Why you should buy (beer) merchandise, aka #beerswag
A favourite beer tshirt or refillable growler whose logo is fading from so much use. Whether it’s a cap, a beer glass, a sticker, a key ring or a bottle opener, we all love merchandise.
Maybe you buy the shirt because you’re friends with the people selling it, or you like the design, or you like the beer, or maybe you just need a new shirt and it fits well. There are a lot of reasons behind the compulsive need to have the next cool piece of beerswag, even when you have stockpiles in your home. We believe the reasons are fivefold.
- Merchandise – shirts, caps, keyrings, growlers, etc. – isn’t perishable. Just because you bought a shirt today doesn’t mean that you have to wear it tomorrow. It doesn’t spoil. What happens when your bottle opener breaks? You have another on hand – how delightful! And sure, some things might go out of fashion, but that’s ok, because we all know that fashion comes in swings and roundabouts. So go ahead with that purchase, it might just come in handy someday.
- We’re proud people. And we like to gloat. Sure, even when we have our own swag we want to rep all the time, we still find ourselves buying items from friends and favourite breweries. We don’t need them. Half the time we won’t wear them. But there’s a bit of pride in knowing that you have one – especially if someone else doesn’t, and they covet yours. Take, for example, the shirts that Black Hops gave to their initial Pozible fund contributors – they all say “OG” on them. You can’t buy that shirt, or the smug feeling you get when wearing it.
- We love what they do and we want to spread the word of beer. Merchandise is not only a fantastic way for companies – any company, not just beer-related ones – to expose more people to their brand, and in sales it’s all about brand awareness. As consumers, we want to help the brands/beers (and people) we enjoy get more followers, so we’ll buy their growlers, rock their singlets and generally support them however we can. And while beer itself doesn’t count as beerswag, we can always get behind that
- There’s history in that there growler! Many years ago, my mom was visiting me in Portland, Oregon, and we went to Laurelwood Brewing where she got a branded growler to take home with her. As part of the printed logo was the signature of their then-head-brewer, Christian Ettinger. Christian went on to start HUB (Hopworks Urban Brewery) and is no longer linked with Laurelwood, but my mom has a piece of brewery history in that growler. How cool is that?
- Closer to home, many of you may remember a few months back when Black Hops did a limited run of printed tees that included their family of core range beers in bottles. I got one of those shirts, and now I have a physical object that represents some of their beers that are no longer brewed, as well as the fact that they’re all in bottles while the brewery has moved into canning.
- There are certain objects that fulfill a use in our lives, like taking home a favourite single-release beer in a growler or squealer. Or maybe you’re cold at a festival and need a hoodie, or it’s bright and you need some sunnies. The point is, merchandise isn’t just cool, it serves a purpose beyond marketing. It marks a time in your life, represents a memory, reminds you where you were (or where you got your beer from) or keeps your tinnies cold. No matter how you look at it, there’s a method to the madness when it comes to what we buy and what we don’t.
If you’re sitting there contemplating your next purchase, feel free to justify your decision using any of the reasons listed above. After all, if you don’t need it now, you might be able to sell it on ebay later.
Cheers and beers,
Joslyn and Matt