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UTEPILS

A SOULO CASE HISTORY

"Great living comes from great brewing."
utepilsbrewing.com

OVERVIEW

Utepils is a microbrewery founded in Minneapolis and dedicated to brewing classic, true-to-style beers that are traditional, timeless, and always delicious. Whether enjoyed in your own home or at the friendly taproom at the brewery itself (conveniently located minutes from downtown in a delightful setting of pine trees and creeks), you’ll find that the folks of Utepils have created not only a great beer experience but also a place where one can enjoy great new craft beer experiences. Made the old-fashioned way in time-honored European traditions.

Utepils Tap Handles

UTEPILS AND SOULO

Before their opening, we worked with Utepils to make as many people as possible aware of this unique experience and to encourage them to make their way to the brewery along the Bassett Creek to enjoy a distinctive range of beers. There they could also enjoy the friendliness and conviviality of the team that makes Utepils a stand-out in the microbrew world. Our work has encompassed nearly all of their marketing touchpoints from new product launches (packaging, promotion) to enhanced taproom experiences (signage, collateral) to a robust multi-channel marketing and communications campaign. We are proud that Utepils considers us one of their key partners and we are thrilled with their success.

Utepils + Soulo

HOW SOULO HAS HELPED

In the beginning, Utepils had the vision, the people, the micro-brewery itself, and a logo. They knew they wanted to create more than great beers: they wanted the experience of a European beer hall where friends and family could congregate and enjoy one another and have an unique experience. We helped by creating all the taproom signage (navigation, education, inspiration).

Though Utepils knew that the microbrewery taproom experience was key to awareness and brand advocacy, the route to success also meant that Utepils needed to develop a strong retail presence so beers experienced in the taproom could be also enjoyed at home.

Utepils taproom signs
Copper Taproom Sign
Taproom Sings
Copper Taproom Sign

MANAGING THE COMPLEX UTEPILS BRAND COMMUNICATION PROGRAM

We knew we needed a strategic framework for the launch of new beers. Building on the master brand framework, we created a full-color territory study to map out existing and opportunity areas for the brand. We wanted to be sure that the brand was shoppable in all distribution points (taproom, in retail, online) to reduce confusion.

Utepils Website
Utepils Calendar

We kept pace with the Utepils brand development and created the right message and media for the brand at the right time. As excitement for the Utepils brand began to build in 2018 as they received numerous awards at beer competitions, we and Utepils recognized that this presented an opportunity to drive awareness. Our multifaceted program included print, digital billboards, point-of-sale, free-standing banners, and pallet wraps.

MULTI-CHANNEL MARKETING CAMPAIGN

That task required an integrated and comprehensive marketing campaign (digital and traditional). We created a full-on digital marketing campaign for Utepils (email marketing, social media graphics, website banners) as well as a wide range of shopper marketing tactics such as banners, temporary signage, point-of-sale items, posters, promotional items, website content and creation, and even a vehicle wrap: the beer truck.

The frequent launch of new beers required that we have a vision, a master brand packaging design strategy, and a clear understanding of the relevant brand equities that needed to be incorporated into new products for a cohesive brand presence. Additionally, we created and placed traditional media such as billboards, print advertising, beer launch calendars, and distributor communications. Along the way the Utepils-branded merchandise became a popular item as well and we created a full range of items that highlight customers’ affinity for the brand — which is growing exponentially.

Marketing Efforts image
Ewald the wildman social meida and print items

promoting ONE OF THEIR LEADING BEERS

Ewald the Golden was their best-selling beer. Leveraging the equity of this popular brew, SOULO created a rich campaign to push greater awareness, including print, digital marketing, and social media to drive this product to higher levels of popularity.

  • Ewald the Golden Can
  • Ewald the Golden Coaster

HOW TO LEVERAGE INFLUENCERS

Utepils brought a great deal of equity to other related brands. We worked with them on several co-branded beers for Cowboy Jack’s Restaurants, and a one-of-a-kind beer for the popular local sports station, KFAN. The publicity from these partnerships and their loyal audiences again drove Utepils to new heights of sales.

Kfan Can and Tap Handle

AND THEN COVID-19

So much of the Utepils success is based on the expanded experience of the brand – experiencing new beers in the taproom and sharing that experience with friends.

The pandemic caused Utepils to re-think their marketing model. We supported Utepils in their interim focus on canned beers at all points of retail distribution. Then, when the State of Minnesota allowed for safe re-opening, SOULO was there with a wide range of “Utepils is Open” messaging, both online and in-market.

Covid Signs
Ewald 2020 Cans

Re-open Results

Reservations for the limited seating areas in the taproom exceeded capacity and the team managed to configure the space so that anyone who wanted to experience Utepils could – whether in the taproom, the outside dining area, or at retail outlets that continue to see great sales for Utepils. Sales and brewery visits have rebounded nicely. The taproom is seeing steady traffic, and interest in new beers that Utepils has on their planning board has never been higher. The future looks bright.

CONCLUSION

We are proud to be Utepils’ partner in driving their success in happy times and challenging circumstances. Great communications thinking at start-up laid the foundation, and traffic-building, loyalty-driving tactics continue to help the brand grow. Agile and responsive, we customize our strategies and communications to fit the brand’s need and circumstances with right message/right time tactics.

  • At a friendly visit to the taproom with family or friends.

  • With a growler take-out from the taproom, a purchase at your local liquor store, or consumed on premises at many fine restaurants and bars.

  • Through the Utepils website and other digital engagement platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, and personalized emails, as well as traditional print.

  • We are proud to be their partner. Savor the experience!
182
%
growth from 2017 to 2019
(barrels basis)
Utepils Brewing is a small local brewery that opened our doors in 2017; we began our branding and marketing strategy years before that. With over 185 breweries in the Minnesota, standing out amongst a sea of other beer is crucial.

We started our relationship with SOULO in 2016. When making the selection of which firm to establish a relationship with, there were 2 strong candidates. What stood out with SOULO is their ability to come to the first presentation with ideas and material usable right off the bat – they had done their homework and it showed.

Our current team at SOULO doesn’t just wait to be asked to do something, they pay attention and stay attune to what is happening in our market and with competitors. On a regular basis they bring forth solid recommendations for our team on ideas to strengthen brand awareness and generate excitement about Utepils in the marketplace. They are invested in our brand and truly care about our success as a business – we don’t feel like we are just a ‘client’ to them rather we are partners. This past year has required us to switch gears multiple times. The team was able to pivot very quickly (and often) to get us ready to reopen after months of shut-down. Even when we gave SOULO days (or sometimes hours) to change what was needed, the result was done professionally – they made us look like we had it all together!

Their creative work on our packaging is top-notch! They take our random thoughts and are able to turn them into awesome can designs which distinguish us from competitors. They also rein us in when our brainstorming goes a bit wild and deviates from the brand standard we have worked so hard to create. They know how crucial it is to maintain that continuity. We’ve heard from more than a few customers who said they bought our product strictly because of the packaging on Plaid Bikini, and during a radio interview the announcer said the BRD can was the best can he had ever seen. Pretty high praise in the beer world.

The best part is the true collaborative nature that the team shows and their investment in our success.
Deb Justesen
Founder/Muse

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