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Craft Brewers, Wineries and Distillers Online Go-To-Market Strategy Evolves

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By Jon Reynolds

E-commerce is slowly taking hold in the craft beer, wine and distilled spirits industries. Too bad, it took a full-blown pandemic to make it happen. The alcohol producers have always been challenged by online distribution, especially direct-to-consumer (DTC) transactions, for a variety of reasons that range from antiquated state laws, three-tier system regulations and a general slowness in consumers to adapt to the e-commerce channels.  This all changed with COVID-19.

Before the pandemic, many craft beverage companies were just selling branded retail merchandise online. Now, it seems like every craft brewery, winery and distillery has seamlessly begun to sell their alcoholic beverages across many states by switching up its POS for e-Commerce. Many started with curbside pick-ups, but moved quickly to delivery and shipping, as the pandemic hit their respective states. With the shutdown of the on-premise business, many craft beverage producers worked with their state legislatures to get antiquated laws changed, so they could continue to build their brands and hang onto their valued customers. With Uber acquiring Drizly in early February for $1.1 billion, the bar has been raised on how the online go-to-market strategy will be enhanced. Drizly expects 20% of off-premise alcohol purchases online within the next five years, compared to less than 2% in 2020.

Now that the competition for the online customers has heightened, how do small craft beverage businesses make sure their customers remember their brands?  Plus, how do breweries reach new customers?

Here are the Top 16 Tips for Craft Brewers, Wineries and Distilleries to build their online marketing efforts, that drive delivery and curbside sales:

1. Create a Unique Selling Proposition (USP) for your brand

What makes your brand stand out, who are your targets, how are you different from the competition and what words best describe your brand?

2. Introduce “Click & Connect”

Add “Click and Collect” to your website ensures easy pick-ups for your customers with hassle free payments and no delivery charge. Ask your customers to text or call for orders and confirm their orders via online payments.

3. Be ready for “Voice To Text” conversionMan using cell phone voice assistant

Voice To Text has already become popular with products by Google and Amazon. By 2024, the global voice-based smart speaker market could be worth $30 billion. (source: Quoracreative)

4. Collaborate With A Reliable Retailer (Store or Restaurant)

Here’s how it could work. To stand apart from your competition, provide an experience and covenience to your consumers. Partner up with a retailer so consumers can order wine/beer/spirits with food.

5. Use Directories and Listings

Online Directories are a great way to spread the word online and make your product/service visible in your neighborhood. List your winery/brewery/distillery on, an online portal for the alco-bev industry to grow their delivery and curbside pick-up sales.

6. Up-Sell and Cross Sell

Ecommerce techniques like cross selling and up selling can be used by wineries, breweries, distilleries to increase the value of a sale. Upselling encourages customers to spend more than what they spent before.

Cross-selling invites customers to buy related or complementary items.

online ordering of beer7. Email Marketing is still a smart method

According to Statista, global email users are expected to grow to 4.3 billion in 2022. Email Marketing still remains one of the most popular profit-generating sources.

8. Personalized Marketing can be a focus

Doesn’t it feel good when you visit your local bar and the bartender knows your favorite drink? That’s personalization. When you know your customer so well that they feel valued and know that they’re important to your brand.


Ready for more? Look for the next eight tips in our Top 16 Tips for Craft Breweries, Wineries and Distilleries to build an effective online marketing strategy next week.

We’ll review Live Chat, Influencers, Payment Methods, and more.


Jon Reynolds of BrewPlan, Inc.
Jon Reynolds of BrewPlan Inc

Jon Reynolds is the founder of Brewplan, a strategic marketing advisor to craft brewers, craft distilleries, boutique wineries, and a Certified Instructor in the UVM Business of Craft Beer Professional Certificate Program. He writes about business trends, beer consumers, distributor issues, legislation that affects craft brewers, marketing tools, and strategic planning to improve brewery profits.



Views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author who has spent more than 40+ years in the beer, wine and spirits industry and are provided for informational purposes only.  The information set forth reflects the author’s opinion of current trends in the industry and should be researched further to make your own business conclusions.