The American Craft Beer Festival, the “largest beer festival in the Northeast” with over 15,000 attendees each year, recently took place in Boston’s Seaport district. Over 140 breweries showed up to share their favorite brews with thousands of beer lovers. Crimson Hexagon monitored conversation surrounding the event to see what people thought of the festival, what the interests and passions of the people engaging the festival online, and if the festival’s use of Twitter as a content tool for promotion was successful in marketing to such a distinct segment of the general twitter population.
The event was heavily promoted throughout Boston, with flyers distributed to over 500 businesses in downtown Boston alone. Beer Advocate had also branded the promotion of the festival through a series of their own hashtags: #ACBF and #AmericanCraftBeerFestival were the official tags for the event.
Using our social media listening platform ForSight, we analyzed the conversation since tickets for ACBF first went on sale in January 2014. From the debut through the festival, most of the Twitter discussion surrounding the beer festival came from breweries who were excited to attend. Twitter conversation among consumers and attendees gradually picked up throughout the month of May, with the volume of responses exploding in the last few days before the event, and during the festival itself.
The hosting company, Beer Advocate is “a global, grassroots network powered by an independent community of beer enthusiasts and industry professionals who are dedicated to supporting and promoting beer”. BA is known for their beer expert prowess and professional opinion ratings can be crucial in promoting or disavowing distinguished beers in local beer markets. Brooklyn Brewery topped the list of the most Influential Twitter Authors with a Klout score of 80.
Brooklyn Brewery tweeted often in support of the American Craft Beer Festival, hinting to their brew line that would be available at the event. Brooklyn Brewery is a well-known and successful brewery, whose beers are nationally recognized by Beer Advocate with over 29,000 reviews on their site. This strong relationship with a popular brand garnered additional attention within their niche marketing pool to spread the word about ACBF.
The most-mentioned handle was, perhaps predictably, @BeerAdvocate with over 530 mentions, followed by @treehousebrewco. CraftMass, the leading wholesaler of craft brews in Massachusetts and used free tickets as a promotional tool, was also on the list of most mentioned handles.
The top hashtags used in the social conversation about the festival were #acbf, the abbreviated name of the event, and #craftbeer. The most retweeted post came from @CraftMass, and the hosting company, Beer Advocate, had three other major tweets within the top retweets. One of the most prevalent words posted was treehousebrewco, which referred to the “YAHHHRRRGGG!” beer which premiered at the festival as a partnership brew between Lawson’s Finest Liquids and Tree House Brewing Company. Lawson’s proves to be one of the most exclusive breweries in the country, and draws attention for their successful array of beers. Another top tweet from @bostontweet had a great deal of success, as the language conveyed the joy of the event with beer aficionados:
Craft beer has long been a male dominated topic of conversation. It seems that pattern continues through the festival, however almost one in four commenters on ABCF this year were women.
The language in Tweets surrounding the American Craft Beer Festival was straightforward. “beer, ACBF, and beeradvocate” were used the most, and words like “tonight”, “ready” and “excited” garnered attention in relation to these top words.
The Affinities tool we developed to analyze the passions and interests of social media participants showed some insightful statistics regarding similarities between attendees. Here are some of the key takeaways from the Affinities monitor for The American Craft Beer Festival: 7 “interests” were over 1,000 times more likely to be identified with people who are talking about the American Craft Beer Festival on Twitter:
- Portland, Maine
- Homebrew Games
- Home Brewing
- Sonoma Count
- The Boston Globe
The social conversation around the festival shows a high correlation of interests between authors compared to the general census of Twitter users. In other words, people tweeting about the event tend to have strong affinities for niche topics around brewing beer. Most geographic locations listed highly in Affinities were within the northeast. The only extraneous location is Sonoma County, another area of the United State associated with wine, beer, and brewing. The lists of popular interests match the craft brew-loving crowd, as many like to brew their own beer from scratch. The strength of these affinities remind us how the patrons of this event really share in very similar interests. The festival’s reach into the highly-engaged home-brewing audience may explain why this event has been so successful for the last 7 years.
Overall sentiment regarding the event was positive, with the proportion of basic positive posts increasing by 3% over the last 5 months. Basic negative sentiment decreased by 21% over the last 5 months. As ACBF drew nearer, Tweets became increasingly positive as beer lovers excitement grew towards attending the annual festival. The negative Tweets in the last few days related to rowdy behavior from patrons after they left the festival. Following the event, the Beer Advocate posted a message to their Facebook followers: “Big thanks to everyone who supported this year’s #ACBF! And a big CHEERS to the brewers, volunteers, and attendees!” Marketing to a particular niche such as craft beer lovers can be hit or miss; it seems however, the goal to connect local beer lovers in the northeast with outstanding brews was a rousing success for the seventh year in a row.
For additional insight into using social analysis to tap into niche markets, we invited you to download our eBook study: Trends, Brands, and Ethics In Beverage Industry.