Sun King Brewery needed to encourage Indiana lawmakers to pass a bill easing limits on craft beer production
A strategic campaign to educate the people of Indiana and influence legislators
Bill increasing Indiana’s barrel limits passed in a “historic compromise”
An archaic state law was in place that limited Indiana’s brewers to producing a limited number of barrels of beer per year and selling them within the state. Sun King Brewery and GFM had to take on the large distributors that wield money and influence among legislators and local businesses.
GFM developed and executed a public education plan to communicate the needed change by engaging loyal Sun King customers through grassroots engagement and media outreach. The campaign focused on the benefits of supporting small business, boosting the local economy, creating more jobs and providing more craft beer to local enthusiasts. The campaign centered on a GFM-generated microsite and utilized direct and Sun King-esqe cheeky messages, online action tools and social media to give supporters easy-to-understand facts and tools to send their comments to key legislators. Campaign spokespeople were trained to effectively deliver messages, and GFM secured local and national media coverage, further driving the economic impact and Hoosier-focused messages.
The grassroots campaign generated nearly 35,000 letters from Indiana craft beer loyalists to legislators, prompting lawmakers to pass the bill and Gov. Mike Pence to sign it into law. The bill’s author called it a “historic compromise,” adding that the campaign helped gain “100 percent consensus” from the Brewers of Indiana Guild and wholesalers. The bill’s passage was a big win for the exploding craft beer industry and its growing impact on the state’s economy. The change went into effect July 1, 2015, and means more local beer for the people of Indiana, as well as an expanded business footprint for Sun King Brewery and the entire craft brewing industry.