Cheddar Ales: Marketing Consultancy

by | Apr 15, 2020


On the wave of craft beer, how does a traditional brewery stay current?

Cheddar Ales were one of the first breweries set up under the small brewer’s tax relief scheme. They made award-winning brews for a traditional, countryside market. Then the wave of craft beer came crashing over the Mendip Hills from inner-city breweries and suddenly Cheddar Ales saw both opportunities and threats on their horizon. I joined as a marketing and sales consultant with the business objective of growing the brewery name from a local to a regional brand.


Making small changes and shouting louder

To start, we reassessed the pricing model, with both profitability and branding in mind. Then we reviewed and amended the packaging of the core range, working with a designer to maintain the core brand attributes but modernise the look and feel and better coordinate the range. The brewers worked hard on creating a calendar of limited-edition releases to coincide with appropriate press dates and campaigns. Then we reviewed digital content, making below-the-line changes to the website and social channels. Finally, we worked on new listings in both regional retail and wholesale suppliers, resulting in the permanent hire of a skilled and experienced account manager. The tenure finished with the coordination of the 10th-anniversary brewery festival.


A business model that works

Each of the core brand lines increased in both profitability and sales. Many of them were listed in nationally recognised retailers (Waitrose, for example) or placed strategically with independent craft beer off-licenses. The core range was handed over to a national wholesaler to increase on-trade sales in the South West. We launched nine seasonal limited-edition releases which received both local and national press, reaching over 2 million readers. Twitter followers increased by 72% and Facebook by 20%. The launch of the direct mail newsletter outperformed the industry average for opens, and several B2C and B2B promotions were successfully communicated, including the 10th Anniversary party, attended by over 600 guests.