Food And Drink Copywriting Of The Week #12: My Local Bar

(8 June, 2021)

My local bar sells beer. 

Close by is another bar, and it sells the same beer.

My local is in a heritage building, and inside is like grandma's living room. Mid-century couches, soft jazz, vines dangling from the ceiling, dim lighting, fire crackling in the back corner. When you walk in its glass doors, you might find trendy people working behind the bar and customers—young and old—looking casually glamorous drinking beer.

The other bar is a standard Australian pub with stained carpet, six TVs, no plants, pool table, cracked render, 80s rock, tired timber tables, and smells like urine. Here, you might find a person behind the bar with a missing tooth and unshaven customers in high-vis with mullets drinking the same beer.

Same offering, different demographic.

I was talking to a roaster today, and he was saying specialty coffee has become another commodity product. Everyone champions the same coffee with the same cards, detailing the farmer, region, tasting notes etc.. It's not enough to roast quality coffee anymore, he said. As more small businesses are entering an already crowded market, every niche market—from natural wine and craft beer to organic oats—is experiencing a similar challenge.

So how do we differentiate ourselves?

We don't always have to have a revolutionary product, but we do have to deliver it in a way that resonates with the people we aim to serve, like the two pubs. The neighbourhood bar didn't start because they saw a gap in the market for serving beer. Rather they saw a gap in the market for serving beer in a particular way to a specific group of people.

Writers understand this. You see, a writers job isn't necessarily to illuminate new information but to package ideas in a way that makes inaccessible information suddenly engaging and comprehensible to a particular type of person.

Today, brands need to do the same. Even as a small business, we need to recontextualise our offering into a larger brand story to provide a different experience—just as the neighbourhood bar did. Whether you adopt an irreverent brand voice, fun design or a bangin’ newsletter which no one else has bothered to write—the details matter, more than ever.

Okay, I realise I didn't focus on exemplar copy this week. But the larger subject of brand storytelling is important too.  

Main take-aways

  • Get a good brand voice
  • The change you seek to make doesn’t have to be revolutionary. It can be as simple as selling a commodity product but in a fun, accessible, beautiful way. 
  • Coopers is a beer.  

Okay, that’s a wrap. 

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Jayden O'Neil


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