional dud…

My way of documenting what I’m trying has been through Instagram, @craftynumber – give me a follow if you haven’t already! Take a look at what I’ve been drinking, if you’ve had them then let me know what you thought, and if there’s anything you’ve had that you loved then I would be very grateful for your recommendations! 

I’ve been meaning to start writing like this for a while, but never found the time. After an extra boost of willpower I find myself typing, finally! Plan is to be a bit retrospective at first, catching up with some of the beers I’ve been trying, and maybe talk a bit about my experiences buying and trying beers over the last few months. I hope you read and enjoy, and I’m always happy to see any comments. Thanks for reading, and cheers!