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Brewing Positive Publicity for a Fiercely Independent Craft Brewery

Melanie Anne Filipp
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This spring, elevator faced a unique task: garner widespread, positive earned media coverage around a business announcement for Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company, Canada’s leading craft producer of organic beer.

However, this wasn’t your run-of-the-mill beer announcement, where yet another brewery announces it is selling to a large beer conglomerate – Beau’s would be announcing its intent to sell the brewery to its own employees, under an Employee Share Ownership Plan (ESOP). Extremely rare in the craft beer category, an ESOP would ensure Beau’s would continue to maintain its independence for the foreseeable future, and was a way to show gratitude to their employees ahead of their tenth anniversary.

Despite a tight timeline to contend with, the elevator team was not fazed – we worked together to develop a multi-faceted earned media strategy that would spark positive conversation around the news, reinforce Beau's fiercely independent and Canadian roots, and position the risk-taking organization as a leader in the craft beer category. To top it all off, we challenged ourselves to secure positive national media exposure for the local brewery – no small feat despite the brand's loyal following.

Our strategic approach was three-pronged: sharing the information under embargo to a few select publications in order to secure coverage to coincide with launch day, then conducting targeted local and national media outreach on launch day (supplemented by press release distribution over the wire) and developing commemorative beer kits to further nurture relationships with key beer bloggers and influencers.

As a result of our proactive efforts, elevator garnered over 20 million earned media impressions, and 14 media interviews for spokesperson and Beau’s CEO and Co-Founder Steve Beauchesne. Coverage included national media exposure in The Globe and Mail, Financial Post, and on CBC television program The Exchange. Additional media interviews were secured on CTV Morning Live Ottawa, Business News Network, along with live radio interviews with CBC and CTV networks in Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal. Last but not least, our efforts resulted in international media exposure, with a story on Forbes.com – a huge win!

Our earned media approach was further supplemented by an additional 80+ million media impressions garnered from wire release distribution, with pick-up in key dailies and online publications across the country.

But the conversation didn’t end there – the day the announcement broke, there were nearly 500 positive mentions on Twitter, with numerous media outlets, along with select beer influencers, and consumers, sharing the exciting news with their followers.

Cheers to an overwhelmingly positive earned media campaign for a brewery with a strong Canadian legacy!