Inside a bank/brewery partnership


Avidia Bank collaborated with a local brewery to make a “grand entrance” into a new market.

By Katie Kuehner-Hebert

Talk about making a splash.

In 2017, Avidia Bank was about to enter Framingham, a new market about 15 miles southeast of its Hudson, Mass., headquarters. As its staff made the rounds of local community events introducing themselves, they kept bumping into staff from another newcomer to the area, Exhibit ‘A’ Brewing Co.

That hatched an idea about how the two could get noticed in their new market. “We thought, why don’t we do something together?” says Katelin Cwieka, assistant vice president, social media and brand communications manager of the $1.56 billion-asset community bank.

And that meant collaborating to produce a special brew, Demo Tape #19: Liquid Tender. Avidia staff worked with the brewery to develop a recipe based on the brewers’ advice on what sold best in that area: a New England-style IPA. “We finally decided on the name Liquid Tender, which worked out well, because there was a charitable component to the effort,” Cwieka says.

The two companies donated $2 from every four pack sold, totaling $1,700, to the Rise Above Foundation, which serves foster children in the MetroWest Boston region. The beer was sold at the brewery, at two local establishments and in select stores throughout the region.

“We did this because it was something completely different,” Cwieka says. “We also entered a new market, and we thought this would be a great way to make a grand entrance.”

To boost the campaign, the community bank created a text-to-win campaign. Using information on each beer can, people would text a keyword, such as “Liquid Tender,” to a certain phone number. Each month, Avidia staff held a drawing for different prizes, including a turntable, speakers, Boston Red Sox tickets and headphones.

The reason behind it all

Avidia Bank conducted the contest to gauge engagement with the campaign, as well as to collect contact information to generate leads for banking products and services, Cwieka says. To obtain data from the text-to-win campaign, the bank worked with a company to track how many text messages it received, as well as to mail prizes on the bank’s behalf. Overall, Avidia Bank collected 140 entries. “We also tracked engagement on our Facebook and Instagram pages, because a lot of people shared photos of drinking the beer around a campfire or at a backyard cookout,” she adds.

Quick stat


The number of people who engaged with Avidia Bank on Facebook during its beer campaign, up from 600–800 people during peak weeks

Avidia Bank scrutinized Facebook and Instagram’s weekly analytics to learn the number of times people clicked on the community bank’s link, as well as each post’s comments and likes. More than 20,000 people engaged with the bank on Facebook during the beer campaign, compared with between 600 and 800 people “on a really good week,” Cwieka notes.

While it’s tough to measure how campaigns like this actually result in increased business to the bank, “it is something that people keep talking about,” Cwieka says. “We wanted this to be community-focused because we entered a new market, so it was important for us to generate some buzz and stand out.”

The limited brew became available in July, with the expectation that it would last until mid-October, but it sold out in mid-September. The two companies were set to conduct a larger run starting this past December, likely to last about three or four months.

Cwieka says the endeavor has been worth it. “We go into the community, and people say to us, ‘Hey, you’re the bank that did that beer!’” she says. “Even after a few months, people still remember, and that’s a good thing for us.”

Katie Kuehner-Hebert is a writer in California.