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Marketing and Branding Your Brewery

Offered: Spring and Fall

Marketing and Branding Your Brewery Syllabus

As competition within the beer industry continues to grow, branding and marketing play an even greater role in ensuring a brewery’s success. While it is important to make great beer, in today’s landscape you also need to know how to build your brand, establish a compelling “WHY” and effectively market your brand and products. This course will address key industry trends, identify “best-practices” in differentiating your brewery, reveal how to build a solid branding and marketing plan, and demonstrate how to measure success and plan for the future.

Participants will examine

  • Key opportunities and challenges in today’s beer/beverage marketplace
  • The craft beer drinker and his/her motivations
  • The role that marketing, branding and sales play and how they are interconnected
  • Basic requirements of a successful business/marketing plan
  • Positioning strategy in detail and how it influences all brewery decisions
  • Choices a new brewery faces in terms of packaging, distribution and pricing
  • How the principles of positioning and branding have been successfully applied to specific objectives (i.e. naming, rebranding, portfolio selection, taproom/brewery design)
  • How a brewery successfully promotes its brand and products
  • How events, sponsorships and promotions help to build valuable connections to the consumer audience
  • How to decide between self-distribution and a wholesaler partnership and the key criteria within each
  • How to evaluate the performance of marketing and branding activities
  • How to incorporate key findings into a marketing plan



Week 1: Trends in The U.S. Beer Market

Week 2: Trends in The Craft Category

Week 3: Basics of Marketing and Branding

Week 4: Brand Positioning Strategy

Week 5: Branding Examples (Part One)

Week 6: Branding Examples (Part Two)

Week 7: Marketing Execution

Week 8: Measurement and Research



Joel Hueston, M.B.A.
Director of Commercial Strategy, First Key Consulting Inc., Vancouver B.C.

Joel has 25+ years of experience in the brewing industry, including 20+ years with Molson and Coors Canada. Currently he leads the Commercial Strategy division for First Key Consulting, a major craft beer consulting firm. His recent brewery projects include over twenty craft start-ups with a focus on market assessment and analysis, volume projections and development of comprehensive marketing, sales and organizational strategies.

Michael Kallenberger, M.A. (Economics)
Brand and Commercial Strategy Consultant

Mike has over 30 years of experience in the beer business, with almost three decades at Miller Brewing Company followed by the last eight years as an independent consultant. An economist by training, Mike has spent most of his career in marketing, specializing in brand positioning and strategy, consumer insights, situation analysis, marketplace assessment, and interpretation of cultural and consumer trends. He’s a six-time speaker at the Craft Brewers Conference and he’s written seventeen articles for The New Brewer, the magazine of the Brewers Association. He has also taught Consumer Behavior at the University of Wisconsin.

Isaac Arthur
Partner & Designer, CODO Design

Isaac Arthur is a cofounder of CODO Design, an Indianapolis-based branding and web design firm founded on the belief that they can create better work by directly including clients in the creative process. Since 2009, he’s led branding efforts within the food and beverage industry, and spends most of his time traveling around the country helping to bring startup craft breweries and food artisans to market through foundational positioning and brand strategy, naming, package design, responsive web design, and environmental design.

Industry Guest Speakers

Hilary Cocalis, Vice President of Marketing, Ballast Point

Cody Fague, Partner & Designer, CODO Design (IN)

Derek Fernholz, Co-founder & Brewer, Fernson Brewing (SD)

Lester Jones, Chief Economist, National Beer Wholesalers Association

Tristan Schmid, Communications Director, Brewers of Indiana Guild (IN)

Jamie Smith, Brand Marketing Director, Firestone-Walker (CA)

Mitch Torbert, Graphic Designer, Fernson Brewing (SD)

Bart Watson, Chief Economist, Brewers Association

…and others

on the Blog

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“Hey, what is craft beer anyway? What’s the definition?” It’s a really good question. The answer is subjective, and I certainly have my own opinions.

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