What Gluten Free Beer Teaches Us About Marketing

Learn how Gluten Free Beer helped Omission Brewing stand out from other beer on the shelf, and the unique advantages choosing a specific niche provided them

Unlike traditional agencies, Fill Your Taproom focuses solely on the brewing industry and tailors our service offerings to be most effective for you (the brewer) and your needs. That exclusivity means we’re in a niche in the industry and are able to provide unique resources and results to help breweries stand out from the crowd. It also means we’re privy to the benefits of niching down and identifying what makes us different. But why is it something you should consider? What can choosing a niche do for you? Let’s take a look at the who, the what and the why of this important business strategy.


Omission Brewing Co. v Gluten

In that last several years, the production of gluten-free beer has been on the rise and the gluten-free market overall is expected to grow by more than 10% per year through 2018. That’s a huge number, considering less than 1% of the population has celiac disease, a genetic autoimmune disorder which makes it difficult for the body to digest gluten. So what about the one-third of Americans who remain? They’re part of the growth, too. Advantageous breweries like Omission Brewing Co. spotted the gluten-free market as a rising trend and also capitalized on the 311,000,000 who abstain from gluten for lifestyle health reasons by crafting their own beers with the same taste as a classic lager, but without the gluten.

Omission was the first craft beer brand in the United States to focus exclusively on brewing great-tasting craft beers with traditional beer ingredients, including malted barley, specially crafted to remove gluten. They believed that everyone should be able to partake in enjoying a well-made beer, regardless of dietary or health restrictions. They identified their niche, worked hard to bring it to life, and created quite a name for themselves in the process. Just check out their website for proof. Omission has an entire section dedicated to the hashtag Omoment, and users are actively sharing their photos and tweets to showcase the impact the brew has had on their lives. That’s given the folks at Omission the opportunity to capitalize on their unique product offering, engage their customer base, and utilize real users to spread their message for them. Not too bad for a niche product, right?

What Can Niche Do For You

Now, we understand that gluten-free beer isn’t for every brewer (that’s why it’s a niche market), so you might be wondering what else you could identify for your business and why this strategy is so important in the first place. Let’s tackle the former, first.

Take a look at Blue Owl Brewing in Austin, Texas. The brewery opened in 2015 and dedicated itself to the art of sour-mashing, a technique that puts a unique spin on popular beer styles like Pilsners, pale ales, stouts, and IPAs. Not long after they opened the doors, Austin saw a leap in new small and independent breweries. However, thanks to founder Jeff Young’s foresight and ingenuity, Blue Owl Brewing had already distinguished itself from the local competition.

Another solid example comes from Longmont, Colorado and the team at Wibby Brewing. Located just down the road from Left Hand Brewing Co. and Oskar Blues, formative opponents in their own right, Wibby unveiled a menu of beers that only included German-style lagers with an American twist. It paid off. They surpassed their goals for barrels produced in their first year and now have a passionate fan base of lager enthusiasts and casual beer drinkers alike.

The possibilities are endless, and you’re in the position to have different conversations with your customer than any other brewer, because you produce a product that’s different than any other brewer.

But, what does all of this really mean? Well, perhaps more importantly than communicating uniqueness, identifying a niche is essential to a brewery because it makes marketing campaigns easier to create and manage, and enables you to produce and distribute relevant content across multiple consumer touchpoints.

Think about it this way: If you produce the first gluten-free beer on the market and it’s your only product type, you probably know quite a bit about it, right? That immediately designates you as a reputable source of content for customers. So, serve it up to them. Write a blog post about the benefits of gluten-free living. Discuss pairing options with your beer and gluten-free foods. Create an advertising campaign for your product during Celiac Awareness Month (May). The possibilities are endless, and you’re in the position to have different conversations with your customer than any other brewer because you produce a product that’s different than any other brewer.

Identifying Your Niche

The benefits are abundant, but here are the main takeaways of identifying your niche. First, you provide more value to your clients because you’ve honed your expertise in an area relevant to them, and second, you limit the competition you face. But how exactly can you determine what your niche should be? Consider the following:

  • Where do you have the most experience? Think about how you became interested in brewing and what you’ve done to grow your business. Perhaps you’re unusually adept at crafting ciders or maybe you learned a technique that few people have perfected. Consider your strengths and how you can apply them to your brewery.
  • What do you enjoy? We all have things we like doing more than others. When you’re really good at something, you tend to enjoy it more – and usually, want to spend more time doing it. Think about what excites you and what you truly love about your industry.

 

  • What do you not like to do? Like we said, we all have things we like doing more than others. Spend some time contemplating the tasks that really seem to drag you down. That will help you narrow down the areas or projects you enjoy the most.

 

That is by no means an exhaustive list, but it should help you begin the process of declaring what separates you from everyone else.

The benefits of identifying your niche are abundant. First, you provide more value to your clients because you’ve honed your expertise in an area relevant to them. Second, you limit the competition you face. And finally, you have a clearer idea about what you do differently than others, where your expertise lies, and what content you can deliver that speaks directly to your target audience. Looking for more? Send us a note or schedule a meeting. We’ll be happy to answer your questions and guide you on the path to identifying your niche.