Every week on average, five microbreweries open every week in the United States, according to the Brewers Association. Those breweries are offering an average of at least 15 different beers in their annual portfolios, and along with their portfolio blends comes a variety of other experimental beers. Time can be of the essence when it comes to getting the word out about completed batches of these rare brews, so restaurants, bars and the like are turning to social media and the Fanfare Mobile Craft Beer Alert system to get the word out in rapid fashion.
Craft beer is very different creatures over their entire ecosystem. Some craft beer is available on a regular basis, while others are only available at certain times of year. For instance, several craft beer releases from Kalamazoo, Michigan based Bell's are only available for a few months out of the year; Bell's Oberon, for example, is commonly only found during summer months. But it gets worse. Some releases are only good for maybe 40 total glasses of beer, so when one of them actually gets into a bar or the like, those who favor that brand want to get in and get their glass before the opportunity is lost to them for another six to nine months.
The Craft Beer Alert system offers an opt-in messaging structure to users, so that a message can be sent to a mobile phone when a particular brew has arrived. The messages can be structured around something as broad as an entire brewery's release line, or the new beers released at a specific location, or even for just one particular type of beer. Since the service is built around SMS text messaging, it's compatible with 99 percent of mobile phones currently on the market, meaning most anyone with a mobile phone can get in on this particular service.
While this is no doubt a boon to everyone who's looking for a particular something to fill their glasses after a tough day at work or to kick off a weekend, this is only the beginning in terms of how bars and brands are using mobile devices to build brands and draw customers. Social media is playing a major role in the process, with such businesses taking advantage of Foursquare, Facebook, Twitter and several others to let users point out where they are, and draw their friends in accordingly. Taking advantage of social media to promote special events, or encouraging customers to post their experiences at a venue to social media are also strong possibilities for bars and similar social venues to draw customers.
Beyond that, however, some services even offer activation of special deals on a geographic basis; when a potential customer with a mobile device approaches a participating business, a text message is sent offering said customer a special discount for a limited time. This encourages said potential customer to make a stop at that particular business. Why not? Savings are savings, and people are especially sensitive to savings in a weak economy of the type we're facing now. Businesses, meanwhile, are looking into ever more innovative ways to draw business, and gaining access to a device a lot of people have on hand at any given time is a natural progression.
We're likely to see more of this kind of thing go along, and Fanfare Mobile will be one of the companies at the forefront of this new form of ultra-direct, and mobile, marketing.
Edited by Amanda Ciccatelli