How many great pubs, bars and breweries do you know that don't have Twitter accounts? Facebook pages? Blogs? Websites, even? Why aren't they rising to the lure of new media social networking? Who can afford to ignore marketing in a 2.0 stylee?

I know several great local brewers and pubs who don't really give a stuff for internet marketing. Why not? Because they're too busy brewing/selling beer, successfully. They meet a local market demand. They're not interested in virtual fans, nor do they wish to preach to the converted.

They're known locally for their quality. Their real-life followers/friends - sorry, customers - endorse that quality via word of mouth. Word of mouth is a highly effective marketing tool. Note - word of *mouth*; not word of Tweet. Not word of Blog. Not an online recommendation too often lost in the incessant virtual din of whichever social media channel you tune in to.

I've spent the last few months trying to convince some great brewers and publicans to embrace the prospects of new media. Not for the sake of it, but because I thought their product/service was great and that they'd have an original contribution to make. A (nameless) few told be exactly what they thought of social media, in terms that would make even Frankie Boyle blush. But one experience was particularly salutary.

A rural pub, in October. Outside, it's dark, cold; rain has pushed over and will be back before closing time. Inside, the pub is busy. Diners, darts players, young bucks passing through, old salts ensconced for the evening. "Busy again!", I tell the landlord. "Aye," he says, "and your Twitter wouldn't make me any busier!".

Perhaps he's right. Perhaps it's the same with the brewer who, whilst being persuaded to blog about his exploits, replied "I'm too busy selling out all the beer I can brew". Perhaps they're blinkered by current success. But perhaps they're satisfied with managing successfully the market they've worked hard to develop, even in these straitened times.

Exposure to new media can be a chastening experience for small businesses. Think of every website you've seen that was thrown up "because everybody's doing it', only to see it gather virtual cobwebs as resources and inclination run dry. Perhaps that's why some entrepreneurial publicans and brewers are more than happy to stay away from those channels. And some of them are making it look like a smart choice. After all, just because you can blow your own trumpet, you don't have to upload it to YouTube...


  1. What I'd really love to see is a central site or feed where any landlord who sells interesting beer could sign up and input information on which beers are available. Imagine being able to search for a pub in London selling, e.g., Theakston's Mild? I think it's great that Jeff (aka Stonch) tells people what he's selling -- he's got the right idea about using the internet to boost business -- but I'm not going to browse blogs or websites for every pub in London to see what they're selling.

    Ditto brewers -- would be great if there was a single source of news on who's brewing what, when, and where they expect it to be on sale. It was nice to hear about Adnams experimental range of seasonal beers, but a bit annoying that I had to email them to ask which pubs were actually selling them.

  2. Agree. breweries seem to be ok at sending out email mailing lists, but don't update thier sites at all. Case in point recently, I asked Roosters what they were up to and got a decent list of six new beers back. If you'd have been on thier site, you wouldn't have known they were still in existence! I think that not embracing the world of information-led internet publicity, they are doing themselves a massive disservice. At the end of the day, only companies that look to the future will survive.