Living in the great State of Colorado comes with some basic inalienable rights. Coloradans expect at least 300 days of sunshine per year, lack of oxygen, inappropriate ‘Mile High’ jokes from out-of-staters, nightmare I-70 traffic and most importantly, access to the world’s best craft beer. Speaking as a proud Colorado native and craft beer fan, we have quickly evolved into an epicenter for the craft beer industry, producing some the finest new breweries in the nation.
More than 10% of the nation’s craft breweries call Colorado home, which is impressive because we represent only 2% of the United States population. Given the rapid growth of this industry in my beloved state, I was very interested in learning more about the business and market drivers for the craft beer industry. So I decided to take my questions to an industry expert, Amanda King, Marketing and Branding Manager at Odell Brewing Company (Fort Collins, CO) [Full Disclosure: My favorite overall brewery in world].
What follows is a pint-sized interview with Amanda, enjoy!
How would you describe the current state of the craft beer industry?
“The craft beer industry continues to see incredible growth. We are now over 3400 strong, and that number is growing. Larger regional brewers are adding new markets, aiming for near nationwide distribution. Nano breweries and brewpubs are sprouting up in every corner of the country servicing small towns and even neighborhoods. And the large global brewers and private equity are eager to get involved by investing in or buying craft breweries across the country. There are many moving pieces, and even more players. It’s a bit like the Wild West.”
From your perspective, what are the biggest trends in craft beer?
"Local continues to be important…local production, local ingredients and local distribution. People are much more aware of where their food and beverages come from, and it matters to them. Being connected to producers helps make us feel a little less small and insignificant in an enormous world. Innovation and creativity have always been a key part of craft brewing. Styles come and go (well except for IPAs…they just keep coming). There’s been a shift to lower alcohol accessible styles, and a renaissance of once forgotten beer styles. I also think variety continues to drive craft brewing product development. We’re a fast moving society that embraces change and new experiences."
What is the biggest challenge facing craft brew producers?
“As the industry continues to see exponential growth, quality will be a concern. It’s imperative that brewers, new and old, maintain the quality of their products, or we will collectively lose the favor and trust of our beloved beer drinkers. Resources and raw materials are also always a potential challenge. Access to and quality of raw materials are dependent on many things like climate and legislation. Water is particularly important to the beer making process and top of mind in our industry.”
How are the macro breweries addressing the growing popularity in craft beer?
"Larger global breweries are savvy marketers who understand shifting consumer demands and preferences. They are well equipped to invest accordingly, whether it be through acquisition or their own product development & innovation.”
From a marketing standpoint, what has been the most effective way of growing your brand?
“We have a slow growth philosophy and an inclusive culture at Odell Brewing. Our marketing strategy mirrors this philosophy, and we are very deliberate about where and how we grow. This has given us the opportunity to really dive into who we are and why we are here. Staying true to that core identity and culture helps shape everything we do in marketing. This unique culture is a collective spirit of teamwork and camaraderie that lies within each co-worker and shines within every beer we produce.”
Cheers to Great Beer and Great Marketing!
So there you have it, a small taste of the exciting craft beer world from an industry expert. My favorite Odell beers happens to be their IPA and 90 Shilling, you can check out the whole collection at http://odellbrewing.com/. The future of craft beer promises big things and we at The Market Element look forward to seeing it evolve.
Amanda King is the Marketing and Branding Manager for Odell Brewing Company. She graduated from Colorado State University with a degree in Marketing in 2000 and joined the Odell Brewing Company team just one year later. In 2007, Amanda took over the company’s media and public relations. Today, she manages the marketing team, is a member of the brewery’s charitable committee and product development team, and oversees the brewery’s overall marketing and branding strategy, social media, advertising, promotions, public relations, and events and sponsorships.
Founded in 1989, Odell Brewing was started by Doug Odell, his wife Wynne, and his sister Corkie. Today, the culture of family and collaboration still thrives, fostering a brewery full of beer-centric people. It is this passion for beer that inspires Odell Brewing to create quality, hand-crafted, innovative brews.
Amanda’s husband Ryan also works for Odell Brewing, and together they have four children.