What marketing strategies should UK craft beer breweries adopt to expand internationally?

In the rapidly changing beer industry, UK craft beer breweries are increasingly looking to expand their reach beyond local markets. The global beer market is a competitive landscape, with numerous brands vying for consumer attention. As you aspire to take your brewery to the global stage, it is essential to understand the dynamics of the international beer market and adopt effective marketing strategies. We delve into this topic, discussing various aspects you should consider, such as consumer preferences, brand positioning, and the role of digital marketing.

Understand International Beer Consumers

Before you venture into new territories, it's crucial to understand the international beer consumers. Market research will help you comprehend the taste preferences, purchase habits, and expectations of customers in different countries.

Beer consumers across the world are not a homogenous group. Their preferences vary widely, influenced by factors like culture, socioeconomic status, and local brewing traditions. For instance, while consumers in China and India lean towards strong beers, those in Belgium and Germany prefer traditional or craft beers.

Learning about these nuances will help you tailor your products to suit local palates. Moreover, understanding consumer buying habits, such as preferred purchase channels (online or in-store) and frequency of purchase, will guide your sales and distribution strategies.

Additionally, it's important to grasp consumers' expectations from craft beer. In many markets like the US and Australia, craft beer is associated with quality, authenticity, and local production. If similar sentiments exist in your target markets, your marketing messages should emphasize these aspects.

Build a Strong Brand

In a crowded global beer market, standing out will be a challenge. Building a strong brand is a powerful way to attract attention and secure customer loyalty. Your brand is more than just your logo or tagline – it embodies your brewery's personality, values, and promise to your consumers.

Firstly, focus on creating a unique brand identity. This will involve defining your brand's mission, voice, and visual elements, all of which should reflect your brewery's individuality and resonate with your target consumers.

Next, consider how your brand can differentiate itself in the market. For example, you could position your brewery as an environmentally-conscious brand, aligning with the growing trend of consumer interest in sustainable products. Alternatively, your brand could emphasize its heritage and craftsmanship, appealing to consumers who appreciate authenticity and tradition.

Lastly, ensure consistency in all your branding efforts. This means maintaining a uniform voice and aesthetic in all your marketing materials and touchpoints, from your beer labels to your social media posts.

Leverage Digital Marketing

As you eye global expansion, the digital space offers immense opportunities for reaching and engaging with international consumers. Digital marketing is cost-effective, offers precise targeting, and provides insights into consumer behaviour.

The first step is to have a professionally designed and user-friendly website. Your website should effectively communicate your brand identity, provide information about your products, and if possible, offer online sales.

Social media platforms are powerful tools for brand awareness and engagement. Regularly posting content that adds value to your followers (such as behind-the-scenes insights, beer brewing tips, or fun facts about beer) will keep your brand top of mind.

Email marketing is another effective digital marketing channel. Collecting email addresses from website visitors, and sending them regular newsletters or product updates, will keep them engaged and drive repeat sales.

Additionally, consider investing in online advertising, such as Google Ads or social media ads. These platforms offer precise targeting options, allowing you to reach potential customers in specific locations, with specific interests.

Collaborate with Local Partners

Partnering with local businesses in your target markets can significantly ease your international expansion efforts. Local partners, whether they are distributors, retailers, or even other breweries, bring valuable insights about the market and established networks that you can leverage.

On the distribution front, work with partners who have a strong presence in your target locations and understand the local beer industry well. They will be able to guide you in regulatory matters, logistics, and devising effective sales strategies.

Retail partnerships can also be beneficial. Collaborating with popular local pubs or beer shops can give your products excellent exposure. Moreover, their endorsement can help build trust in your brand among local consumers.

Lastly, consider collaborating with local breweries. This can take the form of brewing collaborations, where you develop a special beer together, or marketing collaborations, where you jointly promote your beers. Such partnerships can lend credibility to your brand and introduce your beers to a wider audience.

Innovate Constantly

In the dynamic beer industry, innovation is key to staying relevant and competitive. This applies not just to your beer recipes, but also to your marketing strategies, packaging, and customer experiences.

To innovate in your products, keep an eye on emerging beer trends globally and locally. For instance, non-alcoholic beers, fruit-infused beers, and organic beers are seeing rising popularity in various markets.

In terms of marketing, look for fresh and creative ways to engage your consumers. This could involve using augmented reality on your beer labels, hosting virtual beer tasting events, or launching a beer subscription service.

Innovation in packaging can also set your brand apart. Eco-friendly packaging, reusable growlers, or unique bottle designs can make your beers stand out on the shelf and align with your brand's values.

Lastly, strive to provide innovative customer experiences. Whether it's a unique brewery tour, a personalized beer recommendation engine on your website, or excellent customer service, memorable experiences will build stronger connections with your customers and encourage brand loyalty.

In conclusion, successfully taking your craft beer business global requires a keen understanding of your target consumers, a strong and consistent brand, effective use of digital marketing, strategic local partnerships, and constant innovation. It's a complex and challenging journey, but with the right strategies, your craft beers can certainly find their place on the global beer map.

Embrace Brewery Software

Taking your craft beer business to global markets demands efficient management of operations, and brewery software can be a game-changer. This digital solution can streamline your supply chain, improve inventory management, and enhance quality control, all while saving time and reducing errors.

The beer industry is no stranger to technology. From big beer companies to small craft breweries, many have embraced brewery software to manage their business. This software often includes features for recipe management, production scheduling, inventory control, and sales tracking.

In the context of international expansion, brewery software can be especially useful. It can help you monitor and manage your operations in different countries, ensuring consistency in your beer production. For instance, it can help you track the supply of your raw materials, the progress of your brewing processes, and the distribution of your products. This gives you a clear overview of your operations and enables you to make data-driven decisions.

Another major advantage of brewery software is that it can integrate with other digital tools, such as e-commerce platforms or social media. This allows you to manage your sales and marketing efforts from a single platform, making your work more efficient.

In sum, brewery software can be a powerful tool for UK craft beer breweries looking to expand internationally. It simplifies complex processes, provides valuable insights, and ultimately, supports you in delivering your best beer to customers around the world.

Understand the Market Size and Share

Any business expansion, especially in the beer market, requires a detailed understanding of the market size and share. Accurately gauging the potential of the target market can make the difference between success and failure.

Firstly, market size refers to the total number of potential customers or total revenue opportunities in a particular market. Understanding the market size for craft beer in your target countries can help you estimate the potential sales and growth opportunities.

Market share, on the other hand, refers to the percentage of the total market served by your business. In other words, it's the slice of the market that you're aiming to capture. Knowing the market share of your competitors in the target market can give you insights into their strengths and weaknesses, and help you strategize accordingly.

For instance, Stella Artois, a Belgian pilsner, is the number one best-selling Belgian beer in the world. Its strong global presence and market share reflect a successful international marketing strategy that other brewers can learn from.

To gather this information, breweries can use various research methods, such as online surveys, industry reports, and market analysis tools. Universities, such as Northumbria University, often publish relevant research that can be valuable. Another approach is to collaborate with market research firms that specialize in the beer industry.

In conclusion, understanding the market size and share is vital for UK craft breweries planning to expand globally. It informs your business strategy, helps you identify opportunities and threats, and guides you in setting realistic goals.


In the ever-growing global craft beer market, UK breweries have a unique opportunity to expand internationally and increase their customer base. However, this is no easy task and requires a well-thought-out marketing strategy, deep understanding of consumer preferences, and clever utilisation of digital channels.

From understanding international beer consumers and building a strong brand to leveraging digital marketing and making strategic local partnerships, the journey requires dedication and constant innovation. Embracing technology such as brewery software can also significantly ease the process and enhance efficiency. Finally, a clear understanding of the market size and share in the target countries can provide valuable insights into the growth potential and competition.

Despite the challenges, the reward of succeeding in the international beer market is worth the effort. With the right strategies, UK craft beer breweries can certainly tap into the global craft beer market, satisfying beer lovers across the world, one pint at a time.