How Craft Breweries are using local partnerships to drive customer loyalty

Imagine this.

740 different brands, each producing 5-10 products from the same category.

Thousands of different designs, colours and flavour profiles, consumed by men and women, young and old, rich and poor, urban and rural.

A lot of different stuff for a lot of different people.

What separates and elevates one over the other and the leaders from the pack….

Beer, more than any product I can think of, is reliant on one thing; BRAND. 

The display of beers in a retail store, online, or from your photographic memory is exactly that; memorable.

Practical Branding

Brand helps people identify and differentiate your product from a long list of competitors. 

We can give you all the marketing jargon you like, but it just comes down to trust. 

Does a potential consumer trust that when they buy your product, they will know that (1) it tastes good, (2) it will be packaged properly, (3) they like the look of it, and (4) they can identify with it.

This can be said for any mass consumer-able and beer is no exception, so let’s get started.

Understand who your customer is

Craft Beer used to be a product almost exclusively consumed by middle to high-income males 21-44 years of age. This is changing… 21-34 year old women account for 15% of craft drinkers, up from 5% around 7 years ago.

83% of craft drinkers are between 18-49 years of age with half of them in their 30’s. 

They are local – 75% of legal age drinkers live within 10km of a brewery. 

Beer has been invaded by Craft, Micro, and Home Brewers literally everywhere you look, so

how do you differentiate yourself in a highly crowded marketplace?


Differentiating you from the next product is all about how you position yourself; What your beer tastes like, how it is packaged and how you talk about it in public.

This is why consumers will buy Beer A over Beer B and why patrons will tell their local to stock you.

You’re probably saying to me “this is stuff I already know, but we’re small, have no budget, are super busy and are barely making ends meet as it stands.”

The response…. two classic colloquialisms

You can walk and chew gum at the same time; and you need to run before you walk.

Start local, gain market share and expand.

  1. Own your local drinkers first – Getting involved in community organisations. Being known to local sports clubs, pubs, bottle shops locally. Where you focus your distribution in the early part of your journey.
  2. Build social proof – Social proof builds trust for your business. When people see others that they trust enjoying your product, they are more likely to become customers themselves. Ways to achieve this is to get local influencers to become brand ambassadors or partners, share imagery and videos of these trusted influencers in your advertising and partner up for events.
  3. The third option is to put your brand on steroids is to use someone else’s brand, via strategic or commercial partnerships. Business partnerships have been a proven method of growth for millions of companies around the globe for years.
    For breweries, partnerships and getting involved in their local community have been key to their growth.

Business partnerships connect you with existing companies/communities that have the tools and audience you need for growth. 

The long and short of it is that unless you have millions in the bank and can afford it, you will need to be smart and leverage the capital you have.

Here is a list of ways you can partner up and get your brand out to new audiences.


1. Local sports club partnerships

A simple partnership you shouldn’t overlook is your local sporting clubs.

People love to support their local businesses and becoming active in the community drives loyalty and brand awareness.

Ways to get involved in these local clubs can include providing the club with beer at a discounted rate for the clubrooms and the takeaway beers.

2. Micro social media influencers

Influencers come in all shapes and sizes.

You don’t have to fork out a pretty penny to have someone with a large audience to endorse your products.

A way that smaller craft breweries can get involved with influencers is to go after smaller, local influencers (better known as Micro-Influencers) and partner up with them.

Send them freebies each month to share on their socials so they can go off and share your brand with their audience.

These influencers won’t charge as much or are sometimes happy with just freebies alone. 

Having a good handful of these guys to partner up with will do wonders for your brand’s awareness and will get your beer into the hands of hundreds of new customers.

3. Event Partnerships

Partnering up with local events is another way you can leverage off an existing brand’s audience.

Look for events in areas you are looking to bring your brand to.

Sponsoring these events and providing them with your product is a great way for people to enjoy an event and taste your beer.

4. Charity Partnerships

Partnering up with a charity is a great thing for your business on many levels.

  1. It builds relationships with your community, you no longer are just a brand they purchase from, but you are now a member of their local community.
  2. It increases your market reach. There is a reason why some of the biggest companies in the world, including Microsoft, Apple and Google, have invested heavily in philanthropic projects. These brands have realized the power of giving and how investing in communities helps put their names out there.
  3. And most importantly, giving back to the community helps create a better community for everyone. Although this may not show on your company’s bottom-line straight away, creating a better environment is a great way to ensure your brand’s longevity.

Getting started in these types of partnerships will lead to larger ones down the track. 

If you need some inspiration of what’s to come, check out these 4 examples of partnerships that have been done by some of Australia’s larger craft breweries.


4 Pines Brewing Co – Sporting Club/Community Partnerships 

4 Pines Brewing Co is now the official beer of the Australian Men’s Cricket Team.

4 Pines has grown from a Brew Pub in Manly into one of the biggest craft brewers in Australia. 

Part of their success has to do with them building connections with local communities and then expanding around Australia. 

This new partnership with Cricket Australia will help them get into the hands of thousands of new drinkers who support and watch cricket. 

Torquay Beverage Company – Influencer Partnerships

Torquey Beverage company has partnered with popular social influencers, The Inspired Unemployed.

The two Australians, Matt Ford and Jack Steele, who operate as The Inspired Unemployed have over 2.5 million followers across multiple social media platforms.

Together with Torquey Beverage Company, will release the Better Beer Company, which is a zero-carb craft beer. Putting this new beer in front of 2.5 million eyes on it’s launch.

4 Pines Brewing Co – Product Partnerships

4 Pines Brewing has joined forces with the ice cream legends from Ben & Jerry’s, putting their iconic Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough flavours into a beer.

But it’s not all about indulgence. The 4 Pines project will give back to Australia’s first community-owned power company Enova. Through Eno
va, Ben & Jerry’s and 4 Pines will support a solar installation for a community group. 

Enova will be seeking expressions of interest from community groups who are interested in receiving funding for solar installations from this partnership.

Spinifex Brewing – Charity Partnerships

Spinifex Brewing Co.’s mission is to raise funds for Veteran Mental Health

With a royal commission just announced to examine the appalling statistics of veteran suicide, Veteran mental health is now front and center in the Australian psyche.

Spinifex’s F88 Lager will be donating 50% of profits to Queensland Veterans Mental Health charity, Trek2Health.