Over the past 2 weeks it has been my pleasure to meet with many banks with the express purpose of deciding where we should put our money. I am by trade a marketing guy, and my role with the brewery is Marketing Guy and Master of Mind Control. Not exactly the one you would peg as a lover of banking, especially when Jeff deals with numbers and ROI and spreadsheets on a daily basis.
However, I’ve really enjoyed it. I find myself enjoying all aspects of starting a business, even if they aren’t necessarily my strong suit. As we’ve been moving closer to launch, we’ve spent a lot of our energy putting the right team in place ? a lawyer, an accountant, a t-shirt vendor, and yes ? a banker.
While our immediate banking needs will be pretty basic, we like to think of this relationship as a long-term commitment. We are relational fellows (we did start out of a bible study, after all), and strive for strong relationships from everyone we interact with. That obviously includes our end consumers, but it also includes the guy with the coat and tie handling our money. Just take a look at our logo and you’ll see the appreciation we have for coats and ties.
So here’s to you, banker dudes. Thanks for doing the boring stuff so we can make beer.
I am currently reading The Search for God and Guinness by Stephen Mansfield. I’m about halfway through and so far it is excellent. If you love beer and beer history (I’m looking at YOU, Maureen Ogle), this is a must-read.
That is all. Please return back to your regularly scheduled Friday activities.
It’s no surprise that we love beer. If it IS a surprise, you clearly have trouble drawing reasonable conclusions from what you have read. But why do we love beer? Our reasons are varied, and we’d love to hear yours. Here are some of my top reasons, in no particular order:
- Beer is alive. The element of live yeast makes it so dern interesting.
- Beer is broad. The differences between a light lager and a Russian Imperial Stout are astounding. And yet both are beer. Though notice I didn’t capitalize light lager.
- Beer spans generational, economic, and cultural constructs. Much like Waffle House, those who enjoy beer come from all walks of life. It is a true commonality in a world of differences.
- Beer is calming. There is nothing better than winding down with a quality beer (especially a Monday Night beer) at the end of a long day.
- Beer brings people together. Beer provides that little bit of a reason needed to hang out with those we love. “Hey Bob, want to grab a beer sometime?” Or “Hey Justin Timberlake, want to grab a beer sometime?” I like to pretend I’m friends with Justin Timberlake.
Yep. I think I’m going to end that one on Justin Timberlake. So what are YOUR reasons for loving beer?
Image source: the bbp
Many people have preconceived, often false, notions of stouts. This glorious beer has a heavy color and a heavier name (in-laws are stout, not beers, right?). People tend to associate the following traits with this heavy outward appearance:
- Thick and rich
- High alcohol
This is the subject of a recent New York Times article, which does a good job debunking these myths. Writer Eric Asimov says,
Stout in its classic form is one of the lighter ales, paradoxically full-bodied yet delicate. For years, my go-to midday brew was draft Guinness Stout, a once-rare beer that has become easier and easier to find in New York in the years since the city?s beer consciousness was raised. Aside from the enticing flavors of roasted barley and coffee, a properly pulled pint is low in alcohol, around 4 percent, fractionally less even than Bud Light. It?s probably wishful thinking, but I like to think a midday stout aids the digestion. I know it improves the imagination.
I have to say stouts are some of my favorite beers. There’s also a lot of versatility within the style. Cherry stouts, milk stouts, chocolate stouts, coffee stouts, Russian Imperial stouts. The maltiness of the stout can hold up to a lot of added flavors. I still want to brew our mint chocolate stout again. OMG DELICIOUS.
If you’ve stayed clear of stouts because you thought they were too heavy or too alcoholic, I beg you to try again. There’s a stout out there for [almost] everyone.
Image source: knightbefore_99
The Wall Street Journal published an interesting article today on the correlation between a ballpark’s winning percentage and the cost of the beer there. I’m admittedly not the biggest baseball fan (I blame it on one massive failure of a year playing Little League), but beer and economics is right up my alley. Beer prices can vary dramatically depending on the stadium. A 21 oz beer costs $4.75 in Pittsburgh, but a 20 oz beer costs $8.75 in San Francisco. That’s a hefty margin. So what’s the correlation?
A team with a .600 winning percentage charges, on average, about $1.30 more for a 16-ounce beer than does a team with a .400 percentage.
There are obviously anomalies, as writer Justin Merry points out.
[T]here’s Nationals Park where, in exchange for watching baseball’s worst team, fans get to spend $7.50 for a 20-ounce beer. Of course, nothing compares to Boston’s Fenway Park. There, you’ll pay $7.25 for just 12 ounces?a rate that is, ounce for ounce and win for win, the worst beer value in baseball.
No word on where Atlanta falls in all of this. At least we aren’t the Nationals.
Image source: wallyg
There’s an interesting (and short) article in Metro about “The art of the six-pack.” And I quote:
?The craft beer industry is a very creative industry,? explains Matt Polacheck, Art Director at Brooklyn-based Shmaltz Brewing, whose Coney Island Craft Lagers line features colorful, sideshow poster-inspired labels. ?The artful labels tie in to the whole culture of craft beer ? it?s about creating new, interesting beers ? and so to go along with those beers, we?ve made the experience of the bottle as interesting as what?s inside.?
Craft beer labels do tend towards the artsy side of things. New Belgium has been using watercolors from the founders’ neighbor for its beers since the beginning. Flying Dog takes label art to a whole new level with their Ralph Steadman creations. One of my favorite recent examples of this is Deschutes The Dissident:
Now that is a good-looking label. Simple, retro, powerful. It reminds me of Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds. Personally, I think the whole “label as art” phenomenon among craft breweries is a function of two things:
- Craft breweries are small and quirky. It’s the small, quirky companies that have the courage and opportunity to play around with things like labels. Budweiser is catering to too many people to get too creative, but Coney Island Craft Lagers has a very specific (and accepting) demographic. Plus, the people behind craft breweries, ourselves included, generally want to express themselves. We’re a bunch of white collar guys trying to enjoy life, so our labels reflect that.
- There are a ton of craft breweries and you have to stand out. Have you been to the package store lately? At last count there were over 1400 craft breweries in the U.S. Hop City carries over 1200 different beers. With so many choices, it makes sense to make your labels pop, and art is one of the best ways to do this.
Artsy labels are obviously no substitute for great beer, but the label may be the thing that sets a beer apart on the shelf and gets someone to try it. Once that someone has purchased a six-pack, it’s up to the beer to retain that consumer.
Image source: djeucalyptus
Recently we’ve been writing a column for a new online beer magazine, Beer Connoisseur. I’ve even got to the point where I spell “Connoisseur” correctly on the first try. A couple weeks ago we ran an article about the basics of marketing a new brewery. I’d like to present a slightly updated version of that same story here.
First, this is about the first steps in marketing a new brewery. We will get more in-depth later, but this post discusses the importance of names and logos. Once you know you’re starting a brewery, you need to call it something. You need a logo. You need names for your beers. Before you go all crazy brainstorming, consider the following:
- Your mission. Why do you want to start a brewery? How do you want to do things differently? What’s your story and what things will you never compromise on?
- Your market. Who are the big craft beer players in the geographic area you plan on targeting? Are there any gaps in terms of beer styles or brand strategy that you can exploit? Atlanta was lacking a cosmopolitan-feeling microbrewery, which is where we thought our strengths were.
- Your consumer. Newsflash: you aren’t the first craft brewery to open its doors. And craft beer drinkers are notoriously fickle, though not necessarily in a bad way. Most craft beer drinkers are different from mainstream beer drinkers in that they don’t stick to a particular brand. However, they may gravitate towards certain brands. To make sure that one of these brands is yours, you have to stand for something. Think about your target consumer as a literal target. You need to choose a bullseye. Something narrow and focused. It doesn’t have to say everything about your brand, but it does have to say something. Once you stand for something, people will automatically start attributing other things to you, thus widening your target and your appeal.
Once you’ve got some clarity on the three large buckets above, you can start brainstorming a name for your brewery. And once you’ve got that, you can start in on the logo. Both of these are important elements. They will be the first things a consumer hears or sees regarding your beer. Even before you open your doors, they can help to define what others expect of you. What should you look for in a name?
- Descriptive of who you are and what you’re about
- Short and sweet
- Easy to spell
- Domain name is available
- Sufficiently different from competition
As for the logo, there are many different ways to go about designing it. You can do it yourself. You can turn to friends or family with some graphic design expertise. You can hold a logo contest online at a place like 99designs.com. You can go to a freelancer, ad agency or graphic design firm. We designed it ourselves with initial idea input from an online logo contest. Total cost was $150 + hours and hours of my time. Whatever option you choose, here are some things to think about:
- Imagine it on a tap handle, pint glass or bottle. Logos don’t float around by themselves, they need to be experienced in context.
- Can it be easily converted to one color? One-color printing is much cheaper, so it’s something to consider. Seriously.
- Can it be deciphered from far away? Chances are consumers aren’t going to have it 3 inches in front of them when they first see your logo.
- Is it flexible enough to stay with you as you grow? Drastic logo changes should be avoided if possible.
Give as much specific feedback to your designer upfront as possible. In my experience, both with Monday Night and as someone who has worked with designers and ad agencies, you’ll get a better quality product if you give them a head start to where you want to be. Think about what words you want the logo to convey. Any font styles you particularly like? What about colors? Are there any that you absolutely need or absolutely need to stay away from?
That’s it on the name and logo. If you have any thoughts, feel free to leave them as comments. I’m hoping to talk more about marketing a brewery as time goes on. It’s a subject that is near and dear to my heart, and also a subject that we’re learning about daily.
Image source: sarah-ji