Since the turn of the 21st century, the brewing industry has seen incredible growth, with even more expected in the future. With competition only getting more intense, separating your brand from the crowded field is essential for success.

Imagine yourself hanging out under a canopy with your colleagues at the next big beer festival. The weather is perfect, the smell of barbecue fills the air, and people are excitedly exploring the various display booths set up by local artists, local organizations and fellow beer vendors. Suddenly you begin to realize that there is no crowd in front of your booth; in fact, hardly anyone has taken notice of your display or marketing efforts. You spin around and see that your team members are wearing plain clothing, pouring beer into blank plastic cups, and trying to hand out an assortment of blank bottle openers and Koozies to new customers. It’s almost like you’re invisible to everyone!

OK, so maybe this isn’t the scariest nightmare you’ve ever had, but a lack of brand recognition can make you feel like a ghost especially at community events or even networking events. It’s not enough to simply brew and serve beer or just show up at special events and expect people to remember anything about your business or craft beer. In order to develop sustained awareness for your business, you need to be seen in as many ways as possible. One of the most affordable and effective marketing strategies to accomplish this is through branded products.

Why Branded Products Are Important to Your Craft Brewery

Why are branded products important to your business? Because the essence of your brand is how you ultimately connect with consumers, especially in the craft beer industry. David Ogilvy, a British businessman known as “The Father of Advertising,” once defined a brand as “the intangible sum of a product’s attributes.” The logos for global brands like Apple or Nike don’t have to explain themselves or spell it out for you; when you see them, you automatically know what makes them unique and what they represent. The craft beer industry is as competitive as ever, so your team needs to develop awareness for your brand and what sets it apart from others into your marketing campaigns.

Custom printed cups are an excellent place to start with your branding. When people show up to a festival, for instance, they can’t wait to try all of the different food and drink options and discuss their favorite discoveries with their friends. Unlike a blank cup, a cup featuring your logo will spark curiosity and invite a closer look into your craft brewing. If a customer takes your beer with them while exploring the rest of the event, a custom cup provides a compelling mobile advertisement that offers brand visibility to other potential customers and in turn with give you more business in the long run.

The utility of branded cups can also extend to your everyday business. For example, cities across the nation have been loosening open container laws in certain downtown areas, in part to support the local economy. If your local ordinances allow for this, custom printed plastic cold cups offer a convenient way to promote your brewery to people who are frequenting other nearby establishments in your community.

Neglecting your Brand-Identity

While custom cups provide an excellent starting point, other branded products are necessary to add to your marketing budget to remind customers of your business. Why are additional reminders necessary? According to a Nielsen study from 2017, our memory for advertisements can be short-lived. Nielsen tested the memorability of video ads immediately after consumers were exposed to them, and then tested it again the following day. They found that brand recognition among participants had fallen nearly in half overnight. The study suggests that consumers are quick to forget about unfamiliar brands they encounter. Perhaps more importantly, it also suggests that “practice (repetition) makes perfect – and can help create durable memories.”

How Branded Merch Can Help with Craft Breweries

So how can you create these enduring memories with customers? The answer lies in branded merch “swag” as it is affectionately known. Custom merchandise is a unique and long-lasting reminder of an experience associated with your brand. If you look around your work space or your house, you’ll likely find a branded pen, a sticker on your laptop, or even an old shirt from an event you attended years ago. This brand merchandise help to develop the repetition that makes your brand more familiar to people and have them remember your business over others.

Let’s go back to our beer festival scenario from earlier. Now imagine you and your colleagues decked out in custom t-shirts or even polo shirts. Not only does the uniformity of your group make you way more professional, you’ve also got something to offer everyone that stops by your display booth. Perhaps the most valuable aspect of a branded shirt is that a favorite one will linger in closets and dressers for years and may end up on social media pages even after the event. Most of us will wear our favorite branded shirt until it is tattered!

The same idea applies to custom printed hats. Many men and women have a favorite hat in their closet for various occasions, even just for covering up the occasional bad hair day. Whether your clientele prefers visors, baseball caps, or perhaps beanies for colder weather, these items offer a stylish way to develop customer loyalty to your brand. To top it all off, when a customer has settled on their favorites from your swag collection, you can complete their experience by handing them a tote bag in which to carry their new belongings. Not only do tote bags offer a little extra convenience, they’re also reusable in the future for anything from shopping trips to traveling giving your brewery marketing an even bigger leg up as this bag gets shown off to other places around the world.

Go Green

The role of branded merchandise or “swag” is paramount in creating enduring memories and establishing brand recognition for your brewery marketing strategy. These customized items, spanning from shirts and hats to tote bags, serve as tangible reminders of the unique experiences woven into your brand’s identity. They are the key to instilling the repetition required for brand familiarity, ensuring that your brewery stands out in a competitive market. Whether it’s the professional unity conveyed by a team adorned in custom attire, the treasured branded shirts that linger in closets for years, or the stylish hats that accompany various life moments, these items foster customer loyalty and forge lasting connections. Furthermore, the inclusion of reusable tote bags extends your brewery’s marketing reach, integrating your brand into customers’ daily lives and global adventures. In the ever-evolving world of branding, these tangible tokens of connection not only distinguish your brewery as a destination for great beer but also as a cherished and celebrated part of your customers’ unique journeys.

Have Fun with Your Brewery Marketing Strategy

Last but certainly not least, let’s talk about the element of enjoyment in your brewery marketing strategy. Amidst all the strategy and science that go into crafting a memorable brand, it’s crucial never to lose sight of one fundamental truth: the most important goal is to create a genuine connection with your customers. Yes, they come to your brewery for your exceptional craft beer, but what sets you apart and makes you one of their favorite brands goes beyond the brews of a good cold beer, but how you connect with these potential customers.

Imagine the smiles on your customers’ faces as they enter your brewery and are greeted by friendly staff members donned in branded attire, or the joy they feel when they receive a custom tote bag to carry their newly acquired treasures after just checking out your booth at a community event. It’s these intangible moments of connection and delight that leave a lasting impression.

Incorporate elements of fun and authenticity into your brewery marketing strategy. Share the behind-the-scenes stories of your brewery’s journey, showcase the personalities and passions of your team members, and engage with your audience in a light-hearted and approachable manner. Host events that encourage laughter and camaraderie, and consider creative and playful approaches to your branding and merchandise. Remember, it’s not just about the product; it’s about the experience and the emotional connection you create with your customers. When your customers associate your brewery with joy, warmth, and genuine enthusiasm, you become more than just a place to enjoy a good craft beer; you become a cherished part of their lives. So, in the midst of all your marketing endeavors, never forget to have fun along the way and let that joy shine through in every aspect of your brand.

While there is plenty of strategy and science behind building a memorable brand and all different kinds of marketing campaigns and strategies to use, creating a genuine connection with your customers is the most important end goal for your brewery marketing. People who frequent your brewery certainly love your beer, but it’s the intangibles – and what resonates with them – that make you one of their favorite brands.

The Lasting Impressions of Brewery Branded Products

In today’s fiercely competitive brewing industry, where standing out is essential for success, branded products have emerged as a vital tool for breweries to establish and maintain brand recognition. These products go beyond mere branded cups or merchandise; they encapsulate a brewery’s essence and serve as mobile advertisements, drawing attention and sparking curiosity at events like beer festivals. They play a crucial role in creating enduring memories, combating the fleeting nature of consumer advertising recall.

Branded merchandise, including custom attire, hats, and tote bags, fosters customer loyalty and keeps the brewery on top of your customers mind for years. Decking out your team in custom apparel not only conveys professionalism but also offers tangible connections to your brand especially during festivals where your booth is open to many new potential customers. And when you’re looking at other branded merch to add to your brewery marketing budget, custom shirts and hats that are connected to your brewery just may linger in closets and wardrobes as cherished reminders of positive experiences from your customers.

Ultimately, effective branding is not just about the beer itself; it’s about forging genuine connections with customers, making your brewery a beloved and memorable part of their beer-loving journey. And don’t forget that at Your Brand Cafe, we are here to help with all your custom printed branded merch, from custom branded cups for your craft beer to different types of merch for customers or even your entire staff, we’ve got the branded items you’ll want to give out at your brewery or events. Just contact us today and we can help you with your business and get you fitted with the best branded products for your brewery.


Megan is a 2022 graduate of the University of North Georgia with a Bachelor's degree in Digital Marketing. She currently works as a Content Marketing Specialist where she handles social media content creation, copywriting, and more. In her free time she enjoys cooking and exploring new cities.