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Brews and Barbecue Hit Bedford

PR and Marketing for a Brewery Opening

Marketing for a Brewery Grand Opening

Has the Capital of the South become the Capital of the Suds? With more than 30 breweries (and counting!) now open in Richmond, it would sure seem so. And just like rebels of old, breweries are marching to their own drum throughout the Old Dominion. The latest outpost is in Bedford where Beale’s has staked a local claim to the craft beer market.

We were proud to be on hand to help Beale’s kickoff its new venture, devising a sort of concentric circle marketing strategy that initially focused on beer drinkers and barbecue lovers living within 35 miles of where the aroma of hops and BBQ originates, and then working outward. The launch campaign included traditional and social media, both designed to build awareness and excitement about the opening.

Beale's Bedford

On tap: not just beer but media too

Beale’s is the first brewery in the Town of Bedford, a fact that generated a lot of local buzz leading up to its opening. So did the brewery’s name, borrowed from a Blue Ridge legend involving ciphers and buried treasure. We couldn’t help on the treasure front, but we were able to help solve the intrigue around the much-anticipated brewery. In advance of Beale’s official opening to the public, we coordinated a sneak peek for local media, giving them chance to share in the Beale’s experience firsthand, interview the Beale’s team and even sample some of its thirst-quenching and mouth-watering offerings. And by the size of the crowd, you would have thought we were handing out clues to solving the cipher.

Media results

The media tour resulted in on-air coverage from the three major TV stations in the region with WSLS, WDBJ and WSET each sending a camera crew and sharing the details of the grand opening on their nightly news broadcasts.

Beyond television coverage, we were able to secure placements in The Roanoke Times, Bedford Bulletin, Lynchburg News and Advance, Virginia Business, Virginia Foodie, Richmond BizSense,, The Barley Blog, Virginia Brew Hub, THIS! Magazine and Mid-Atlantic Brewing News, not to mention items in The Richmond Times-Dispatch and Style Weekly.

As a result of our pre-opening pitching, Beale’s also was featured in social media posts by Bedford First, Cheers VA, The Clutch Guide, Hill City Bride and on the Facebook pages of WSLS, WDBJ and WSET.

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Using social media to reach the right people

We were no less busy on the social media front. From the get go, we focused on two objectives for our social media efforts:

  • Building community (key metric: Facebook page likes and Instagram followers)
  • Generating awareness of Beale’s and the June 24 opening (key metric: impressions)

We spent one day collecting visual assets (photos, video, Boomerangs) on site to support a month’s worth of content for both Facebook and Instagram. We also used Trello to manage the content approval process with the client, which was crucial because our content was so image heavy.

Here are a few examples of our best performing social posts leading up to the opening:

We cracked one open to celebrate.

A post shared by Beale’s Beer (@beales_beer) on

You’ll notice that we were able to create a very distinct brand voice to use in all of our social posts, which was based off the brand guidelines that were shared with us.

Social Results

We worked with the client to set SMART goals and a strategic framework to achieve those goals, and we were quite pleased with the results:

  • Facebook fans increased 232%
  • Instagram followers increased 361%
  • We generated more than 81,000 organic impressions on Facebook and nearly 6,000 impressions on Instagram
  • We generated more than 27,000 paid impressions of sponsored content on Facebook to a geographically targeted audience for less than $180

Opening weekend Beale’s saw more than 680 customers walk through the door, and we know they were engaged on social because more than 225 people checked in on Facebook at Beale’s on opening day alone.

If you’re headed to the Bedford, Lynchburg, Roanoke or Smith Mountain Lake area, we’d recommend making a stop at Beale’s. Just promise us you’ll use #TreasureYourBeer in your posts on social so we can follow along!

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POSTED IN: Media Relations, Public Relations, Social Marketing, Social Media, The Hodges Partnership

Kelsey Leavey

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The Hodges Partnership
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Richmond, Virginia 23223
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