3 action steps to help craft breweries sell beer online

A new and exciting sales opportunity is FINALLY here for breweries and cideries in North America. Depending on your state of operation, you’re now able to sell beer online, direct-to-customer.   

 
It’s another revenue stream, so it just makes sense. Why wouldn’t we sell our beer online? The margins are better when we sell our beer direct [-to-consumers].
— Cody Allmin, Port Moody Brewery

Read on for three action steps to help you get set up to sell beer online while remaining compliant.

Breweries in North America can FINALLY sell online, direct to consumers.

Breweries in North America can FINALLY sell online, direct to consumers.

1. Get online: sell beer directly to consumers and remain compliant

Since the inception of the three-tier system nearly 100 years ago, middlemen like distributors and retailers have been sandwiched between alcoholic beverage producers and their end consumers. It’s a system that generates tax dollars at each stage for state governments. The digital era brought big change on a global level but somehow the three-tier system has remained constant... until now.

Online marketplaces, like bevv.com, are cropping up—enabling Direct-to-Consumer (DtC) online sales that are fully compliant within this three-tier system, empowering you, the craft brewery (or cidery), to sell and ship directly to your beer-loving end consumers.

Previously, your website likely served the simple purpose of brand awareness, sprinkled with merchandise-to-order in a bid to monetize it. Thanks to the rise of these new online marketplaces, your site can now sell alcoholic produce—i.e. your primary products!—allowing you to convert lookers into buyers and directly impact your bottom line in a meaningful way.

Breweries who sell directly to consumers see considerably higher profit margins. In fact, DtC margins can be more than double those of sales through distributors.

Breweries who sell directly to consumers see considerably higher profit margins. In fact, DtC margins can be more than double those of sales through distributors.

2. Plan marketing initiatives: use digital marketing to sell beer online and measure ROI

With ecommerce, your digital marketing can actually click through to a direct beer sale, making it definitively measurable. And as they say, that which gets measured gets managed! Similar to what we covered in the Outshinery Playbook Vol. 3, experiment with different online marketing campaigns and use data to inform your future marketing efforts.

Here are some suggestions of channels you should focus on to sell your beer online:

Use social media to showcase your products to online shoppers.

Use social media to showcase your products to online shoppers.

Social media

Image-centric platforms like Facebook or Instagram allow you to showcase your products to online shoppers. When these clicks result in a sale, you’re able to directly measure the value of those platforms to help you understand where to best focus your efforts. It’s never been easier to see the literal value that each marketing channel brings to your business!

Google search and display ads

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) puts your advertisement on the Google Search Engine Results Page (SERP). Target prospective customers who are searching for products like yours (or your competitors!) and insert your ad at the top of their SERP.

Email

Build up your email list with past, current, and prospective customers. Email is a direct line to those who have literally opted in to receive such correspondence from your brewery or cidery. Email converts at the highest rate of any digital marketing channel, and a well-placed “Buy Now” button that links directly to your shop page has the potential to generate a great return, especially since email is (often) free to send.

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Free Download

For a more in-depth look at making the most of online sales for craft breweries in North America, download our guide, presented in partnership with Bevv, a direct-to-consumer marketplace for breweries and cideries.

3. Partner with Outshinery: stand out and sell more with great images

Visual content affects confidence in online purchases. 82% of shoppers feel more confident in purchases when an ecommerce site features compelling visuals. Breweries are known to get fun and creative with naming and packaging. Don’t you want to display your hard work with eye-catching visuals?

Put yourself in your consumer’s shoes. You enter a liquor store and there’s too much choice, so your eye gravitates towards the best-looking cans and bottles. In the online setting, where you’re competing with an even larger number of SKUs, your imagery is your product, and the only interaction a viewer has with your brand before buying.

No matter how you choose to market beer, high-quality visuals are crucial. This is especially true in the online space, where shoppers aren’t privy to tasting your products first or inspecting your labels up close.

Outshinery can equip you with high-quality visuals that’ll help drive online beer sales. Order a free test shot now and see your beer “photographed” the Outshinery way! No need to send us physical samples of cans or bottles (though we secretly wish we could taste your beer!). It’s fast, easy, and you don’t even have to leave the chair you’re sitting on.