11:38pm

Mon May 20, 2013
Craft Beer

New Ads For New Belgium Signal Growth, Outreach For New Craft Fans

Growing by leaps and bounds, New Belgium Brewing is set to launch a new television ad campaign, the company’s second ever.

With the new national campaign, how can New Belgium, or any craft brewer for that matter, keep its ‘crafty-ness’ while still expanding across the country?

According to New Belgium’s Bryan Simpson, this is the first TV advertising campaign for the brewery in eight years. “We did our first television campaign around 2005, the Tinkerer, directed by Jake Scott,” said Simpson.

“This round, directed by Stacy Peralta, really drives home the story of who we are and how we got here. It's a beautiful piece of work and we're very excited about it,” said Simpson. Gone is New Belgium’s 2005 slogan ‘Follow your Folly.’ The brewery’s new 30 second TV spot highlights a new one, “Pairs well with people.”

Filmed on location in the Fort Collins brewery, employees are used in all of the ads. According to the brewery, the TV spots will air in 12 markets nationwide.

Simpson says this time the brewery is trying to expand into many different mediums, including social networks. “The idea with this campaign is to try an interesting media mix – web, broadcast, mobile and social – and reach out to beer drinkers who are new to craft beer or just finding out about it,” said Simpson. “We feel like there is a great deal of potential in bringing new fans to craft beer who are currently still looking for a better beer experience.”

Simpson says the company’s ad campaigns have been steadily growing since the mid 1990’s when the brewery starting sending out ‘postcoasters.’ “Early days it was mostly events and point of sale but by '97 we hired our first designer and started to place ads,” said Simpson. New Belgium still produces those ‘postcoasters,’ but they now place ads in the bigger lifestyle magazines as well. Think titles like Rolling Stone. Or beer trade magazines.

Paul Gatza, director of the Brewers Association, says New Belgium is the only brewery besides Boston Beer (maker of Samuel Adams Boston Lager) that would qualify as a national advertiser. In an e-mail, Gatza says despite the new campaign, New Belgium remains a small craft brewery. “A craft brewer is small, independent and traditional. New Belgium makes less than ½ of 1 percent of the beer in the country.” Gatza says New Belgium could ‘multiply by six or seven times’ and still fit the craft brewery definition.

Gatza says that passion for creating new beer lovers is a common denominator across the craft brewing world regardless of size.

He adds that every brew master and employee in the craft brewing world sets their own goals and reason for why they love craft beer. “For some a goal is not growth and market acceptance, they are in it for other reasons; for others, growth and market acceptance is a goal,” said Gatza.

According to its website, New Belgium produced 764,264 barrels of beer in 2012. It’s currently sold in 31 states including Washington, D.C. The company continues to expand market share, shipping beer to Alaska and Louisiana just this year with plans to enter Florida by the end of the year.

Simpson says New Belgium is the third-largest craft brewer in the nation, and the eight-largest brewery in the United States. However, despite all of that, they still remain crafty. “You can do a lot of cool and interesting things when you have resources,” said Simpson. “I think savvy consumers are interested in who makes their beer and our story is a remarkable one so we see nothing but upside for New Belgium and craft brewing as whole.”

Simpson notes that regardless of the size of the largest craft breweries, the industry is still less than 7 percent of the beer sold in this country. “There is plenty of room to grow,” he says.

You can see all of the new ads, which will run through Labor Day here.