Destination Marketing Tips | Drinking in Vermont's Brew Trail
I became aware of Vermont's craft beer culture while overseeing content marketing and public relations and creating a logo and brand for The Quechee Club Music Fest. When deciding to go on a vacation, or simply a short weekend getaway, people don’t just look for a location to travel to - they look for a destination. It is because of this that place branding is so important for the tourism industry. People want experiences. They want to visit a destination that has something enticing and special to offer. Place branding does just this- it utilizes images, keywords and other forms of tactical marketing to promote a product or location.
The state of Vermont is a prime example of how place branding can turn a location into a destination. Vermont has a lot to offer- green mountains, open fields, a relaxing atmosphere. However, through the use of place branding, other aspects of Vermont are highlighted and marketed to the public. Vermont has always been well known because of its purity and simplicity, yet in the past several years other attractions have drawn travelers to the Green Mountain State.
These other attractions are none other than the microbreweries scattered throughout the state, all of which offer the opportunity for individuals to pay a visit and learn about the various local beers. To date, there are thirty different microbreweries in the state of Vermont. Among these thirty are the more well-known brands such as Magic Hat, Harpoon, and Long Trail, along with many others (click here to view the entire list).
All of these microbreweries team up in an effort to attract visitors by participating in the Vermont Brewers Association Passport Program. This “passport” encourages travelers to visit all the micro breweries in Vermont by offering free giveaways based on how many breweries are visited. The passport is available for free online and is quite simple to use. You download the passport, which lists all of the breweries and brewpubs in Vermont. Then, when a new brewery is visited each Association member stamps your passport. Once you’re finished with the brewery visits, simply send in your completed passport to the Vermont Brewer’s Association and receive a gift! To view the passport, or read more about the various gift offerings, visit the Passport Program website.
Selling a Brand and a Place
In 2010, brand research was done for Vermont in order to explore ways to enhance the state’s place branding and overall image. Results indicated that in order to draw in visitors, Vermont providers should emphasize Vermont’s unique attributes and utilize images and messages relevant to Vermont in advertisements. The Passport Program of the Vermont Brewers Association does just this.
The Passport Program highlights Vermont’s uniqueness by drawing attention to the dozens of Vermont-based microbreweries. Attention is drawn to the unique fact that Vermont is a small state, yet ranks 1st nationally for the most craft breweries per capita. This fact alone has the ability to draw in visitors from near and far. The Vermont Brewers Association website displays the slogan, “Small state. Big beer”, which in itself emphasizes Vermont’s ability to do so much with such a small state. Images of Vermont’s fall leaves adorns the website’s backdrop, enticing individuals with the idea of the state’s autumn beauty. The result is that Vermont related imagery, messaging and unique attributes are all emphasized by the Vermont Brewers Association to attract visitors.
The Vermont Brewers Association uses place branding in order to turn Vermont into a premiere destination for beer lovers everywhere. By highlighting this unique aspect of Vermont, the state is able to bring in even more visitors, and further expand its range of attractiveness. For more information on the Vermont Brewers Association or the Passport Program, visit their website here!
About Michael Conway
I'm the owner and strategist at Means-of-Production. My firm builds Squarespace websites, Houzz profiles, and content marketing and advertising solutions for architects, interior designers, design-build contractors and landscape design firms. Our all-in-one marketing tactics attract the right clients with exceptional architectural photography and brand messaging that sets you apart from the competition.