You’ve perfected your craft, dialed in your recipes and have started selling your beverage. You have a logo, an identity, a brand, and all of your marketing is in place. Now that you’ve started to get repeat customers, they want to feel like they’re part of your growing success. What is a better way to get those fans to spread the word then by them owning merchandise that they are proud to wear or use? But where should you start? Do you just slap your logo on a shirt and start selling it yourself? Maybe. But it can be so much more than that and in case you haven’t noticed, a brewery shirt happens to be the latest band shirt. Read on for our suggestions about your own apparel and other merchandise.
What do you buy?
Ultimately, this depends on your region climate, and the ‘gear’ that goes along with your industry. We would
recommend a t-shirt & sticker as the standard baseline that everyone should have. From there, corresponding glassware & a secondary apparel item (a hoodie or a tank top, depending on weather) are great secondary items and then there are plenty of other options to add to your arsenal of merchandise (hats – both baseball hats & winter caps, keychains, etc.). Not all merch is branded equally. How you brand a glass should be different than a shirt and different than a sticker. All pieces of merchandise serve a different purpose and should be treated differently. For this piece we’ll be focusing mainly on apparel (shirts, primarily), since they have the most landscape for customization.
Quality (and sizing) matters
Nobody wants to buy a shirt that feels like it’s made of cardboard, or sized for young adults. It’s very important that you choose a shirt that’s appealing to touch as well as being visually appealing. Stick within your color palette of your brand. Neutral colors are always a good option, such as gray, black and white, since they appeal to the majority of people. Choose a brand that’s sized appropriately for adults (this is especially problematic in ladies apparel). Be conscientious of fit, as well. Slim or athletic fit shirts may not appeal to, nor fit, some of your drinkers.
Think beyond the logo
A logo is a great starting point for your merchandise. People want to support you & want to share that support to the world around them. We would never dare say that your logo shouldn’t be on your merchandise. But how great would it be to create a more artistic graphic in your overall style that’s so visually appealing that it transcends just your current fan base? Quite a few brands have successfully walked this line. Still maintaining their identity in a design while making a more broadly appealing aesthetic. It’s great if you have a graphic designer or artistic friend that can help you with this aspect. It’s easy to just put your logo on a shirt but it’s even better to have a considered design that people love & associate back to your brand.
Thought starters for design:
- An illustrated font of a tagline/saying that your brand uses regularly
- Something to establish a local connection with your brand to your region -A statement appealing to the general customer base you have
At the end of the day, you win by having your fans wearing your merchandise out in the general public. Keep that in mind when pricing your merchandise. Consumers are happy to buy merchandise, but there is a threshold of pricing leniency. We advise brands to try to stay below $15 for tees/tanks, $20 for hats and $35 for hoodies. Glassware should typically be under $10 unless it’s a specialty glass. Of course your costs per piece will vary, as it all depends on the quantities of merchandise you order. But these are the ‘sweet spots’ we’ve found in pricing. Merchandise is just another way to get your brand out there in the eyes of people that may not have heard of you yet. It’s an important aspect of your business and a great sign that you’re thriving and doing well. Now make sure you put on your own shirt and wear it every chance you get! You’re your best advocate for your brand, after all.
About Measured Methods
Measured Methods is a service agency focusing on the craft beverage industry. With a diverse range of professional backgrounds, the team at Measured Methods works with craft brands of all sizes to provide digital marketing, event, and sales support.
Measured Methods are also organizers of the 2015 Vermont Beer Week celebration.