I've got underpants gnomes on the brain. Sounds like a personal problem, right? I've always been a big South Park fan and I think the sheer genius of the show is Matt Stone and Trey Parker's ability to take a social/political/pop issue and break it down into all of its ridiculousness. The underpants gnomes episode is classic and it basically is Matt and Trey making light of all the dot com businesses that really did not have a definable business model. If you've never seen the episode you can see a great clip from it here:
Today I got to thinking about "Phase 2" and the craft beer business. I subscribe to Beer Advocate magazine and every month there is a regular piece titled, "9 Steps to Beerdom." Its basically 9 pointers or tips from a professional craft brewer or brewery owner. The one thing that I always find remarkable is that routinely one of the tips from a brewer is to ignore what your customer base is interested in and only brew those beers that you really like. For example, in this month's issue Mikkel Borg Bjergso, a Danish brewer, states, "We brew the beer we like, and we don't think too much what the customer wants -- which I think is actually a good thing. We can go all the way every time, and just hope people like it."
Issue after issue brewers say this very same thing. This creedo must be unique to the rebellious nature of the craft brewer. I can't imagine going to work everyday (as an accountant) with the mind set of "clients be damned" and still finding professional success. Additionally, I find it interesting that most craft breweries really don't do much in the way of marketing. The product literally sells itself. I believe that running a successful craft brewery takes guts and just a "feeling" that people are going to buy the beer that you brew.
Desperately seeking "Phase 2",