Do you want to make new friends and sample the finest in craft beer? Join Craftapped, a Minnesota craft beer club, that hosts regular happy hours at taprooms throughout Minnesota in addition to providing members free beer. Desktop Labels is proud to be a sponsor.
“Craftapped is very fun because of two things: beer and more beer,” jokes Brian “BT” Turner. “But seriously, beer is friendly, communal and social. With Craftapped, you can go out with your friends and family to different taprooms, bring your kids and even your dog, and enjoy yourself. And of course, your first beer will be on Desktop Labels.”
You may have heard BT on the radio both locally and nationally, but he is also a partner in Craftapped, which was established in late 2015 to give craft-beer enthusiasts an inexpensive way to enjoy their favorite beverages. It began as a seed of idea that took root between friends.
“I was asked to join the team in its nascent years, although the concept certainly wasn’t mine, it was developed by our partner, John Schardt. He’s friends with Bob Pickering, another partner who was a friend of mine for many years,” explains BT. “Bob pitched me on what they were working on and I jumped on board immediately. I’m glad I did because it’s very fun. A big part of what we’re doing is fostering community. In addition to being a friendly beverage, beer is a point of interest around which you can bring people together.”
In just two years, the craft-beer club has grown to more than 1,200 members. For a monthly $10 membership fee, they receive 10 complimentary craft beers at any one of more than 75 local taprooms, bars and restaurants, in addition to regular get-togethers with other members. BT credits their skyrocketing membership to word of mouth.
“When you see happy customers spreading the word about what you do, you can’t ask for better marketing,” he points out. “Somebody will see a Craftapped member at the bar. The member is using his smartphone to get his beer – that’s our redemption process – and they naturally will ask what it’s about. Sometimes the Craftapped member becomes our advocate and sometimes it’s the bartender or server.”
He notes that even though the partner venue is sharing a complimentary pint,, the pay off comes in the form of the additional purchases. Craftapped members often buy a growler or some swag, and, of course, more beverages.
“And even if there isn’t an additional purchase, to have a craft-beer enthusiast in your shop for the cost of one pint is an amazing marketing opportunity,” notes BT. “So we do some training with our partner venues and serving staff to help them enhance that.
“With Craftapped members, you know you have somebody who loves what you do, that’s why they’re there, and they want some of your product now. They want to learn more about it. They’re your biggest fans.”
Craftapped has given BT insight into what attracts craft-beer consumers as well as broad perspective of Minnesota’s craft-beer marketplace. So he has an unusually keen perspective on what makes a great beer label:
- It has compelling design. “I personally find myself attracted to ones where an art piece is integrated into the labeling,” he says. “I really like the work they do at Indeed Brewing. The graphic designer, Chuck U, is a wonderful artist. It’s unique and cool, and sets the tone and attitude for the brand. It really suits them.”But he also notes that the marketplace is rife with great labels. “The folks at Insight Brewing are creating amazing labels that are both simultaneously vibrant and subtle, I know that seems contradictory, but it’s true,” continues BT. “When you got to the off-sale locations their label really stands out in the beer case.”
- It has continuity. BT appreciates how breweries, like Fulton, integrate their brand from taproom to liquor store to bar or restaurant. (Craftapped hosted an event at Fulton a couple of weeks ago.) “You remember their star-of-five-grains logo, it gets emblazoned in your head so that when you go to the off-sale locations, it’s easier to see Sweet Child of Vine or Lonely Blonde in the beer case, and maybe you’ll grab a six pack.”
- It makes the most of the brand’s history. “Summit went on a big rebranding several years ago,” recalls BT. “It’s really fun and unique. It really brought all the best bits and pieces of their history of labels and presentation into the new place where they are now.”
“If you want to share my perspective, join Craftapped,” notes BT. “There probably isn’t a better opportunity to put your finger on the pulse of Minnesota’s craft-beer marketplace.”
Eager for more marketing tips? Be sure to check out our interview with James the Wine Guy – his insight can be applied to labeling just about any product.
Interested in becoming a member of Craftapped? Find out what they’re about by attending an event, non-members get to check out the first one free.