5 Examples of QR Code Marketing in the Beer Industry

January 19,2012 by 20 Comments

QR code marketing is on the rise everywhere, but the beer industry has really taken off with it.

In the video I take a look at 5 different ways they are being used and walk you though each campaign’s experience. 1 liquor store and 4 breweries are featured.

Let me know in the comments where you’ve seen QR codes being used. If you have no idea what a QR code even is, here’s the Wikipedia article on them.

You’ll need a smartphone and a reader app to scan the codes.

If you guys like these marketing case studies I’ll do more of them. Cheers.

About Billy Broas

He is the founder of The Homebrew Academy, a BJCP beer judge, and the homebrewing expert on the Rocky Mountain PBS television show Colorado Brews. He lives in the fine beer town of Denver, Colorado.

20 responses to “5 Examples of QR Code Marketing in the Beer Industry”

  1. We use them on our business cards for easy access to our website!

    • Billy Broas says:

      I think they work well on business cards, especially since not many people are doing that (yet) so it makes the cards more memorable. Thanks for chiming in Leslie.

  2. Dave Butler says:

    Most recently, Crabtree Brewing of Greeley, Colorado used a QR code as the main graphic for their gold medal winning Crabtree Berliner Weisse last year. Snapping the QR code brought you directly to a web page on the brewery site where the brewmaster gave you a video description of that beer.

    I think QR codes can be handy for getting further information on the spot, yet I feel it has yet to truly take off and be universally used.

    • Billy Broas says:

      Dave, did you watch the video? I featured Crabtree ; )

      They haven’t gained widespread adoption but I think that day is coming. A big driver is the use of smartphones since you need one in order to scan them. As more people switch to smartphones (which they are doing very quickly), we’ll see more and more qr codes.

  3. Sheppy says:

    The last several bottles of home-brew I have given away have QR codes on them (which go to http://www.sheppybrew.com where everyone can read about the beers I just gave them). I’ve done this for about 8 people. Only one has actually noticed the QR code and used it.

    • Billy Broas says:

      QR codes on homebrew – I love it. I’m not surprised there was a low “scan rate” but I think I will do it anyways just to exercise my geekdom.

      • Sheppy says:

        I’ll have to work with the marketing department of my home brewery to take steps to increase my scan rate. It is just a tiny little thing on the back of my bottles with no explanation as to what to do with it. It just goes to the homepage of the website which isn’t even smart-phone optimized. Pretty much every no-no you mentioned in the video is implemented in my use of the QR. I ought to fire someone.

  4. Sheppy says:

    By the way … when I followed your QR … I noticed your blog isn’t optimized for mobile browsers either 😉

  5. Another example from the Draft Magazine you referenced is Sun King….great beer, not so great QR strategy. They use two codes in one ad vs. simply sending to a landing page and giving options.

    QR codes provide tremendous potential for brewers to connect with consumers, to give more information on their beers, allow them to check-in to their beers..and much more. I just hope that those that are using them without any plan, don’t sour consumers on them.

    • Billy Broas says:

      Hey Pat, thanks for pointing out the Sun King codes. I just tried them out and you’re right, they should have just used one. When you’re paying that much for print ad space you should be a lot more efficient. Plus the copy on one of the landing pages has a spelling error which is a big turn off.

      QR code fatigue is a very real threat and let’s hope companies follow the lead of New Belgium and the others in doing it the smart way.

  6. Nick says:

    A small brewery in Ellensburg, WA called Iron Horse Brewery puts them on their bottle caps with the words “scan with your phone” around the QR code. Upon scanning, it takes the user to a mobile site with details on that particular beer.

    • Billy Broas says:

      That’s smart to put them on the bottle caps – it’s very noticeable and usually not used for anything important. Thanks for sharing.

      • Parker says:

        Might be another good use for bottlemark.com. 12 cents a piece is a small price to pay for cutting edge QR bottle caps on my homebrew!

  7. NapkinsOnly says:

    Great post Billy, some really good information here…
    Would love it if you profiled us in one of your future blog posts, we will reciprocate.
    We have created the world’s first digital “web-enabled” cocktail napkin, we call it ScanNap.
    Take a look: http://www.ScanNap.com

  8. Terry Dicks says:

    We automatically generate codes for all of the beers in our database (that is maintained by UK brewers).

    We also create the mobile content on the fly for all our users, so they don’t even have to think about another web page, hosting or updates. They can link their home pages in, but users have to pass through well formatted mobile pages first. Check out our QR demonstrator here for how each one looks….


    The UK is a bit slow on the QR uptake, I think it just needs phone makers to have a reader app pre-installed or all camera code to auto recognise QR, just as it does auto face recognition already.

  9. Matthew says:

    Yeastie Boys, a NZ craft brewery, are doing awesome things with their labels.

    I’m not sure if it’s on every bottle, but on their Digital IPA is a QR code that takes you to a homebrew recipe for that beer. The brewers themselves also answer any questions you may have on the brew. http://yeastieboys.posterous.com/private/yCmgJxeHrs

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