As it expands nationally, Blue Point Brewing wants to bring a little bit of Long Island along for the ride -- specifically Patchogue.
The craft brewer's hometown is featured in a quirky new campaign that marks Blue Point's most aggressive marketing effort in its 18-year history. The investment comes a little more than two years after Blue Point was acquired by Anheuser-Busch InBev, which has been gobbling up by fast-growing small brewers at a steady pace.
Blue Point, whose flagship brand is Toasted Lager, has grown distribution from 19 states last year to 32 states, including as far west as California. Ten more states are coming aboard by year's end, including Texas, Illinois and Minnesota. In 2015, Blue Point grew sales volume by 75%, according to the brand.
But as it's footprint grows, Blue Point does not want to lose its connection to Patchogue, where its brewery is based. The town takes a starring role in the digital videos. The campaign is called "Patchogue Got it All." Ads take a tongue-in-cheek tone and celebrate the mundane, like a local water tower.
"We certainly wanted to show the connection with our town, which we are real proud of. They are real supportive of us," said Blue Point Brewing Co. co-founder Mark Burford. "Craft breweries really do get to be parts of communities and we are a big part of our local community. We wanted to bring that character out with the brand."
He added: "That idea that we take the beer seriously but not ourselves too seriously is a big part of what we do."
The agency is VSA Partners, which Blue Point hired last year. The campaign will get a concentrated digital and print push across 23 markets in the East Coast, Southeast and Midwest. Radio and out-of-home will target the New York area, which remains a sweet spot for the brand. The campaign will get a national push on social media.
Blue Point has also redesigned the packaging for Toasted Lager. The brand's signature buoy is given more prominence. The primary color scheme has also changed from yellow and green to blue and red.
"I don't know how many times I had people ask me why the logo isn't blue because it's Blue Point," Mr. Burford said. "It is just one of those odd things that we chose green in the beginning. Now that it's blue and its Blue Point it all seems to go together really well."
A-B InBev announced its acquisition of Blue Point in February of 2014. The transaction by the massive brewer generated outcry among some craft brew enthusiasts, repeating a pattern seen after other A-B InBev craft acquisitions.
Mr. Burford said the backlash "died down pretty quickly. The week after was the busiest week in the tasting room we ever had. Some people came out and supported us. That speaks volumes."
"The people that have difficulties with it, hey, it's a free country -- they can do what they want," he added. "You get an uproar and it dies down and people get back to drinking the beer they want to drink."
Today, some Blue Point beer is brewed at A-B InBev breweries in Merrimack N.H, and Baldwinsville, N.Y. That has freed room at the Patchogue brewery to experiment with new beers, Mr. Burford said. Before, "we were out of room really trying to make as much beer as we could," he said.