When having a great product just isn’t enough

I’m gonna let you in on a little secret, I’m kind of a beer snob. Always have been.

In college, when most of my friends were buying 30 packs of Keystone Light for $10.00, I mostly bought 6-packs of Yuengling for $5.99. Yes, in the early 2000’s, you could really buy 30 beers for $10 bucks. They didn’t call it ‘thirty stones for ten bones’ for nothing.

Side-story: A guy who lived in my hall freshman year was such a big fan of Keystone Light, he wrote a letter to the company and complained after they changed their slogan from “Always smooth, never bitter” to just “Always smooth.” He actually got an apology letter back from the head of marketing with a full explanation of the change.

If you can create loyalty like that, you’re golden.

So as you’ve probably noticed, in most states, non-essential businesses are completely shut down. And yeah, states like Montana and South Dakota pretty much never shut down to begin with, but let’s be honest, there’s not much there anyways.

And of course, restaurants have taken a massive hit. Those mom and pop places who don’t do take-out or delivery options are completely shut down.

Those who are open are losing a good chunk of their margins due to delivery apps like Door Dash and Grub Hub.

But even though I believe most of this will be short-term, companies are either adapting or bracing for impact.

I saw a perfect example of this at the closest grocery store near me. There were 2 guys behind me in line and they couldn’t stop licking their wounds.

They were either complaining about their hours getting cut or they were completely furloughed, and just wringing their hands about what’s going to happen next.

As they were having their own pity party, a cash register near us opened up, and some old guy behind them whizzed right by and proceeded to checkout immediately. And these poor suckers didn’t even know what happened.

Here’s a pro-tip. If a pandemic ever hits us again, go to smaller markets or deli’s to buy groceries. Their staff actually prevent customers from hoarding. These were the first places I saw that were stocked with toilet paper again. I also saw a cashier stop a “Karen” boomer from stocking up dead in her tracks. You won’t get that at Wal-Mart or even regional supermarkets. Their employees just don’t care and the general population completely floods those places.

Anyways, back to talking about beer. Similar to restaurants, some breweries are really hurting right now. Stone brewery in San Diego laid off a good third of its staff. Tap rooms across America are closed and a good chunk of their staff are furloughed until further notice.

However, there’s a newer brewery near me called Frog Alley that opened up its doors about 2 years ago. And even though it’s still wet behind the ears, here are some of the things they’ve done since quarantine.

  • They started local home delivery. You can send an order via email or website and have your beer delivered in less than 24 hours
  • Instead of local concerts, they hold Facebook live sessions where they have musicians play free concerts
  • They made their own hand sanitizer and donated a ton of it to local hospitals and clinics

And the funny thing is I don’t even think their beer is the best in town. It’s still good, but there are breweries near me that sell way better tasting beer.

But the difference between the places that make A+ beer and Frog Alley is the latter really knows how to promote themselves. Granted social media is not my preferred marketing method, but they’re at least constantly cross-promoting their platforms and cross-selling different opportunities.

Meanwhile other breweries are literally just bracing themselves for impact.

They’re not trying anything new or delivering their beer to anyone. They’re just merely existing and holding their breath until the rest of society re-opens.

So in most cases, it’s not hard to adapt. You just have to keep your eyes open. There’s a bunch of breweries now that will ship beer to you directly regardless of where you live.

But for God’s sakes, whatever you do, make sure it includes developing and promoting to an email list.

John

Write emails that don’t get ignored with my guide: Email List Loyalty