Beer Branding 101

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LakeportDundas, where I live is part of the mega-city Hamilton and one of the big recent success stories here is Lakeport Brewing.

What Lakeport has been successful at is identifying its target market, appealing to it and sticking to what it knows.

Its Vision is to "dominate and lead the growth of the value beer category" – and their Mission clearly supports that.

They have two beers in the top selling in Ontario, priced at $24 for 24 bottles and the big brewers have tried to follow but with limited success. This is in part because its not part of their core – its just a reaction to losing market share – the same as they did with the premium end when that was a big growth market.

Teresa Cascioli is the CEO and she has taken a small brewery to number 3 in Ontario and has hit particularly Molson and Labatt hard – and perhaps has been indirectly responsible for seeing Sleeman Brewing disappear as a Canadian owned brewery, having been taken over by Sapporo from Japan.

She is high profile with her right target audience – the investors and shareholders, but she allows others in the company to speak to their target audience.

If its marketing its in thanking people for contacting them about sponsorship, but politely pointng out –

Due to the high volume of requests received for sponsorships and donations, please be advised that Lakeport will only respond to e-mails for those requests that fit within our marketing budget and addresses our core consumers.

They are spending their money where it is going to be most effective and on brand for them. Can you be as clear when someone next asks you for a donation?

To the blue collar worker who is buying their beer with what they put on the top of their 24's: "Lakeport is a significant contributor to Ontario's economy. All Lakeport beer is union-made right here in Ontario. Lakeport employs almost 200 people, purchases supplies and services from local firms, pays taxes in Ontario and gives back to the community. All of us here appreciate your support. Your support of Lakeport keeps Ontario strong!" – Norm Cooper, Plant Union Chairman, Teamsters Union Local 938.

Are you as clear about your target market or are you like the big brewers trying to satisfy all and losing share every day?

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