Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Phase 2

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",



Mark said...

You've struck gold again! Brilliant posting. It's offical, I've now become a Holzbrew junkie.

This is an interesting posting though as my beer friends and I have been discussing the brew business as of late. I/we have actually assumed the task of drafting a full blown business plan for starting and maintaining a sucessful craft brewing business. My early reseach indicates that startup capital is the most crucial requirement, as it true with most startup companies I suppose. My early estimates show that 350K to 450K should be enough capital to do the job though.

I was interested to learn through your posting that brewers make what they want despite knowing that it may not be the typical popular crowd pleaser. I'm pretty sure this has a direct implication in the business model I'm going to draft as I've read established brewers advise to start brewing Ales as opposed to lagers or other higher gravity beers much for the same reasons that you alluded to in your previous Holzbrew post "New Brew."

So I guess I'm writing to say that you are right on the money, which is strangely apropos considering you are an accountant. I'm also writing to invite you into the process of drafting a business model. Let me know if your interested!

Here's to brewing what you want!

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