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 barbeque fills the air, and people are excitedly exploring the various display booths set up by fellow 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. 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. 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. 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. 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 ways to accomplish this is through branded products.
Custom Safety Seal on White Take-Out Container
Why are branded products important to your business? Because the essence of your brand is how you ultimately connect with consumers. 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 beer industry is as competitive as ever, so your team needs to develop awareness for your brand and what sets it apart from others.
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. 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.
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.
Custom Safety Seal on White Take-Out Container

While custom cups provide an excellent starting point, other branded products are necessary 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.”

Custom Safety Seal on White Take-Out Container

So how can you create these enduring memories with customers? The answer lies in branded merchandise or “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. These types of branded items help to develop the repetition that makes your brand more familiar to people.

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. Most of us will wear one 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.

Branded Disposable Cups
Last but not least, don’t forget one of the most important aspects to effective brand marketing: have fun with it! While there is plenty of strategy and science behind building a memorable brand, creating a genuine connection with your customers is the most important goal. 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.

Drew Thomas

Drew Thomas is a graduate of Georgia College & State University, where he earned his Bachelor's Degree in English Literature. He is an expert in brand marketing and has experience in freelance writing on topics ranging from sports to music reviews. He has also spent time as an editor, having revised website copy and press releases for local businesses. In his free time, Drew enjoys performing music, reading, hiking, and spending time with friends.