Stone Brewing Co. of San Diego, California – a very successful IPA craft brewing company – was looking to expand its operations east of the Mississippi. They decided that it was also a great way to spread the word about their IPAs, increase fans, and sales.
Stone Brewing is the 10th largest American craft beer producer. Their latest 74 million dollar project includes a brewery and large restaurant that will become a major tourist destination. Close to 300 new jobs will be created by a company that is very green, very hip, and dedicated to innovative craft beer and great food.
With hundreds of proposals and twenty states participating for their new eastern location, fans used social media sites like Facebook to show how much they wanted Stone Brewing to set up shop in their city. A quick look shows 33 individual Facebook pages that connect with the main Facebook page for the brewing company. Stone Brewing shared their product through festivals and events in locations that interested them. Fans posted pictures of the beer they’re consuming and shared their enthusiasm for gaining a Stone Brewing location in their hometown.
News spread, people who hadn’t tried the beer, bought it and customer base grew.
From time to time, Stone Brewing shared news about how the search was going. The company started with 40 site visits across the Eastern US. As they narrowed the search down to three finalists, the competition for each city grew more intense and a lot of positive news and PR was generated.
At the end of the search last week, the Brewing Co. crafted this video to showcase some of the cities and fans involved. It was launched with the PR news that Richmond, Virginia had won the search. The video helped spread the news as over a quarter of a million fans follow their updates on the main Facebook page alone. It also gave excited fans something cool to sum up the search and the results.
Acknowledging their Virginia fans, they’ve even promised to name a new beer created in Richmond, after the first-runner up, the city of Norfolk. It’s a fairly hip consolation prize. A craft beer company that is incredibly adept at creativity in the brewery used good doses of creativity with its marketing, too. They don’t let a chance go by to connect with existing and potential fans.
Founded in 1996, Stone Brewing creates 137 million in annual revenue. A new brewery is in development in Berlin, Germany and will be the first American craft brewery in Europe. While the US craft beer market earned $14.3 billion last year, it’s not as common a product for Europeans. We’ll have to watch as Stone Brewing’s savvy CEO Greg Koch and President Steve Wagner take their video newsletter style of communications to the old country. They’ve got a good chance to stand out there while adding new oomph to the German beer market.