This past October we worked with the F.X. Matt Brewing Company (makers of Saranac) on a new approach to a product launch. Instead of a traditional PR blitz, we wanted to give bloggers who are passionate about craft beer the chance to taste Saranac’s 12 Beers of Winter as well as treat them to a gourmet meal and private brewery tour. After all, most of us rely on word of mouth and peer reviews as a major factor when making purchasing decisions, so by reaching out to top craft beer bloggers, we hoped that they would spread the word about the new products using Social Media channels rather than traditional media publications.
Bloggers were selected based on their engagement, quality of content, and location. A great deal of attention was also paid toward bloggers who represented a niche (Kosher Beers, for example) as well as those who used a variety of social platforms to distribute their message (Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, etc). The bloggers that were chosen weren’t under any obligation to write favorably about their experience. We knew that Saranac brews great beer and that the evening would provide some great content and exclusive access that their readers would enjoy.
Selected members of the craft brewing blogger community as well as a small amount of trade media writers throughout the northeast were invited to the F.X. Matt Brewery for an exclusive tour, tasting, and gourmet dinner with beer pairings that highlighted each of the beers in the pack.
Guests were allowed (and encouraged) to bring video recorders or laptops to the event for documentation purposes. They were under no obligation to write or blog favorably about the experience, but we hoped they would give an honest account of the event and their personal impressions of each of the beers.
Results: Each of the bloggers that were guests of the Brewery expressed their enthusiasm in that they had never been reached out to personally by any craft brewery or given this type of experience. Blog posts about the event were generated by each of our guests, and mostly broken up into multiple parts, extending the life of that content. In addition to print blogs, a 20 minute podcast and YouTube videos also were posted about the event and the beers.
The content that was posted by each blogger was also highlighted by Saranac through their official Social Media channels and echoed by other consumers of craft beer through re-tweets on Twitter, Facebook posts, comments and links back to the Saranac official website. More importantly, Saranac was able to build relationships with those who are writing and blogging about craft beer every day as well as authentically and transparently let the online community spread the word that Saranac is Great Beer.