In the age of small and local, some of the more mature craft beer brands in the US are looking to new markets to find the relevance, brand awareness and the resulting sales that they seek. For the 28 year old Brooklyn Brewery this means investing heavily in markets all over the world including The UK, Sweden, Australia and more recentlt East Asia, thanks to the recent sale of a 24% stake in the business to Japan’s Kirin.
But finding that relevance isn’t as simple as just shipping over a few containers worth of beer, throwing a launch party and hoping it sells. Building relevance requires the careful investment of time and resources and Brooklyn, who’ve been exporting to beer to the UK for over a decade, should know more about this than most. In fact, such is the success of their export market that 45% the beer it produces is now sold overseas.
Rachael Weseloh has been Brooklyn’s UK brand ambassador for just over two years now. As well as being the brewery’s eyes and ears on the ground, she’s also throwing events like Brooklyn’s popular Beer Mansion and annual Mash party, which are creating a deep sense of engagement with consumers, while behind the scenes it’s endearing the brand to wholesalers and retailers alike.
Weseloh originally hails from Humboldt County in the North of California and it was here she began her beer journey, working for Fortuna’s Eel River Brewing Company. She eventually made her way to Paris, where she worked in the French capitals vibrant Cocktail scene, before she eventually landed her gig with Brooklyn and made London her home.
Over the next hour or so Weseloh and I chat about this continuing search for relevance by beer brands and just how important markets like the UK are to Brooklyn as the brewery continues to increases the impetus behind its export program. We also chat about Brooklyn’s sister breweries, Swedens New Carnigie and Norway’s E. C. Dahl’s as well as the brewery’s relationships with its distributor, Carlsberg and it’s new partner, Kirin.