VCU student wants to know how you feel about Legend

Is Legend due for a marketing makeover?

I’ve often felt that Legend gets a bad rap from beer geeks in town.  Jeff Tolefson, a Virginia Commonwealth University Brandcenter graduate student, agrees with me and is looking to devise a marketing plan that would change that attitude. His marketing plan is part of his senior project.

As part of the plan he’d like your input on a survey he designed.

CBS6 talked with Jeff and Legend about the marketing plan and the survey.

“Legend is considered the granddaddy of RVA breweries, they have been here for over 20 years and have always produced great beer,” Tolefson said, “Yet they seem to have lost their connection with the younger audience.”

“If it gives up more information, then great,” said Kevin Timme, Legend Sales and Marketing. “Any information is good information to keep our brand going.”

Timme said that Tolefson approached the brewery about his project, and that the 17 questions were constructed by Tolefson.

Legend Brewery is coming up on a robust two decades of making craft beer.

“It’s a completely different demographic,” Timme said when asked what changes he’s seen, and he pointed out that there weren’t a lot of people pushing the envelope 20 years ago.

As was the standard, “We named our beers for what they were,” he said, and referenced the classic line-up: Legend Brown, Pilsner, Porter, Pale Ale, Chocolate Porter, Golden IPA.

The times didn’t really foster a “Dogfish Head Snowblower Ale,” or “Fiddler’s Elbow,” or “Seriously Bad Elf,” though the brewery has recently dove into the world of fun nomenclature with its Urban Legend series.


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Richard Hayes

When Richard isn’t rounding up neighborhood news, he’s likely watching soccer or chasing down the latest and greatest craft beer.

Notice: Comments that are not conducive to an interesting and thoughtful conversation may be removed at the editor’s discretion.

  1. Willis on said:

    F that noise….Legend’s problem isn’t one of marketing and better marketing won’t address their problem…when you can walk right down the street and buy a six pack of Brown Ale for LESS than what it costs at the Brewery, that’s a problem. Travel up north (I’m thinking Vermont actually) and you can get a growler fill for $5 at the source….try that at Legend. Sure they have a special for Manchester residents, but that’s only at their bar….I’m trying to get some road sodas for getting my mellow on. Walk to my local pub, slap down a $5’er and walk out with a growler fill. As it sit’s I’d much rather just cross the bridge to 821 Cafe where the selection is far superior. Local breweries everywhere should have pricing for neighborhood residents.

  2. Willis on said:

    Also, it’s telling that the survey primarily asks about Legend Brown Ale….Legend has fallen short on so many other offerings they have had while the Brown Ale has been consistently good in the 16 years I’ve been around, IMHO.

  3. Scott Burger on said:

    I tend to agree with Willis. If I am out and about and want a beer and I am feeling adventurous, I may go for a crazy sour or something interesting from one of the new local nano breweries. But if I am looking for a tried and true local beer, I go for a Legend Brown. Better pricing and specials would help me stock my fridge. I was excited when I first heard of and tried my first Legend beer. I was proud to have a local brewery like Legend and that has not changed.

  4. Tim Senz on said:

    Legends Pilsner is outstanding and in my humble opinion the best beer they brew but try finding it anywhere but the source. Legend brown IS the brand at retail and that’s a problem because it’s average at best these days and overpriced for what it is.

  5. Melody on said:

    I agree with Willis as well. I live in Manchester, and the only real reason we end up going is for the convenience and occasionally for a nice breeze on the patio. The beer is okay, but I am raw about spending no less for a pint than I could buy at any other location that serves their beer. Where’s the incentive? Their mug club is a rip off and their Manchester locals night isn’t much of a deal. We almost always choose mug night in Carytown over Legend. They could also tighten up their menu and service. They’re surviving on the pull of their patio/view, but I heard a some buildings were going to be erected between Legend and the river. What then? Please help them, I do really want to see them get better and succeed as a renowned name in Richmond.

  6. resident on said:

    Marketing is not the problem. Bad food, mediocre beer, and fantastic competition is. They need a full makeover. And I agree, why is it so expensive to drink at the brewery???

  7. Scott Burger on said:

    Legend Brown may be basic, but it is good. I thought their Porter was good as well. Around the holidays, if I am feeling rich I will get one of their Chocolate Porter. I think Melody brought up some good points.

  8. neighbor on said:

    I did the survey. Legend brown is good beer, but it is too expensive. But I also want to point out that while the patio at Legend is nice, the resturant is musty and the bathrooms are disgusting. They have not made any visable repairs since the place opened. I cannot stand going there. For those prices, they really need to get their act together.

  9. Marie on said:

    The beers are excellent. IMHO, They are very true to the style they represent. My personal fave is of course the brown ale. Their seasonal beers leave nothing to be desired. I am always excited to find Legend products on taps around the area. Other things could of course be tweeked, that can be said for any establishment. Call me an old school craft beer drinker, if you want a true to style product though Legend is the way to go…

  10. John on said:

    Marketing is exatly the problem. All of the negative comments can be fixed with a good marketing campaign. Look at Hardywood. Everytime I turn around I see Hardywood but if you try their beer its not that good. Its all about marketing.

  11. Scott Burger on said:

    Really, marketing can fix everything? Look, I am a fan and I want Legend to survive, but marketing is NOT everything.

    “I also want to point out that while the patio at Legend is nice, the resturant is musty and the bathrooms are disgusting.”

    “They could also tighten up their menu and service.”

  12. F Brian King on said:

    Legend continues to survive based on the quality of its beer and the distribution channels.
    I also like the simplicity of the packaging – Lager, Pilsner, Porter, etc. Nothing fancy or cute. Having the choice of either a 22 oz or a six pack is great. I wish Hardywood would do that.

  13. Hoppy McMalt-a-lot on said:

    Beer snobs want to constantly experience a new rotation, the newest blueberry quadruple-bock with linseed and just a hint of cheese, followed by a sweaty zwickelbitter. Legend has a good thing going, but microbatching obscure beer is not it. And they’re not very good at running a restaurant. Maybe give that over to one of the many, many restaurateurs in Richmond, and just focus on the beers.

    If they want to expand their business, they need to expand their footprint – look to get beers in places around the state and increase distribution. Instead of opening a new Legend place, get a restaurant on a distribution list and provide half their beer while they handle the food and experience. The restaurant would have half obscure Belgian Snooty Ales, and half Legend products. I think Legend’s natural competitors are the peebeers and not the microbews.

    If they can get themselves into position to squeeze out peebeers like Budweiser, Miller, and Coors, and use their geographic advantage to deliver less expensively, I think that would be their niche. People still want simple, straightforward beevo, but they’re still ordering Budweisers for cryin’ out loud. In their advertising, Legend needs to point out that “America’s Beer” is now made by a French company, and it and all the other crappy beers suck. It would take a marketing push but also distribution and network building. I’m not saying it would be easy, but they could chip away at it over time.

  14. Jason on said:

    Legend is inconsistent, and management is to blame. I have been going to the bar there since the days in the basement. Ive been on slow winter days for lunch, crowded spring days on the deck, loud sunday evenings, movies etc. 50% of the time the food and beer are great, 50% of the time the service is terrible and the food comes out cold. People want to go there because the deck is the best, and the beer is the best. The rest needs a total re-boot. Marketing only gets people in the door, but doesn’t get them back.

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