As the finishing touches of Target Field were being put into place, the blighted industrial park that was now in the shadow of the ball park began to sprout. The North Loop was already well on its way to being revitalized, but the blocks sandwiched next to the 4th Ave S freeway exit, the garbage burner, and the farmers market remained a dismal downtown wasteland. The new ballpark was about to change all of that, this ground was now golden. Enter Fulton Brewing Company.
Started in a garage in the Fulton neighborhood of Minneapolis, four beer enthusiasts set about their goal of opening their own craft brewery in Minneapolis. With the ballpark already under construction, the North Loop neighborhood seemed like an obvious choice. Beer goes hand in hand with baseball. Each baseball season has 82 home games – a captured audience. As an added bonus, Target Field also intersects with the juncture of the LRT line and North Star commuter rail terminus, thousands of daily commuters passing by. Add on top of that, hundreds of new housing units in the North Loop were under construction. They could only pinch themselves that no one had beat them to the punch. As so, just two blocks from home plate, Fulton Brewing Company landed at 414 6th Ave N in Minneapolis in a small, one story brick warehouse in September 2010.
In a little over a year, the building was reconstructed to a small scale craft brewery, bottling house and a tap room – the very first one in Minneapolis. The building itself was pretty nondescript, and, although on game days there were thousands of fans milling about just a stone’s throw away, those people needed to find out about the new brewery. Mortgaged to the hilt, the marketing budget for the 1st year was $0. Enter social media.
Fulton had already been brewing beer contracted through another small brewery while its facilities were being built. They found a distributor and were finding an audience at a number of local bars. Word-of-mouth, however, was too slow. It was vital their tap room was successful starting the very first month. Emphasis was placed on building their target audience on Facebook and Twitter. They built up their “likes” and “followers” by networking these target audiences; beer enthusiasts, Twins fans, downtown commuters and North Loop residents. When the tap room doors opened in March of 2012 it was a huge success.
Social media helped build the foundation and has been reenforcing it ever since. Fulton expanded its reach into the community with a heavy event and tasting schedule – all promoted via Facebook and Twitter. The more time spent promoting via social media, the more they learned about their beer fans, built-in market research without having to hire an agency. Fulton posts and tweets focus on self-promotion, but are well written and display high-quality photos and graphics.
Since 2012 Fulton has more than doubled in size. Their beer is popular throughout the region in bars and in bottles. Fulton is even sold on tap inside Target Field. They are currently building a new brewing facility in Northeast Minneapolis set to open later this year so that they can keep up with demand.
Here’s a snapshot of Fulton’s social media activity:
- Facebook: 11,600 Likes, daily posts, lots of photos and graphics
- Twitter: 18,000 Followers, 2900 Tweets, 1-3 per day
- Flickr: Lots of great photos, not active at this time
- Events & Tastings – 23 for May, all promoted via fb and Twitter