Let’s talk about beer.
OK, not specifically about beer. Rather about the significant contribution a brewery like the Yukon Brewing Company can make to promote the destination it was born in.
Mark Beese, the brewery’s enthusiastic sales manager who could talk beer any day any time (and does), put it this way, “Beer is what you do when you’re having fun. And long after the fun is over, it has the ability to transport you back to where you had those good times.” For instance, Kokanee brings to mind the mountains of B.C.
The local folks, who appreciate the local beer, do so because they associate with it in the same way. “The beer is reflective of what it means to be “Yukon”. It’s distinctive, unique and unconventional. It’s different, in a good way.”
Outsiders are responding to their products as well. This is the case in places like Grand Prairie with a geographic setting similar to the Yukon, and Montreal where independent thinking is “cool”.
Beese continued, “To people living Outside, the Yukon is an interesting character, sort of like that cantankerous uncle we all know and love. It’s the same with our beer. It’s maybe a little brash, a little edgy at first but, once you get to know it, you really like it.”
Yukon tourism companies are finding potential vacationers are responding to their marketing efforts in much the same way. That’s partly why Beese was appointed last year to the Senior Marketing Committee of the Yukon Tourism Marketing Partnership, a joint government and tourism industry group that advises the government in its marketing activities.
Both parties have much to gain. For the brewery, it’s a chance to contribute to the defining and packaging of the Yukon’s tourism “brand”. And the tourism marketing folks gain a different perspective from a successful Yukon-based export product that also contributes significantly to how the destination is perceived by its customers.
That contribution includes the sponsorship of a number of music festivals around the Yukon, the Sourdough Sam contest during Rendezvous and a variety of sporting events both within and outside the territory.
But the brewery’s contributions don’t stop there. It often partners with Tourism Yukon, Air North and other Yukon tourism businesses including hotels, adventure travel companies and restaurants in promotional ventures down south. At the moment, the brewery is running a radio contest in Calgary where the winner gets a dream trip for four to the Yukon.
The company is in expansion mode. Western Canada figures prominently in the company’s expansion plans and overseas markets like Germany and Japan are on the horizon.
Success on a larger scale must be right around the corner. Beese recently heard of a guy who was pretending to be a Yukon Brewing Company representative in Banff’s largest bar as a way to impress the ladies. This is music to Beese’s ear. “If someone in Alberta is using our beer as a way to meet women, then we’re definitely doing something right!”