“Progressive beer duty” does not sound like legislation to thrill the heart. But it’s a big part of the reason the average British pint has markedly improved over the past decade. The 2002 regulation, introduced by Gordon Brown, offered tax incentives for breweries making fewer than 3m litres of beer per year. In giving smaller providers a financial leg-up against the commercial giants, the regulation cleared the way for small independent brewers to thrive.
Just last week we had the announcement that the number of new trademark registrations in the UK for craft beer brands has risen from 1,666 in 2015 to 1,983 in 2016 – an overall increase of 19%. The last time we saw such a rise in these registrations was in 2007 when 968 were recorded. Since 2007, therefore, trademark registrations have increased by 104% and as a result of this, UK craft beer value sales grew by 23% last year.
Someone who knows all about these trends better than most is Lancashire based Crafty Beer Cans which was founded in May of this year by RIchard Scott, a craft beer enthusiast. Richard had watched (and drank!) with keen interest the rapidly growing craft beer movement in the U.K. With new breweries seemingly starting up every week, many taking their inspiration from the more mature craft beer market in the U.S., he felt it was time to turn his interest into a business. The business has become a real family affair with both Richard’s father and father in law offering plentiful advice, having both run successful businesses and the latter having extensive retail background. Richard’s wife, Anna, a lawyer by trade, has offered a keen creative eye and support on the ground. Even 2 year old daughter Rose has been known to “help” pack orders!
As a business, Crafty Beer Cans has been carefully researching the way that the beer market has reinvented itself worldwide and not least in the UK. The ecommerce business works with breweries across the country in their quest to provide the very best that craft breweries have to offer. Their focus is on building close relationships with partner breweries whilst always keeping their ear to the ground about new products and trends.
Founder, Richard, says: ‘A whole new generation of craft breweries have emerged over the last few years. Initially, these beers will have only been available on tap to a small local audience, however the craft brewers then diversified into bottles to reach a wider at home market. The move to cans has allowed for absolute quality, which is the hallmark of the industry, to be better guaranteed. Market trends are now firmly in this direction.’
Crafty Beer Cans who pitch themselves as ‘your first choice for Craft Beer in Cans’ have been on a huge journey to get to where they are. Teaming up with North West based web design agency, MadeByShape they have been working tirelessly to develop the brand, build a new ecommerce website and create an SEO strategy to take their rankings from the bottom up. As they began working together, Crafty Beer Cans and MadeByShape carried out a full competitor analysis and became increasingly confident that there was a real gap in the market for a strong brand to take over.
The entire project was complete within 6 months, from full branding and direction to launch of the site. Founder of MadebyShape says: ‘We have never worked in the beer industry before. Some of our lads here at MadeByShape drink craft beer and visit some craft beer events in Manchester throughout the year, but a personal connection with this client gave real passion to the project. Not only that, but the research showed that there are only a few other main competitors who dominate the whole market. This was a real opportunity for us to make an impact and pave the way for Crafty Beer Cans to takeover.
‘We like to set goals here at Shape and challenge ourselves. Instead of just producing nice, clean, minimalistic websites that win awards for design, we understand functionality and performance is just as important. Crafty Beer Cans is a relatively local business to us also, so it feels like we are helping a local businessman achieve big goals, something which is at the core of what we seek to do as an agency.’
Both Andy and Richard admit that starting from scratch was the the biggest challenge as their competitors are big brands, well known within Google and spend much more on advertising each month.
Andy says: ‘Taking a brand new domain name, new website and new brand to the first page of Google is a challenge, however we feel confident of achieving this within 12 months. Richard, founder of Crafty Beer Cans, is also open to our innovative ideas and suggestions which has made the project even more exciting. Certain features that other industries are using on websites that may not be used in the beer industry. We aim to give the website the best possible performance through monitoring and tweaking. Features like a distinct checkout that is reduced in clicks all helps improve conversion rates on the site.’