Chicago Craft Beer Week Marketing Lessons

goose island beer 2It’s officially Chicago Craft Beer Week. The 5th annual event is quickly becoming a city staple with local brewers, drinkers, and chefs all getting in on the fun. T60 has a rich history in beer videos, so I thought we’d take a trip down memory lane to share some suds stories and marketing lessons learned along the way.

We have produced more than a dozen videos for Goose Island Beer Company, the king of Chicago craft beers, and have won a couple of Telly Awards for that work. We haven’t produced any videos since Anheuser-Busch bought the company in 2011, but believe it or not, I actually take pride in that. See, Goose Island leaders had such a good experience with video marketing they decided to hire a full-time, in-house video producer. I like to think the videos we did for them performed so well they wanted to do so many more it made more sense to put someone on staff.

Anyway, Goose Island was one of our cornerstone clients. They put us on the map since everyone in Chicago knows the company. It should come as no surprise that prospect pitches are much more fun when you show-up with beer… I mean, beer videos… when you show up with beer videos.

Getting to work with the Goose also exposed me to some really smart marketers who were always ahead of the curve, and I learned a lot from them. I’ll give you a couple of examples.

ARVE Error: id and provider shortcodes attributes are mandatory for old shortcodes. It is recommended to switch to new shortcodes that need only url

Beer tasting

T60’s first big project for Goose Island was a series of videos featuring individual videos on many of its beers. I pitched an idea for how to go about it and they liked it, so we jumped in with both feet shooting nine videos.

I thought for sure they’d post them on their website, so I was surprised when they told me that wasn’t the case at all. Instead, they sent the videos to wholesalers and retailers. The idea was to better educate the people who ultimately sell their product. The more a wholesaler knows about Goose Island, the more likely they are to encourage their retailers to buy it. The more retailers know about Goose Island, the more likely they are to recommend it to customers.

Pretty smart, right? It really opened my eyes to the different ways you could use and deliver marketing videos. Know your intended audience and think about the best way to deliver the videos to them. Keeping viewers in mind will always be a good guide as you produce videos.

Party on

ARVE Error: id and provider shortcodes attributes are mandatory for old shortcodes. It is recommended to switch to new shortcodes that need only url

Another project really demonstrates how forward thinking Goose Island has been. I remember when the then COO Tony Bowker called to tell me they were hosting a party and wanted to produce a video during it. There are some businesses that do that now, but very few were doing it back in 2009.

The Craft Brewer’s Association was hosting its national convention here in Chicago, and Goose Island was going to hold a tasting party for all the attendees. Tony told me they wanted a video that would feel like the build-up to a rock concert.

It was a really fun video to shoot and produce, and it really solidified my belief in the value of event videos. Sharing them with attendees, as well as the people who couldn’t attend. Event videos are a great way to allow your event to live on even after it’s over.

Promoting a brand

The final example is a video we produced specifically to highlight Goose Island’s 312 brand. It isn’t really a marketing lesson, just a production tip to keep in mind.

312 is known as the company’s most accessible beer. Company leaders wanted to show wholesalers how committed the company is to promoting the brand, so they asked us to visit several of the events 312 sponsors.

ARVE Error: id and provider shortcodes attributes are mandatory for old shortcodes. It is recommended to switch to new shortcodes that need only url

Running events, cycling, boating, rock concerts… it was a project that took us all summer. They wanted a video to capture the energy behind the brand and they got it. There was so much good video, but as we started to edit it all together it was clearly missing something.

What it needed was the right music. We listened to dozens of songs and finally hit one that really seemed to give us the pace we needed. The music also inspired the video’s opening sequence. For some reason as I listened to the music, the beginning made me think of a countdown.

People always comment on that opening sequence and we owe it to the music. Never underestimate how music can provide inspiration and influence the mood of your video.

Chicago Craft Beer Week

So… there you have it. Beer-inspired video marketing lessons. Chicago Craft Beer Week runs through Sunday, May 25. I recommend checking out the event schedule. Bars, breweries, and restaurants are all holding special events and planning beer pairing menus, so whether you’re a beer aficionado or just a foodie this is a perfect week for you. Enjoy!

–Tony Gnau


Tony Gnau - T60 ProductionsTony Gnau is the Founder and Chief Storytelling Officer at T60 Productions. He’s a three-time Emmy Award-winning journalist, has led T60 Productions to winning 18 Telly Awards for its corporate videos, and is the author of the Amazon #1 Bestseller “Lights, Camera, Impact: storytelling, branding, and production tips for engaging corporate videos.”