50 Back Beer Company is a small startup, founded in 2010, with a business model centered around giving back to America’s troops. With every purchase of 50 Back American Lager, half of the profits are sent to charities that support active duty service members, veterans, and their families.
The beer itself is described as "an ideal beer for winding down after work, an outdoor barbeque, or a casual get-together with friends, brewed with a complex blend of hops." Clearly, it’s a pretty standard American lager, but truthfully, it’s for a good cause, and apparently it won in multiple taste tests against "other American Lagers" (none of them named, but presumably one must have been Budweiser).
The company mainly markets through hosting celebrations for service members on military bases, and using social media to reach out to military families, but they also recently began a campaign using QR codes. Kimberly Rogers, one of the company’s founders, had explored QR codes in the past, but didn’t really know how to use them to the company’s advantage.
So in March, she and her partner, Paige Haley, began brainstorming the program that is now known as "Buy a Soldier a Beer." 50 Back places the QR codes on all of their promotional materials, including posters, packaging, flyers, stickers, and drink coasters. Once the customers scan the code, they’re given three options: buy a solider a beer, post a message on the 50 Back Facebook page, or post a message on Twitter.
Since March, more than 70,000 people have scanned the code, and close to 8,000 beers have been sent to military bases around Boston, MA. The beer is also available in close to 200 restaurants and retail outlets in Maine, Massachusetts, North Carolina, and Texas.
The program has done wonders for their marketing and brand awareness efforts. Not only have product orders gone up, but Kimberly says their social media engagement has increased exponentially.
Kim and Paige admit to knowing very little about the different marketing arenas big companies are playing in today, but they’re trying new things and making it work. They’re doing this for a noble cause, while improving brand awareness and engagement along the way.
So try a 50 Back if you’re ever in Boston. And if not, then simply buy a soldier a beer!