Thursday, December 3, 2009

Brewery Swag: Where's the Love?

It occurs to me that I love the marketing of beer and especially craft breweries. It is interesting to see the names and graphics that accompany a new brewery or a new beer from an established brewery. I love the magazine ads, the tap handles, the TV commercials (for the big boys), almost everything. I especially love the logos emblazoned on everything from temporary tattoos to t-shirts. For all of this, I have realized that own not one t-shirt or other clothing apparel from any brewery. You would think that for all the hanging around breweries and brewpubs that I have done over the years, someone, somewhere would have pulled a Mean Joe Green (remember the 1970's coke commercial, where he says "Hey Kid!" and throws the kid who gave him a coke his stinky soiled jersey?) and given me at least a t-shirt. Those who know me, know I am cheap and poor, and can't really afford such luxuries as a brewery t-shirt.

In retrospect, there is a very good reason that no one has been so generous. Breweries do a very good business selling their wares. A bad brewery with a good marketing department might even make their profit from the t-shirts and other products, while breaking even on beer. I have no statistics to back it up, but I do know a lot of people who buy t-shirts or glassware or something from every brewery they visit. I also know for a fact that poor design has cost the sale of at least one shirt/glass. My brother wanted to buy a Liberty Street Brewery t-shirt or polo, or glass (maybe more than one), but the shirt didn't include the words "Plymouth, MI" could have been Liberty Street anywhere USA....but my brother felt that the hometown should be displayed on a local brewery's shirt. Definitely, the profit on a $20 t-shirt is much larger than the profit on two or three $4 pints that the person drank while at the brewery.

Still, it would be nice to have one nice t-shirt, and would be nice to get one free for all of the promotion I do for breweries. I am not complaining. Brewers as a group are some of the most generous and giving people in any industry, and after all it is a business with tight margins. I have had many a free taster or pint of beer for just showing an interest in the beer, or conversing with the brewer.

Granted, I am no Michael Jackson (imagine the free swag that guy must have gotten every year). My words and opinion don't command a large audience, but I am no less prolific or insightful. You would think that Brekenridge, Wynkoop, Rock Bottom, or some other local brewery would throw some material love my way. Or offer me a job....any job (even to just shut me up).

Anyway, I like their art work on the outside and the inside of the bottle or glassware, and would wear any decent looking clothing item with pride should one present itself.

What are your favorite craft beer logos and why?

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