How Eight Oaks markets an authentic farm distillery.

 The PA distillery shares 3 essential tips for marketing in the craft beverage industry.

The homegrown, farm-to-table, craft beverage movement has really “taken off,” as this week’s retired military pilot podcast guest tells us. Chad Butters may have spent 25 years as an Army aviator, but nowadays, his focus is more on the ground — on his grain crops, to be specific, since Chad is the co-founder and CEO of Eight Oaks Craft Distillers in Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania.

Eight Oaks is a farm distillery with a tasting room that attracts 8,000 guests a year for tours, tastings, cocktails, and more. Chad and his crew grow all of their grains and craft them into their exceptional spirits onsite. Home craftsmanship is a big part of how they market Eight Oaks. In this week’s episode, Chad shares 3 important tips for how to market a craft distillery brewery, winery, cidery — take your pick!), so tune in!

1. Use video marketing and behind-the-scenes sneak peeks

Chad knows that video is huge, especially in the craft beverage industry. Eight Oaks won an American Advertising Federation ADDY award for a video they produced in collaboration with Discover Lehigh Valley, their local destination marketing organization. The video conveyed the key marketing messages about the passion behind homegrown craft distilling and the story behind Eight Oaks’ name and founding. It was a perfect way to increase awareness and establish the distillery’s brand identity.

Discover Lehigh Valley actually rebranded the entire area through a video series called “Lift Your Spirits”, which you can hear about on our Zesty Podcast episode with Strategic Brand Manager, Alicia Quinn!

Beyond the aesthetics of production itself, video marketing reaches more people and is more engaging than other forms of advertising. One of the best things about creating video ads is that you can tailor them to each social media platform, breaking them down into smaller, more “digestible” teaser videos that encourage viewers to click through to your website, where they can view the full-length video and learn more about your brand.

Download our free 30-page guide for creating Wow-Worthy Videos to become a guest magnet!

Eight Oaks takes advantage of technology in their advertising when it comes to video as well. Chad claims he is beginning to see a resurgence with QR codes, and so they print QR codes on distillery brochures that will launch a video on a viewer’s phone that showcases how they make their spirits. All the viewer has to do is open their phone’s camera and snap a photo of the code.

As Chad points out, a lot of distillers who produce spirits every day don’t see anything video-worthy about the work they do, since it’s just another day’s work to them. In reality, a lot of people are interested in how their drinks are made, who’s crafting them, and where the product is coming from. Take advantage of the “behind-the-barrels” action happening everyday in your distillery, winery, or brewery to show your followers drinking enthusiasts how it’s made! (Hear how McClintock Distilling in Frederick, Md, also educates its consumer audience using behind-the-scenes videos!)

2. Participate in farmers and public markets

Never underestimate the power of getting out in your community and participating in events like public and farmers markets. Chad says getting out in front of people is a great way to make your company and brand more visible. It should be viewed as a marketing effort more so than revenue generation tactic. However, Chad says that ⅓ of Eight Oaks’ revenue actually comes from their participation in markets!

“The secret is pretty straight forward. It’s our crew going out and looking our customers in the eye telling them our story.”

Even if ⅓ of your revenue isn’t coming from farmers and public markets, they are still a great way to increase conversion rates. You might not be reaching people on a grand scale like you do with social media ads, but people are more likely to visit your tasting room if they come to your stall in the market, meet the people, and see the passion behind the product first.

Chad’s advice for markets? You need to find the right public or farmers market that fits your brand. He recommends you go to markets as a customer first. Meet some of the people showing their products. Then determine if your company and products would fit in.

3. Tell a great story

At the end of the day, people care less about what you’re selling and more about why you’re selling it. Show the love, hard work, passion behind what you do and convince people that your “why” is worth their money and time. If you can convince people you have good intentions and an inspirational story behind your spirits or craft beverages, they’re more likely to connect with your brand, buy from you again, and even become your brand advocates. Your story and how you tell it is what really matters.

About the guest: Chad Butters is a retired Army aviator and the co-founder and CEO of Eight Oaks Craft Distillers, a veteran-owned farm distillery in New Tripoli, Pennsylvania. 

Want more destination and attraction marketing insights? Find our most recent chats on the Zesty Marketing Podcast.

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