We're a small but mighty regional brewery in central Pennsylvania that's fighting alongside 6,000 other U.S. breweries for the attention of beer drinkers. These days, good beer is ubiquitous. It's differentiation that moves the needle, and one of the key ways we differentiate Tröegs is though the storytelling on our social media.
For this campaign, we focused on something we believe we do better than any of our competitors: pairing beer with food. Exploring the intersection of beer and food is part of the DNA of Tröegs.
Seven years ago, our founding brothers added a Snack Bar to our growing brewery to connect taste, experience and memory. The Tröegs brothers grew up in this area, and their childhood memories, favorite flavors and local ingredients are the jumping-off point for much of what we do. We also know that millennials and craft beer drinkers are increasingly pairing beer with food, so win-win.
For our fall Pairs Well With Now campaign, we wanted to share our beer-and-food-pairing philosophies to: (1) establish our fall beers as the most thoughtful and delicious guests at the table and (2) inspire beer drinkers to create food-and-beer experiences of their own. And while we do see potential for growth among our fans and followers, we wanted to use our thoughtful social media content and its distribution to pull in new customers, as well.
Pairing beer with food is not new, but we worked hard to differentiate our efforts. We didn't want to simply tell people what dishes to eat alongside our beers. That's what everyone else does, and that goes against the independent spirit that we – and many of our fans and target audience – live by. Because pairing is so subjective, we wanted to arm people with the tools and the knowledge they need to create pairings that perfectly suit their own palates.
To that end, we pursued a strategy of suggesting flavors, rather than complete dishes, to encourage beer lovers to experiment and discover their own approach to food pairing, leading to a much more memorable and meaningful experience than simply following a recipe. We pow-wowed with our executive chef and our brewmaster and got down on paper the ingredients and flavors that are complementary, contrasting and adverse to our fall beers. Then we asked them "why?"
Armed with the how and why, we created a multi-platform, multi-media library of content to tell the story of why Tröegs deserves a spot at the table, and we followed a distribution strategy of tease > launch > echo on our most-trafficked channels: Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. We teased the campaign with photography, launched with a hero video, then echoed through the life of the campaign with videos, photography and illustrations.
Key content: Video
We launched the campaign with a "hero" video produced, shot and edited in-house. This video brought our single-ingredient philosophy to life, showcasing a partnership with a specialty cheese shop, a trip to a local orchard for ingredients, our hand-crafted artistic aesthetic, and our own made-from-scratch kitchen. We ran the video as an ad on Facebook and Instagram for two weeks, targeting 21+ beer lovers and food lovers in our markets, whether they follow Tröegs or not, to hit our existing audience and to pull in new customers.
We echoed with a second and third video that honed in on individual focus beers and a single ingredient/flavor that paired well with them.
Key content: Photography/copy
We also echoed our message throughout the campaign with posts that featured beautiful photography of our beers alongside key ingredients/flavors. In the copy, we highlighted the 'why' behind our pairing philosophy. For example: "The sharp yet sweet butterscotch notes of aged gouda are the pitch-perfect foil to the sticky citrus and pine balm of Perpetual IPA."
Key content: Illustration
To add hand-crafted visual cues to our pairing philosophy, our in-house designer painted a series of watercolor Food Notes. The illustrations call out complementary flavors, contrasting flavors and adverse flavors. These were a huge hit on social, consistently being lauded for their beauty and utility. Our designer also created downloadable Tasting Mats calling out complementary, contrasting and adverse flavors. These were aimed at helping people create a-ha pairing experiences at home.
In terms of social media metrics, our Facebook posts saw 2.5 million impressions, and our average post impressions were up 10 percent year-over-year.
In terms of our ultimate goal, during this campaign, sales in each of our distribution regions was up, and 4 out of 5 of those regions were up more than 10 percent. In a climate where overall beer sales are declining and regional craft breweries like Tröegs are struggling to grow and to reach new customers, we were quite happy with those results.
We also got 35 campaign-related pickups from some of the top names in beer-and-food-focused Instagram accounts, penetrating new audiences and increasing our potential reach by nearly half a million people.
And our ongoing efforts to stake our claim at the table have led to some really valuable media pickups, including this in-depth article on our food-and-beer-pairing program in Paste Magazine: https://goo.gl/nAAqTm.
All in all, our #PairsWellWithNow campaign was a huge success, and we can't wait to go bigger and better this year. Thanks!