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Five Tips for Authentic Storytelling for Your Brand

News flash, folks - It’s no longer good enough to simply say, “our beer is really good and we think you’ll like it.”

From big cities to small towns, there’s a lot of quality craft beer out there. What are you doing to make sure that your brand stands out? (No, we’re not talking social media posts with lots of flash.)

The key takeaway and need from today’s consumer, especially younger millennials and Gen Z beer drinkers, is that they want to know who you are and why they should choose you. Are you being authentic in your brand’s storytelling?

What is brand storytelling? And why does it have to be authentic?

Your brand’s storytelling takes place in many places - your website, your social media, the mouths of your distributors, and your own team. Beyond asking the basic questions, like “is our brand’s voice cohesive?” or “did we make sure to post what’s on tap this week?” you should be asking “is this authentic to who we are as a brewery?”

Don’t. Panic. We’re the experts in this, and we talked with some experts on this exact subject, too. We’ve got a short list of brand storytelling examples to help you get started. (And don’t worry - if you’re looking for a brand storytelling agency, we’re also right here and can help out at any time. Let’s have a beer.)

1. What is authenticity in craft beer branding?

To put it plainly - no BS. Don’t oversell, don’t lie, and don’t do things that aren’t “you” to try and sell your beer. For example, if your brewery wouldn’t play Taylor Swift, don’t feel pressured to post a T Swift meme because everyone else is doing it (also, don’t post images you don’t own rights to! That’s a quick way to get T Sued.)

If you find yourself easily explaining what your brewery does and why it’s unique to friends over dinner, you can easily do the same thing with your brand’s storytelling. Why you? Why not the brewery down the street? Keep it real and true to who you are - people can tell if you’re being honest with them. The more you press to be something you’re not, the more likely you are to lose customers who can’t follow who you say you’re trying to be.

2. Why is it essential to “be authentic” in my brewery’s storytelling?

It’s important to be true to who you are, especially in a field as saturated as craft beverage. By sharing your business’s story with the world, you’re essentially explaining to them why they should choose your product.

Is your brewery veteran-owned? Is it co-owned by you and your sister? Do you donate a portion of sales to an awesome nonprofit down the street? Are you only brewing lagers (and winning awards for it)? These are the things you should not only tell people, but explain the why behind it.

Maybe you fell in love with a certain beer style while deployed.

Perhaps you and your sister loved craft beer because your dad worked at a brewery growing up.

It could be that you donate to that awesome nonprofit because you used to work there and you love their mission.

You might just be brewing lagers because you noticed there’s an IPA on every corner and you wanted to have something refreshing all year round.

See? All of those are authentic responses beyond just the “we do X, Y, and Z.” It’s “we do X, Y, and Z because of A, B, and C.” And that’s your brand’s authentic story. People want to know why you’re doing it so they can decide if they align with that reasoning, too. And chances are, by sharing it with others, you’ll learn quickly that your brand resonates with them.

3. What role does storytelling play in my brewery’s brand identity?

Branding and storytelling go together like craft beer and salty pretzels - they’re best friends! By knowing who your brand is, you’re going to be able to tell your story like no one else can.

This goes beyond social media posts and your beer can labels! We’re talking about how your staff talks about how they found their way to you, how your sales team is pushing your core lineup, and how your regulars talk about you when they’re outside of your four walls. You can’t be there for every conversation, so how are you ensuring that your brand’s identity is being shared?

The key element of a brand story is knowing who your brand is and drawing that line in the sand…which also means you know who your brand is not, and that’s very okay! Maybe you’ll never make a pastry stout. Hey, maybe you’ll make a lot of pastry stouts. And knowing why that is, what your reasoning is, how you’ll share that with the world - that’s the storytelling. It’s authentic, and it’s all yours.

4. How can I authentically engage beer drinkers that I want to be drinking my beer?

This is something we love to recommend to folks who are doing something you may not get to do very often as a brewery employee - sit. at. the. bar. 

Sit at the bar - what are people talking about? Specifically, what are they talking about after their first sip of beer? Are they speaking about the flavor? Does it remind them of so-and-so’s beer on the other side of town? Do they usually not like that style, but they picked it from the name?

Try this out at your own brewery, and try this out at other breweries you admire. Find out how other people are talking about drinking beer, and be the nerd who takes notes (don’t worry, you can do it on your phone so no one knows!) By taking the time to listen to consumers, you’re going to find out what questions they have and what they’re looking for in a beer. Then, share how your brewery can answer those questions and give them what they’re looking for. Write about it on social. Send it in an email blast. Put it up on your website. Shoot a brand storytelling video with some super cool professionals who can showcase your brand in ways you’ve never imagined. By sending yourself out into the world to find out what the heck people want, you’ll be able to respond to them authentically by saying, “my brand is what you want!”

5. How can I apply authentic brand storytelling to my brand?

By all the ways listed above!

Kidding. Kind of.

By working through the questions above, hopefully you’ve triggered some new thoughts on how to share your brand’s story.

But another important note (as shared in the video of panel experts) is that you can mean everything to a certain group of people or nothing to a large group of people. Why not make a gigantic difference to a smaller group and build loyal fans who cannot stop bragging on your brand? If you’ve ever experienced anyone in the wild talking about your brewery, you’ve felt that twinge of hope and pitter-patter of excitement. Do the work that makes that happen. The best storytelling brands are doing this every day - who says you can’t join them?

So... What's your brand story?

To wrap up, all of the above examples are showcasing the ways you can look internally to your brewery, cidery, winery, or craft beverage brand and say, “how do I tell people who we are and what we stand for?” An example of a brand story? It’s exactly who you are, what you do, why you do it, and how you’re going to tell the world about it. We’ve helped lay the blueprint - you’ve got this, you storytelling architect! (And if you’re still looking for help, we’ve got you there, too.)


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