Author Topic: Sponsors for Homebrew Competition  (Read 436 times)

Online rapurcell85

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Sponsors for Homebrew Competition
« on: December 17, 2013, 09:33:02 PM »
Hi everyone.  I am working with my local homebrew club to set up a competition, and we were wondering how everyone gets sponsors for their events. We are thinking of drafting a letter about the competition and sending out to homebrew shops, breweries, yeast manufacturers, etc. asking for sponsorship.  Any and all information is welcome.
Thanks!
Bob

Offline klickitat jim

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Re: Sponsors for Homebrew Competition
« Reply #1 on: December 17, 2013, 10:37:17 PM »
Can't speak to a competition, but generally... you won't get anything unless you are in person with a good pitch.

Offline Bruce B

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Re: Sponsors for Homebrew Competition
« Reply #2 on: December 18, 2013, 12:12:58 AM »
Hi Bob,

I don't want to discourage you but it's not easy and there are several factors to take into consideration.  First and foremost when looking for sponsors always try to approach a potential sponsor with a win - win scenario.  The profit margins are not huge in the brewing industry so the more you can make a situation a win for your potential sponsor the more they will want to make the deal a win for you as well. 

How can you make it a win for the sponsor?  You can list them on your competition website as a sponsor for starters.  How many participants, entries, and volunteers are you forecasting to have?  That is your sponsors potential audience.  Can they put a flyer in the score sheet mailing back to the entrant after the competition?  Maybe they can give them a 10 minute blurb about themselves before the competition lunch.  Maybe you can give them some time in front of your club at a future meeting.  Perhaps you have worked with the potential sponsor in the past.  Maybe you can do something for them in the future.  If they are a new brewer maybe you can provide feedback on a distributor that you've worked with before.  Maybe you can hope to arrange for them to host a tasting at a liquor store where you know the manager.  Be prepared to be creative.

When you go to solicit sponsors I've found that how you approach them really depends on what part of the competition you're looking for sponsorship of.  For example, if you're looking for raffle prizes then an initial email or letter is a good start.  If you have a name then send it to that person directly.  If you don't have a name then I'd suggest calling the company you're soliciting directly to make personal contact.  Sending a blind email or letter can be easily ignored.  Regardless if you send something directly to someone or if you send it blind, you'll get some responses but be prepared to follow up with reminder emails and phone calls. 

This kind of scratches the surface a bit and should get you started.  Feel free to contact me directly if you want to discuss further.  Good luck!
Prosit, Sláinte, Salute, Na Zdravi, Cheers! - Bruce
Beer Barons of Milwaukee - http://www.beerbarons.org
Coordinator - Midwinter and Schnapp Hans Cup Competitions
BJCP National & Mead Judge

Online dkfick

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Re: Sponsors for Homebrew Competition
« Reply #3 on: December 19, 2013, 01:47:25 PM »
It depends on what you want them to sponsor specifically.  I was in charge of gathering swag for a big party my homebrew club puts on each year.  I would email places and they would donates goods for us to raffle.  Many of them lumped us in to the same pool of swag they use to donate to competitions.  Some had automated things that would even say "good luck with your competition" and stuff like that.  So if you're looking for swag emailing places will do fine.  I used to get at least $2k worth of stuff.  It was alot of work... but it was kind of cool too.   

As for a big sponsorship I'm not sure.
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Offline AmandaK

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Re: Sponsors for Homebrew Competition
« Reply #4 on: December 19, 2013, 02:35:35 PM »
Bruce shared some wonderful advice, this especially.
How can you make it a win for the sponsor?  You can list them on your competition website as a sponsor for starters.  How many participants, entries, and volunteers are you forecasting to have?  That is your sponsors potential audience.  Can they put a flyer in the score sheet mailing back to the entrant after the competition?  Maybe they can give them a 10 minute blurb about themselves before the competition lunch.  Maybe you can give them some time in front of your club at a future meeting.  Perhaps you have worked with the potential sponsor in the past.  Maybe you can do something for them in the future.  If they are a new brewer maybe you can provide feedback on a distributor that you've worked with before.  Maybe you can hope to arrange for them to host a tasting at a liquor store where you know the manager.  Be prepared to be creative.

I can't add much, but I'll add my personal experience.

In soliciting sponsors and donors for our competition, it is good to make personal relationships with people if you really want to go big. For instance, if you want to have every drop of beer donated for the competition or the judging gifts entirely paid for, you better get out there to the local breweries and sell them on why your competition would be great advertising for them. I have been meeting and schmoozing with industry reps, brewers and brewery owners for months now in order to get the items donated that we would love to have (but can't afford) at our competition in late February.

A cold email will probably not go very far in terms of larger donations, but if all you're in the market for is t-shirts and shaker pints, it'll probably serve you just fine.
Amanda Kertz
Kansas City Bier Meister
BJCP National

Redbird Brewhouse - Current Project: Full Basement Bar Build

Offline Bruce B

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Re: Sponsors for Homebrew Competition
« Reply #5 on: December 19, 2013, 08:31:15 PM »
Thanks Amanda.  I would like to second what you said about starting early and establishing relationships.  For Midwinter (February) I started taking to people at NHC.  It takes time to build things up. 
Prosit, Sláinte, Salute, Na Zdravi, Cheers! - Bruce
Beer Barons of Milwaukee - http://www.beerbarons.org
Coordinator - Midwinter and Schnapp Hans Cup Competitions
BJCP National & Mead Judge

Offline smkranz

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Re: Sponsors for Homebrew Competition
« Reply #6 on: December 24, 2013, 09:08:27 PM »
Our annual competition has a mix of local and national (i.e. internet retailer) sponsors.  This year we reached out to some of the national retailers and they were generally responsive and generous.  Here is our Sponsors page from our recent competition: 

http://mdmicrobrewfest.brewcompetition.com/index.php?section=sponsors

Be creative in who you ask.  LHBS, liquor/beer stores, breweries, pubs and restaurants are no-brainers. 

When you go outside of your local targets to national/internet retailers, it helps if you or someone in your club is already a customer of theirs, and can approach them as a customer.  We have found most of them are very receptive to putting up prizes.  Maybe nothing big, but we needed a lot of prizes this year and our sponsors came through big-time.
Steve Kranz
AHA • BJCP
Midnight Homebrewers' League
Westminster, Maryland
http://www.midnighthomebrewers.org

Online rapurcell85

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Re: Sponsors for Homebrew Competition
« Reply #7 on: January 08, 2014, 08:28:05 PM »
Thank you to everyone that replied. These ideas look great!

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