Another Beer Branding Article: This Time, With Iron Horse Brewery.

I’ve begun to realize that for someone who isn’t of legal age to drink in the USA, with this post, a chunk of my blog content is seeming to revolve around beer. The only thing I seem to talk about more is my perpetual disappointment in Sean Spicer. You can do better, Sean.

Despite my age gap between when I can actually purchase it off the shelves, I’ll continue writing about alcohol’s branding. From brewery to bottle, it’s all interesting.

Naturally, when I found out Iron Horse Brewery Director of Marketing Jared Vallejo was coming to speak to my Advanced PR Writing class, I knew that it’d be a talk I’d easily be able to recap. Iron Horse, a local brewery in Ellensburg, has a branding that is unconventional and rough-around-the-edges.

The tactics that maintain this brand are especially interesting, especially considering the data-fueled analysis that goes into Iron Horse’s seemingly nonchalant exterior – there’s a lot of thought that goes into their sarcastic image.

Iron Horse seems to have two contrasting, yet complimentary, sides. Some mantras straight from the horse’s mouth (please laugh at my joke) include “fun over profit” and “say yes to weird things”.

Yet, there’s investment in what Iron Horse is doing, paired with what you can do to arrange community. Not only within the town of Ellensburg or in the PNW region – but also among other craft brewers. Iron Horse is set on separating craft brewing from indie brewing, emphasizing the quality that comes from beer companies that aren’t owned by alcoholic conglomerates (or, as Vallejo referred to them, “big beer”).

Marketing, from Iron Horse’s standpoint, is also very focused on events. There’s teaming up with other Washington state breweries for small festivals, as well as the tongue-in-cheek .5k Iron Horse puts on in Ellensburg every year to commemorate St. Patrick’s Day.

Fostering community involvement through innovative means seems to be their forte: and I think any brand would be able to take a page from their book and not take themselves too seriously. So much of the business world outwardly projects its anxieties, and Iron Horse seems to have curated the ‘cool guy’ image. Laid back, fun loving, a little quirky.

There’s distinct personality, and any brand looking to market or brand themselves should really figure out that personality is king.
So, even though I haven’t quite hit the 21 mark, I still recognize good branding and marketing when it’s put in front of me – and congrats to Iron Horse, you’re hop-ing up my blog. (Another bad joke y’all should laugh at – it’s like hyping, just with hops.)


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