We’ve all done it. Taken that tightly-cropped, close-up picture of a beer from our favorite brewery and shared it on social media. You probably put that photo on Facebook or Twitter. You may have even tried Instagram. Like that new Double IPA you just discovered, Instagram brings a smile to the beer lover’s face. Why? It’s an easy, fun, effective way to promote a brewery.

Not an Instagrammer? Here’s the skinny.

Instagram is an online photo-sharing, video-sharing, and social networking service that enables users to take pictures and videos and share them on social networking services like Facebook and Twitter. The app crops photos to a square shape and allows users to apply digital filters to pictures similar to Kodak Instamatic and Polaroid images.

Tale of the Tape

Since Instagram launched in 2010, over 400 million users have flocked to the service and posted 40 billion photos – that’s billion with a “B.” Speaking of a billion, that’s how many dollars Facebook paid to acquire Instagram in 2012.

So who’s on Instagram? Today, 86% of top brands use Instagram, including Nike, Starbucks, and Major League Baseball.

What about breweries? The top 10 breweries listed in a recent USA Today’s Travel section article are all on Instagram.

How Instagram Works

Download the Instagram app from the App Store or in Google Play. Register, create a username and password, fill out your profile, and you’re good to go.

Now comes the fun part. Take a photo or video with your iPhone, iPad, or Android device. Crop the image. Select one of the 25 filters with names like Lo-fi, Mayfair, or Earlybird. Tag people and add the photo to the map.

Next, it’s time to leverage your pic on your other networks. Share the photo on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Flickr, email, Foursquare, etc.

Building a Following 

How can microbreweries use Instagram to promote their brand? Here are 10 ways to use Instagram to build a following for your brewery:

  1. Take photos of your beer, food, swag, etc.
  2. Give sneak peeks for new product releases.
  3. Show patrons having a good time.
  4. Let people in behind the scenes.
  5. Hold a photo contest.
  6. Highlight community and charitable projects.
  7. Hashtags? Instragram’s got ‘em. Use ‘em.
  8. Work in 15-second videos.
  9. Share on other social media.
  10. Most importantly, have fun! It’s social media after all.

Breweries to Watch

Which craft beer makers are making the most of the photo and video-sharing and social network? Check out these 10 breweries to watch on Instagram:

  1. New Belgium Brewing, Fort Collins, CO - @newbelgium
  2. Dogfish Head, Milton, DE - @dogfishbeer
  3. Founders Brewing Co., Grand Rapids, MI - @foundersbrewing
  4. Saugatuck Brewing Company, Douglas, MI - @saugatuckbrew
  5. Stone Brewing Co., Escondido, CA - @stonebrewingco
  6. Bell’s Brewery, Kalamazoo, MI - @bellsbrewery
  7. Rogue Ales, Portland, OR - @rogueales
  8. Greenbush Brewing Co, Sawyer, MI - @greenbushbrew
  9. Shorts Brewing Company, Bellaire, MI - @shortsbrewing
  10. Brooklyn Brewery, Brooklyn, NY  - @brooklynbrewery

Instagram’s a tool that should be in every brewery’s utility belt. There’s no better way to spread the gospel of your beer across the social media universe than with this power-packed app.

By Jason Piasecki, Partner + Instgrammer

Jason uses Instagram to take photos of beer, food, and familiy vacations. Follow him at @jasonpie.

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