'Street Signs' helps regional brewing company make big splash on the national stage

Who is your client? What are its media goals?

Name: Mary Beth Popp, PR director at Eric Mower and Associates
Placement: CNBC's Street Signs, July 30
Pitch timeline: One day

Who is your client? What are its media goals?

Mary Beth Popp: In its hey-day, the Genesee Brewery made millions of barrels of Genesee Beer. But for the past couple of decades, the brewery has struggled to stay in operation.

Recently, it was purchased by American private equity firm KPS Capital Partners, which created North American Breweries (NAB) – saving nearly 400 jobs in upstate New York. Since then, NAB provided nearly $16 million in private investment in the brewery and its brands.

We have aggressively sought out media coverage and have worked to rebuild community, political, and media relationships. A large part of our PR program works toward rebuilding pride in the brewery that has been lost by employees and the community over the years. The pitch was an opportunity for this little American brewery to grab the national spotlight and talk about its comeback story.

What made Street Signs such a good placement?

Popp: It's a significant plat-form for a private equity firm to talk about the business strategy behind creating NAB. At the same time, it provided a unique opportunity for The Genesee Brewery to get its story and brands in front of a national audience. In addition, it successfully associated Genesee and NAB as being American at a time when many popular brands are now foreign-owned.

What other things did you do to make your pitch stand out from the pack of business stories?

Popp: Our pitch directly fit with a topic the show discussed that day [the White House “beer summit”]. Relevance works – and that's true on a local and regional scale, as well as nationally.

Did you do any media training with the client for this spot? What else did you do to secure placement?

Popp: Putting the CEO on was essential to the hit. Because of the nature of the program, we chose to put the CEO of KPS [Michael Psaros] on as opposed to the head of the brewery. We discussed message strategy with him prior to the show.

What was the impact of the CNBC hit?

Popp: A lot of the value in the hit is intrinsic. A regional upstate New York brewer has claimed the national spotlight among much bigger, foreign-owned brewers.

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