Merchandise has become so important in the beer industry that some breweries will design and release t-shirts and hats long before the first fermenters are ever installed. To be sure, having the right merchandise can strengthen consumer bonds, raise outside awareness, and add to the company’s bottom line.
The expectations of merchandise have evolved over the years as more brewers are competing for not only tap and shelf space, but customer loyalty. It is no longer just enough to have a brewery logo on a simple t-shirt, trucker hat, or pint glass (although those can still sell well). The major merchandise suppliers have stepped up their offerings and printing capabilities to create a wide selection of offerings that could take some companies a lifetime to work through.
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So, when selecting what you will have on shelves and in the online store, look to items that represent your brand and will have form and function for the consumer and look beyond simply using your normal brewery logo.
T-shirts, Hoodies, and Other Clothing
Having all gender options should be first. The idea that a standard ringer t-shirt is antiquated. Having options for me and women is critical. Also investigate having limited edition shirts that chance with the season, use artwork from local (or in-house) artists and encourage staff to wear them during shifts to drum up interest. Customers are attracted to limited edition merchandise and use the brewery’s social media to push the exclusivity of the items.
Socks, jackets, and athletic ware like bike jerseys are popular and can help your brand reach new demographics of drinkers. If there is a sport or activity that your brewery is especially passionate about having clothing that first that arena will help forge a deeper connection.
Glassware and Drinking Vessels
Glassware remains a popular collectable that can help showcase a brand and keep it top of mind whenever someone reaches for a glass from the home cabinet. From stemmed options to tumblers, pub glasses, and the ubiquitous pint glass, there are endless options. Figuring out what you want a glass to convey is important. Is it sophistication with high-end glass and etched art, or everyday fun with colorful printed logos on a more hearty model. Different glasses work for different beers, so finding something that is best suited for regular offerings is important.
Also think about coffee mugs, camping mugs, and travel bottles adorned with logos. This helps keep the brand top of mind during those non-beer drinking times.
Just about anything can be printed, etched, or embroidered with a logo or art these days and finding merch, from pen knives to portable hammocks, headphones, and even coolers help raise brand awareness. The key is practicality. If you can convince a customer that the item is of quality and that your brand is something they want to support and flaunt, having gear can be a smart public awareness move as well as lucrative for the bottom line.
Alternative items also make for great supplier or account gifts and go beyond the stress balls, mousepads, or other junk that often gets tossed out as quickly as it comes in.
Spending just a little bit of time to think about merch needs and goals can reveal insight into a business