How the Danbury, C.T. brewery is shifting their strategy and keeping brand awareness alive in the midst of COVID-19.
P. Scott Vallely, Founder, President and Brewmaster of Charter Oak Brewing Company located in Danbury, CT., told MediaCrossing he misses the “energy level, crowds, and conversations” that once took place inside his brewery’s taproom.
Like many businesses in Connecticut, Charter Oak has been impacted by the stay-at-home orders that were put in place as a result of COVID-19.
Before the coronavirus pandemic, Charter Oak visitors enjoyed spending quality time inside the brewery’s taproom, where they were able to try just some of the many unique, handcrafted beers that featured within the brewery’s 10 rotating draft lines. While there, visitors were invited to participate in one of the many taproom events - ranging from trivia nights, bingo, and community panel discussions.
When COVID-19’s stay-at-home orders arrived, there was still plenty of beer to be drunk, games to be played, and memories to be made. Knowing this, Vallely and his team at Charter Oak chose to pivot their previous sales and communication strategies, and adapt their business model to fit the needs of the new stay-at-home economy. Although a challenge, they aimed to ensure that all of the special memories and bonds that were previously being made at the brewery continued - just continued differently.
Finding New Ways to Deliver Value to the Stay-at-Home Customer
Once stay-at-home orders began, Charter Oak introduced “Grab and Go” curbside pick-up, where beer orders and payments are made over the phone, and pickup at the brewery is made available within the same day.
Even though customers aren’t able to spend quality time like they used to, Vallely told MediaCrossing that those who come to pick up their orders have enjoyed getting out of the house and coming to the brewery during this time.
To meet the needs of customers who feel uncomfortable leaving their homes, Charter Oak has made a “Ding-Dong-Ditch” contactless delivery option available, where local customers can make over-the-phone beer orders that are delivered straight to their doorstep - all within the very same day.
As for the events, Charter Oak has seen success in taking some of their most popular taproom activities and executing them digitally - like Wednesday Night Trivia. Vallely told MediaCrossing that many of the teams who once competed inside the brewery’s taproom have now rushed to sign-up and participate online.
Maintaining a Strong Social Media Presence and Messaging Strategy
During this time, Charter Oak works to maintain a fresh social media presence, with messaging that is constantly fine-tuned to align with delivery and pickup announcements, as well as the current beer selections.
When the draft line is updated, content is shared across social media with a “What’s In Your Glass” tagline, accompanied by a description of what’s currently on tap and available to order.
Sometimes, messaging across social media will simply focus on supporting local businesses, supplemented with hashtags like #ctbeerlovers #drinklocal and #danburybrewery.
Future Growth Opportunities and “Keeping the Brand Alive”
Delivering and promoting the transport-friendly packaging of Charter Oak’s beer in the form of cans, growlers and kegs, has been a great way to spread awareness amongst customers on the variety of their product offerings. Charter Oak’s “Grab and Go” pickup and “Ding-Dong-Ditch” delivery options may pave the way for long-term growth opportunities, as these packaging options could remain top-of-mind for beer buyers within the Danbury area in the future.
When discussing Charter Oak’s new COVID-19 tailored initiatives, Vallely emphasized the importance of businesses keeping efforts steady during times of uncertainty - especially small businesses. “You got to keep the awareness and brand alive” described Vallely.
The promotion of their new delivery and pickup options, as well as maintaining an active social media presence, are just some of the ways Charter Oak is prioritizing their efforts in elevating brand awareness during this time.
Customer Sentiment and Community Response
When it comes to customer sentiment and the overall response to their new strategies, Vallely told MediaCrossing that beer buyers within the community have been extremely supportive of local craft breweries like Charter Oak. He believes that the customers who continue to buy Charter Oak beer during this time are “doing it to support us - and that’s the most touching thing.”
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