Marketing is important and most businesses spend a significant portion of their money on it. Yes, there are non-traditional ways to market, and it can be very effective. However, you have to ask your self some basic questions:
Who is my customer?
Where will they find my product?
How do I tell them about my product?
Defining your customer is critically important. For example, your customer could be men, age 35-55, college education, married, kids, home owner, median family income $100K. Knowing this you can start to position your brand in the marketplace. Does your labeling and brand image appeal to this group? Is it something they can relate with and want to be seen with? You need to position your product in the marketplace for your customer. Where will they buy it? Taverns? Retail? Knowing this you can start to create an effective marketing plan to target these people, your customers.
Marketing isn't just ads. There should be a good amount of analysis that goes into it prior to the ads. It's also your bling. Everyone loves pint glasses, coasters, T-shirts, etc. If you decided to market your beer in a tavern, you can do a co-promotion with one tavern for instance and give out coasters and pint glasses to folks who buy your beer at the bar (this varies from state to state, so take the example with a grain of salt). A few cases of glasses will cost you a few hundred dollars. Giving them away to folks is an excellent way of getting your brand into the marketplace and the recipient will more than likely show off his pint glass to friends, further spreading the word.
Beer festivals also cost money. Gotta' get a keg there, pay for the space (in some cases), and give out some bling to folks. It's great giving out body tattoos and watching all the folks walk by displaying your logo. Again, marketing costs.
And again, no two businesses are the same so you may find better and more cost effective marketing channels to reach your customers, depending on who that is. However, you gotta' know who your customer is first.