Rainier beer has a tremendous hipster beer appeal in the Pacific Northwest. The Rainier tall boy is a staple in the Seattle neighborhoods of Ballard, Freemont and Capitol Hill. Drinking Rainier is a badge.
2 things that this brand does not have: 1) Large marketing budgets 2) Distribution across the US. The “Great American Beer Swap” campaign address both of those issues. Leveraging their social media outlets (Flickr, Vimeo, Twitter and Facebook), Rainier beer will tell a story about 2 men traveling to Texas and exchanging 100 cases of non-existent Rainier beer in Texas for 100 cases of non-existent Lone Star beer in Washington. Sharing is caring. The countdown is upon us for their September 2nd departure. Check each social media outlet for updates.
To help support their journey, they have set up a pay pal account for donations. Those donations will go to “gas and the inevitable legal fees.” Interesting choice of using pay pal vs. the popular project funding program Kickstarter. The attention and viralness that Kickstarter generates, should warranted a project. In my opinion, forgoing Kickstarter was a major failure. Before their journey began, they could have insured themselves minimum costs were covered and extended the reach of this unique journey in the viral world. Their overall success of this campaign depends on social media and potential donations. Extremely doubt conventional media outlets will be used to share their story.
Craft breweries across the country need to steal this concept and implement immediately. Partnering on brewing a common batch is old news and outdated. Craft brands need to adopt a Beer Exchange program. If variety is the spice of life, let consumers taste something they have yet to be introduced to.
Former beer executive and well-respected craft beer business supporter Anat Baron is quoted in this article as saying: “If people want a product, but they can’t get it, is that fair?” She questions the current 3 tier system and the lobbying power those major breweries have. 2 sub premium beers have done something about that issue and taught the craft breweries a lesson. Rainier took action instead of gripping. Granted, beer is a business and eventually need to sell the product vs. giving it away to consumers. Still, Rainier and Lone Star were not deterred from sharing their brands with consumers who do not have access to it. They thought outside of the box while working with the current legal laws.
Sip before you drink. Drink before you Chug.