Data from the industry research group IRI consistently shows Olde Mecklenburg Brewery’s flagship Copper to be the highest-selling craft beer in Mecklenburg County, besting ubiquitous offerings from national brands such as Sam Adams and Sierra Nevada.
Simply being on top of the draught dogpile doesn’t mean they’re content to rest on their laurels. They’re also shining a light on some uncomfortable, unsaid truths in the craft beer scene.
“It used to be, that local equals good,” says Ryan Self, OMB’s director of sales. “That wasn’t sustainable. Then, it was craft equals good, also not sustainable. Now it’s time to say that only good beer equals good, that’s sustainable and that’s what we’re moving towards.”
Olde Mecklenburg is teaming with Charlotte-based marketing firm Concentric to launch a multi-platform awareness campaign. You may have already spotted the tip of the iceberg, as billboards have gone up around Charlotte and radio spots have started running. Print ads and television spots are similarly incoming, as is a targeted online advertising approach.
Listen to their radio spots:
The campaign’s theme is “Now You Know Better,” designed to appeal to both neophyte drinkers that stereotypically associate beer to be fizzy and yellow, to the opposite end of the spectrum where brand-promiscuous drinkers may be searching for stability.
Currently, two billboard designs are up in five prominent area locations, with additional buys and alternate messaging debuting in late July.
Initially, OMB approached Concentric seeking answers to dual issues, from educating the wider consumer base to strengthening ties with their existing supporters.
This new strategy is a small part of upcoming brewery growth. Ground has already been broken on a project to relocate employee offices to neighboring facility, allowing expansion room for their existing taproom and kitchen capacity. Outdoor areas are also due for significant upgrades, with a roof destined for their existing patio plus modifications to existing beer hut and food truck areas. Both outdoor projects have an ambitious completion date ahead of their annual Mecktoberfest celebration, running September 23-25.
“We have prioritized quantity over quality for too long,” Self continues. “Bad beer and uninformed consumers are bad for our market. Someone has to say ‘every craft isn’t inherently good,’ and we can’t be afraid of that.”
Even though OMB claims the largest-selling craft brand in the area, it’s still just a drop in the overall bucket. Overall, Charlotte-brewed craft brands represent but 2% of local beer consumption.
Years ago, local beer was an uphill battle, something breweries had to sell local bars as simply being feasible. Now, we’re over twenty breweries in Mecklenburg and counting. If Olde Mecklenburg has their way, they’ll all be world-class.