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What Can Craft Brewery's Learn from Vineyard Wine Clubs?

Posted by Aidan Lundy on Nov 23, 2016 6:28:13 AM
Aidan Lundy

Visit a wine tasting room at a vineyard and chances are you will be invited to register for membership in a wine club.

This is a convenient way to explore new vintages, a new bottle arriving by mail right on schedule every month. Membership is more than just privileges like discounts or exclusive access to select reserve wines, however. Often vineyards publish newsletters so that wine lovers can grow in their knowledge of everything related to creating, selecting and appreciating a fine wine.

But do wine club memberships deliver to the vintner the benefits they are seeking?

Are wine club membership programs profitable for winemakers?

If they are, will the same principle hold for craft brewers? Is a craft brew membership a promising promotion idea?

Successful Winery Membership Models

The most successful wine club model has been around for nearly a quarter of a century.

The Gold Medal Wine Club provides members with fine wines that are sourced exclusively from small, family-owned vineyards. Members receive elegantly packaged bottles of vintages that are rarely to be found on a wine retailer's shelf. Along with the wine, members enjoy background information on its production such as the agricultural region where the grapes were grown, what vineyard created it as well as intriguing related trivia.

The benefits of membership are actually quite simplistic, lacking an array of bells and whistles. Instead, the entire prospect of providing members with a select bottle of wine along with its packaging, is all approached from the perspective of artistry. This attention to detail, along with expert selection of wines and their scarcity, have made for a winning wine club recipe.

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Most Successful Brew Club Model

It seems that beer versions of wine clubs are already making great strides, especially for craft breweries.

Take, for example, The Bruery Preservation Society.

As the largest brew club in the U.S., many craft breweries model their own membership programs after their success. It is a simple, three-tier membership program. The bottom rung, so to speak, offers a monthly shipment of three beers selected by the brewer. One is typically a rare find and the other two more common flavors. For more serious craft brew fans, they can bump up to the next level and receive nine brews each month along with access to exclusive merchandise, retail discounts, options to purchase private, reserve brews throughout the year, and tickets to the brewery's annual members-only beer festival. The top tier membership details are a closely guarded secret, membership by invitation only. 

What Membership Can Mean For Growth

Beer drinkers seem to be just as passionate about their favorite alcoholic beverage as wine lovers. Brewery membership demand is not only high, but gaining ground and nearing the enrollment numbers of wine clubs.

In addition to convenience and access to things not available to the general public, there is that child-like pride in being a part of a secret club. Being a member is fun. For many consumers, it can be explained that simply.

Here is what a brew club, or a wine club, can do for any alcohol beverage producer:

  • Create brand loyalty
  • Generate repeat purchases
  • Facilitate an easy up-sell to premium purchases
  • Create brand ambassadors through members
  • Build strong relationships with consumers
  • Establish a reliable, recurring income stream

Fulfill Your Potential

Creating a membership club for your brand is like creating a thread that ties everything together: the brewery, sales staff, and the consumer. As membership enrollment grows, a brewery's value increases through a guaranteed stream of revenue.

By having a reliable flow of guaranteed income on the books, a company's risk is significantly reduced. This is what every business owner desires, lower risk and increased value.

So what's stopping you from creating a brewery membership club?

Contact alcohol industry marketing specialists who will create the perfectly branded campaign and start enjoying all the benefits of a beer or wine club right away.

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Tags: Craft Beer Marketing