I live in a craft beer household, and I have for many years now. Craft breweries are a growing part of the beer fabric of the country – in Ontario there are now over 270 registered breweries, according to the Ontario Brewers Directory. However, they are still relatively small, especially when you think of the large conglomerates like Molson and Labatt, who themselves are owned by even larger conglomerates (Molson Coors and Interbrew, respectively). But even the small can be mighty when they feel threatened, and social media has a significant role to play in enabling those smaller groups to amplify their message.
Case in point – this week the Ontario PC government rolled out their “Buck a Beer challenge,” fulfilling a promise they had made on the campaign trail to lower the minimum price of beer to $1 from the current level of $1.25. (If you live in another province, or under a rock, click here for a recap of the news.)
Apart from the one brewery where Premier Doug Ford made his announcement, the response by the craft brewery industry was unanimously against the idea. Immediately the social media engines (which likely means 1 person at each brewery who does 5 other jobs) of the craft brewery industry sprung to life, denouncing the government “offer” to sell beer for $1.
A full-on social media onslaugh ensued – the craft breweries were all over Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and more, telling their followers why they wouldn’t be participating in the “challenge.” From there, the impact spread to the traditional networks, with representatives from breweries around the province speaking to their local media, and in many cases, spreading to outlets across the province and the nation – all within a couple hours of the announcement.
In the pre-social media days, sure the traditional media outlets would have picked up the story, and the local craft brewery spokesperson would have trotted out their message, but it wouldn’t have had the power that it does today, or the reach. As beer writer, Jordan St. John, noted on Twitter: “Coming through the #buckabeer channel. I think this might finally be the situation where Ontario breweries, regardless of @OntCraftBrewers membership realize they outweigh the government 260:1 on social media. Took you long enough.”
What do you think? What other “little guy” stories can you think of where social media has helped them outweigh the “big guy?”
The craft brewer vs the government – a story of the little guy on social media. #buckabeer #ontcraftbrewers https://bit.ly/2vwUYS7
Goliath the government vs David the craft brewer – how does social media help the little guy? https://bit.ly/2vwUYS7