beer fans

150+ Fan Engagement Ideas For Craft Breweries: Solutions To Entertain And Educate, Drive Revenue And Connect Beer Fans And Local Communities During COVID19

106 days into 2020 and what an unimaginable and absolutely crazy year it has been within the Australian craft beer industry this year. 

First the devastation of the summer bush fires and now the way the world has been flipped on its head by COVID19. It’s been an incredibly tough time for many Australian’s and small businesses out there but as I work within this industry I’ve also seen first hand how stressful, challenging and frustrating it has been for independent craft breweries (and all the associated people along the supply chain) throughout Australia.

However if it’s one thing that this industry and community of good beer fans do well, it’s pulling together and working together to support each other. From the relentless back-breaking work that organizations like the IBA, Oz Brews News, Froth Mag and Crafty Pint do for this industry to all the craft beer fans out there who have all gone to great lengths over the past few months to buy local and get behind their community craft breweries, well it’s just so bloody lovely to see. What an outstanding community of people! It just makes you feel so damn proud of how Australian’s come together to support each other in times of crisis. 

Anyway, seeing as I have lost work like many others within the industry and because I now have some extra time on my hands and just can’t sit still, I have put together another handy infographic of fan engagement ideas that will come in useful to a host of businesses, breweries, and venues within our industry. 

Featured below is a new fan engagement infographic that has been created from collating ideas and initiatives from what over 300 Australian craft breweries have been doing to engage their fans and local communities. I have also included all of the ideas within a bullet point list with images added below as well as including some of my own ideas. If an idea does not make sense then please feel free to reach out and I will assist. 

Earlier this week I also released an infographic for the sports business titled 200+ Fan Engagement Ideas to Entertain, Educate and Connect Sports Fans during COVID19 which aims to help local grassroots and community clubs throughout the globe with ideas to engage their communities at this time. Previously I have created these resources below as well. These have been useful for the sports business but many of the ideas are interchangeable, cost-effective and simple and have also helped small businesses with the ideas presented here being quite adaptable to many businesses.

I have also previously created this resource ‘100+ Fan Engagement Ideas For Craft Breweries’ which has been a simple and effective guide for craft breweries across Australia and may come in handy down the track for other breweries to acquire new fans and drive further revenue opportunities.

If IBA members also have access to the new IBA forum and website sections then my fan engagement presentation and panel from last year’s BREWCON conference might also be a beneficial watch.

All in all this has just been something to do to stay active during this time so I hope that it comes in handy for anyone within the independent craft beer industry. 

My final piece of advice is to get out there and support your local indie brewery and buy local from local indie bottle shops and venues doing take aways where you can as this will help these businesses at a time when they all need it the most. 

Thanks for reading. 


150+ Fan Engagement Ideas For Craft Breweries: Solutions To Entertain And Educate, Drive Revenue And Connect Beer Fans And Local Communities During COVID19

  • Bottle shop/venue and staff shout outs to promote local indie stockists
  • Trivia
  • Merch incentives/giveaways (even just free stickers) with minimum spend beer orders
  • Online happy hour
  • Art series featuring and promoting breweries local community/artists
  • Supporters send in your pictures with the brewery beers
  • Competitions- win a years supply etc
  • Promote beer finder maps/stockists
  • BrewChats online shows
  • Healthcare worker discounts
  • Posting takeaway food menus
  • Isolation beer festival/tastings
  • Creative sample boxes (core range cartons to mixed cubes)
  • Hand sanitser for sale
  • Live stream bands at home
  • Mega variety packs
  • ISO Games
  • Pop quizzes for discounts/deals
  • Virtual masterclasses
  • Beer cocktail recipes
  • Craft beer baking efforts
  • Midweek madness sales
  • Pics/shout outs/promote/thank the brew crew
  • Letter/email of the day
  • Drive Thru Specials
  • Access to exclusive content
  • Buy a case, get a free….crowler/incentive etc
  • At Home menu’s- bring the taproom to your house
  • Local area bar/venue Monopoly board game shout out
  • Beer/food delivery order apps
  • Promote take away meal/beer packs
  • Brewery supporter quotes
  • Donate a carton/4pack/beer to a health care worker
  • Promote your merch especially female range of gear
  • Win the first case off the canning line
  • Food and beer variety packs
  • Local craft beer collaboration packs featuring various breweries beers
  • Creative specials and daily deals on takeaway food and beers
  • Creative colourful drive thru set ups and instructions
  • Check in on elderly brewery supporters
  • Word searches
  • Caption This
  • Bingo cards
  • Spot the tinnie/beer
  • Colourjng in sheets/Tattoo design sheets
  • Drawing challenges
  • Throw back pictures/moments/memories
  • Nominate a brewery supporter
  • Challenges
  • Zoom wallpapers of the brewery/SKUs
  • Podcasts
  • Hand washing techniques/instructions
  • Deliver care packages to supporters
  • YouTube/Video shows/recaps and rewinds
  • Hero of the brewery (emergency services fan shout outs)
  • Feel good moments/pics/videos
  • Art competitions
  • Countdowns and votes and polls
  • Connect 4 brewery challenges
  • Photo of the day
  • Supporter Nominations
  • Q&A’s with the brewer
  • On This Day
  • Fitness/work out/training tips
  • Craft beer YOGA
  • GIF challenges
  • Share your brewery supporter story- fan sourced
  • Utilising fan generated content
  • Instagram/FB Live with brewer/team member
  • Beat the clock online jigsaw puzzle challenges
  • Emergency/Health services branded merch
  • #FromTheArchives
  • Choose your ultimate brewery team lineups
  • Mental Health Messages and Tips
  • What Self-Iso Personality Are You?
  • Quizzes
  • Polls
  • Brewery Spotify music playlists
  • What are the breweries up to updates
  • CEO messages/emails to supporters
  • Brewery video messages to supporters
  • Twitter/FB/Insty take overs
  • Send letters to the brewery
  • Dogs of the brewery and fans pets etc
  • RSA/ABAC appropriate kids activity worksheets on agriculture/sustainability/hops etc
  • Memes
  • Pixelated pick the beer
  • My ‘brewery Story
  • Random Acts of Kindness
  • Virtual brewery tour
  • 60 seconds Qs with the brewery team
  • Brewery/supporter/bottle shop people profiles
  • TikToks
  • Tattoo profiles of the brewery staff
  • Live Q&A
  • Fun and quirky facts
  • Merch offers and incentives
  • Merchandise daily deals
  • Virtual Meet Ups
  • Online Quizzes Ex. Kahootz
  • Free access to exclusive content
  • Cooking and recipe shows and plans
  • Educational virtual video sessions
  • Virtual tastings
  • Mini documentaries
  • Exclusive special one off merch lines
  • Good News Stories
  • Stay Home Messages
  • Send us your crazy graphic design requests
  • Guess the brewery from the emoji’s
  • Bracket challenges
  • Merch giveaways
  • Your brewery memory
  • Personalised brewery wallpapers
  • CRIBS- brewery home lockdown version
  • #OpenDoorChallenge
  • Fan Art Fridays
  • #GetYourKitOn- shout outs with supporters in their craft beer tees
  • Donate a beer or gift card
  • Gift cards!
  • Stat attacks
  • Stories behind the moments
  • Surprise fans with calls/videos
  • Name The beer
  • Show and Tell (Show Us Your beer cave/memorabilia)
  • Arts & Crafts
  • Community hero of the week
  • Fan discounts for brewery sponsors- support local businesses
  • Thank You Messages to supporters
  • Your Birth Month and First Letter of your name = Your Career/Name etc.
  • Word Challenges: Brewery scattergories
  • Spot The Difference
  • Share favourite beer merch items
  • Mental Health/Fitness webinars
  • Fan video messages of support for the brewery
  • Brewery profiles
  • Fan of the week
  • Animated GIFs
  • Cartoons
  • This Week: Run a schedule of what’s on for supporters
  • Inspirational quotes
  • Virtual Happy Hour’s knock off beers/drinks with team/fans
  • Build the ultimate beer meal
  • Thank you shout outs to health care workers
  • Maze challenges
  • Fans/Brewery nominate a local business that deserves recognition
  • What’s in the brewers/fans fridge?
  • Beer baking challenges
  • Sudoku worksheets
  • One on one video chat with the brewer
  • ‘I Stay Home For….’ Cards
  • Community Support Roster- show who the brewery supports
  • Brewery printable cut outs
  • Virtual Vacations frames for fans
  • Where’s the brewery/beer (where’s wally etc.)
  • Fan/Supporter hall of fame
  • Find the BEER
  • Fan call from the CEO
  • Printable posters/assets
  • Supporter/beer caricatures
  • Brewery DJ doing a set live on social
  • Fans merch lucky dip live
  • Memory games
  • Fan wall at the brewery
  • Promote fans loyalty i.e. 1, 5, 10 years memberships
  • Harness, use and showcase fan generated content
  • Fan appreciation day/week

The Top Aussie Craft Brewery Beer Gear List and Top Tips For Craft Beer Merchandising

If it’s one thing I enjoy most about the global craft beer community, it’s getting out on the open road and checking out our breweries across the country and overseas. I’ve had the opportunity to take in craft breweries in places like India, USA, England, Japan and all over Australia and the one thing that never lets them down is their emphasis on supporting their local communities and the fact that they all seem to love what they do too as they seem to come across as positive people always up for a chat.

Tasting the diverse selection of beers, meeting the staff, learning about their local community and then grabbing some merchandise to take home and promote these breweries is what I and I bet you love to do too. There’s something special and valuable about supporting local businesses and being loyal to your local community and by buying some beers or in this case beer gear it goes a long way to promoting and spreading the good gospel of that brewery, having some nice gear to wear or use as well as supporting that particular local community.

This article was one I’ve been thinking about doing for a while. Whenever I travel to breweries I always love checking out the merch or gift shop to see the tee designs, the interesting accessories and the take home beer selections. I mean who doesn’t like a good gift shop anywhere right!

However I’m often let down by poor designs, run of the mill logos on black tee’s, same old same old accessories and of course…..stock standard logos on stubby coolers. Unfortunately it’s quite often boring, poorly designed without a graphic designer, doesn’t fit with their audience, unoriginal, doesn’t work with the logo or colours and just looks like it could be a heck of a lot better. It’s important to note that merch is always a secondary thing as these are local businesses with staff doing a thousand jobs all subject to budgets and resources and of course demand from consumers. However for breweries it is also important to keep in mind that there’s craft beer geeks out there who want to buy your beer merch, want to buy quality designs and want to buy creative and unique items to be able to promote you. Harness the power of these craft beer fans and put the effort and quality into your craft beer merchandise. Beer geeks and brewery visitors will love it and it will result in sales.

Here are some simple tips for craft beer merchandising:

  • Use a qualified graphic designer.
  • Understand your audience and craft brewery demographics and target those audiences.
  • Use a graphic designer working or who has experience working with craft beer/breweries/beer world
  • Think about artist collaborations especially with local artists in your community.
  • Seasonal merch ranges are important. Think winter/summer.
  • Get creative with merch. Think funky, unique, creative design and merch ideas.
  • Always have a gift voucher option available. Did you know Blockbuster RIP invented the gift card too? Read more about the benefits and history of gift vouchers here and here.
  • Think about your female fans and ensure you get items like tee’s in female sizes.
  • Don’t discount kids/baby merch. Parents will grab these as will others to use as gifts.
  • Think local. Who can you get involved in your local community to work with.
  • Think about what beer fans/consumers actually need or want as merchandise.
  • Have an online ecommerce merch shop. You’re missing out on 24/7 sales otherwise. Top shelf website design and UX is an absolute must as well.
  • Have the merch visible and well presented in a stand in your brewery.
  • Have stickers available to either give out or to sell to people.

Take the topic of stickers for instance. Every brewery I go to I always ask to grab a sticker to slap on my LandCruiser and promote the breweries wherever I go. Now when breweries don’t have one available for free or to even sell me as part of their merch range, I think to myself you’ve just missed a huge opportunity for someone to promote you for free.

Case in point, a few months back I was in the Gold Coast region and went into one new brewery to try their brews. At the end of the pour in a taproom with no one else in it I politely asked if I could have a sticker and was rudely and aggressively denied one because they weren’t for sale (also the oddest customer service brewery experience in 2019 so far!). That’s totally fine but that brewery is missing out on an opportunity to allow people to easily promote them….FOR FREE! A roll of quality stickers are inexpensive and can be used as merch, as giveaways at festivals and for all manner of other purposes to promote your brewery.

In a country of 550 competing breweries where having a point of difference and standing out has become even more vital (especially in crowded markets) there has never been a more important time to understand your audiences, highlight and up-sell your USP’s to customers and simply give your beer fans what they’re after. Having a sticker is something so simple to create that will go a long way in terms of promotion and marketing, positive engagement with beer geeks as well as being an easy revenue opportunity. Don’t overthink it, just do it.

So while recently scanning about 200 odd of the 500+ craft breweries in Australia I decided to do an analysis of their merch stores and was surprised by a heap of genius merch ideas and quality designs.

Here’s my selection (in no particular order) for what are some of the smartest, most creative, useful and interesting merchandise ideas from Australia’s craft breweries (well about half of them anyway!).

  1. Balter Lorikeet cap, beer opener and beer duffle.

2. Capital Brewing Cap

3. Newstead Brewing Co Beer Money gift voucher

4. BeerFarm Mug 

5. Hop Nation beer glasses

6. Stomping Ground Beer Dealer Cooler/Koozie 

7. Philter Brewing ‘Seductively Beer’ cap

8. Fixation Hop Tee 

9. Kaiju Beer Women’s Meta Hop tee, beach towel and ‘Hip Hops’ trading cards!

10. Young Henry’s enamel pins

11. Black Hops crew socks

12. Gage Roads x Jamie Browne collab hat/tee

13. Land & Sea Brewery ‘The Canimal’….ok so it’s a tinnie but their designs are damn fine and I had to include a beer on this list as we all take one of them home from our brewery visits!

14. Moon Dog Summer Survival Pack that includes Old Mate Pale Ale, Love Tap Lager, Beer Can, sunnies, stubby holder and some sweet sweatbands!

15. Stone and Wood Ingredients Tee. The old faithful. I’ve had about 3 of these over the last 10 years or so.

16. 3 Ravens ‘Juicy Tee’. Just hot! 

17. Boat Rocker RamJet gift set. Smart idea at a good price!


So there you have a very one sided, beer geek biased, personally chosen list of what I think are some clever merch ideas from our great Aussie craft breweries. It might not be to everyone’s liking but there’s lots of ideas to like here and plenty to get colleagues thinking about what might work for their audiences and beer fans at their brewery. However, as always with my work if you have seen something that should be added to the list or something that’s worth talking about then please touch base and I’ll take a squizz and give it a shout out. 

Thanks for reading.

Blair Hughes

Blair Hughes is an award winning, globally respected fan engagement specialist who helps clients in the
sports, music and craft beer industries grow their fan bases, improve fan experiences and create new
business and revenue opportunities. You can follow him on Twitter at @MrBlairHughes or here at (I’m also brand ambassador at Two Bays Brewing Co running events and sales- come say hi at an event or the taproom sometime!)


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