Fueled by clever promotions, Hamm’s continues to pick up momentum in bars and taverns

The beer born in the land of sky-blue waters continues its hot streak in bars and restaurants, zipping up the list of fastest-growing brands, according to Nielsen on-premise data. 

Hamm’s is the No. 10 fastest-growing brand in the on-premise channel year-to-date, per Nielsen. It is the only economy-priced brand on the list.

The brand is particularly hot among younger legal-age drinkers, who have flocked to Hamm’s for its taste, vintage look and feel and its friendly price point. Appealing to these recent college graduates is a key focus for the brand, and the strategy is bearing fruit in areas like Madison, Wisc., home of the University of Wisconsin.

“Madison is a huge market for the brand. It’s a college town filled with younger legal-age drinkers, which gives us a big opportunity as an economy beer,” says Mary Beugelsdijk, an associate marketing manager for Hamm’s. “We’re always looking for creative ways to promote the brand, and our distributor in the area, Frank Beer, came up with a really clever promotion.”

Together, the two are running a campaign this fall in which drinkers can enter to win a vintage Dodge pickup truck.

To promote the sweepstakes, Frank Beer bought a former paint truck, decked it out with an old-school paint job with Hamm’s logos and a giant Hamm’s mural on its hood. The wholesaler has since been driving it around Madison, making Hamm’s deliveries to near-campus bars, taverns and retailers.

It has caused quite a stir near campus, generating buzz among beer fans who are posting photos of the truck on their social media feeds. “The honks, the stares, the pictures, the photo shoots people want to take with it — it’s been pretty incredible,” says Brian Wyatt, area sales manager for Frank Beer.

At participating venues, drinkers receive a card with a unique code that can be used to enter the sweepstakes. Hamm’s will award a winner from each of the more than 25 bars that opted to participate. They'll win a Hamm’s t-shirt, and tomorrow at a pre-football game tailgate in Madison, each will also be handed a key with a chance to win a vintage Dodge.

The promotion has helped push the brand up double digits during the promotion in the Madison market, says Eric Pothast, the MillerCoors sales lead in the market. In on-premise accounts, the brand is up more than 20%. And among bars and taverns participating in the promotion, Hamm’s sales are up more than 400% year-over-year.

Augmented by a pair of Hamm’s events, additional point-of-sale advertising and brand swag, the campaign has helped the brand gain distribution in new bars throughout the city, Pothast says. On top of that, Hamm’s has gained large floor displays in some retailers, a presence the brand typically has not had. Its six-packs of 16-ounce beers have performed particularly well.

“We want to fuel the momentum on this brand,” says Liz Cramton, marketing manager for the brand. “And we continue to see a lot of opportunity with younger (legal-age) drinkers who are still looking for an affordable beer, and they want one with personality. That’s where Hamm’s really shines.”