Aug 09, 2012 at 01:35 PM
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How Big Beers Sponsor Small Without Bullying Local Breweries

When big brands (with bigger marketing budgets) descend on fast growing local events, it's often a sensitive issue. On one hand, bigger brands can offer more resources to make the event better for eventgoers. On the other hand, loyal local sponsors often get pushed out due to exclusivity issues. For fans and consumers, this can often send the wrong message in these cynical corporate times.

For brewers like Sierra Nevada and expanding its local sponsorship efforts, the secret is remaining respectful to the local brewing community while working diligently to make the event better than it was before.

As the Asheville Citizen-Times chronicles, bigger brewers like Sierra Nevada and New Belgium have a delicate task in attempting to expand through sponsorship of smaller, local events without offending longstanding community sponsors and their loyal customers.

The solution, according to Oscar Wong, who runs local Asheville, NC brewer Highland Brewing, is doing away with exclusivity so that big beer brands and local breweries can work together to make events better using their own core competencies. While big brands may be able to pay rights fees, local brands can provide product and a sense of community. Wong says each has something to offer at their own respective sponsorship level.

“In the past, we have been asked to be the sponsor of an event for many thousands of dollars,” he told the Asheville Citizen-Times. “We have said that we might be able to offer some beer. They could be headliners. We have never been at that level.”

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