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One beer. One vote.

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We’ve started debating the question which has no answer: If we have to pick one beer to go to market with initially, which beer should it be? There are many factors at play here, including what micros are currently widely available (Sweetwater’s 420), what Georgia has a taste for, and what name/label is most likely to get people heading to the cash register. Obviously we want your insight too. You needn’t have tasted our beers to vote, but please keep in mind the following:

  • What you like
  • What the less sophisticated Georgian beer drinker likes (or could grow to like)
  • What name is most intriguing
  • What label is most compelling (see Brews page for our current label lineup)
  • Any unfulfilled gaps in the Georgia beer market (if you know it)

[poll=3]

Happy Friday!

10 thoughts on “One beer. One vote.

  1. Roundhouse for year-round drinking. Weissguy should be your summer seasonal and Drafty Kilt could be a winter seasonal.

  2. I’ve never tried any of yinz guys’s beers (tough to do so from wester PA), but from a sheer marketing standpoint, The Weiss Guy is the way to go, IMHO. Most craft brew fans enjoy a well done wheat, and the hefeweizen style is such a great “gateway” beer for new comers. Plus chicks dig any beer in which it is OK to add fruit.

    Cheers, guys, and good luck. I really enjoy following your progress from way up here where its cold.

  3. Hey guys,

    I chose the IPA, because from a marketing standpoint it does have a great name and an even funnier logo, you should think about registering the label such as Sierra Nevadas Bigfoot Barleywine.

    Also, here in San Diego you can’t start a brewery without a great IPA!

    GoodLuck guys!

  4. I disagree with everyone above.

    IPA is right out. The market is so heavily dominated by *great* beers, that you will be lost in the sea of IPA’s. Unless your IPA is truly stellar (not having tasted it, I won’t pass any judgement), it won’t be far enough ahead of the pack to generate a buzz. Plus, Georgia is not exactly IPA territory. I’ve read an interview with Spike from Terrapin where he consciously kept the Rye Pale Ale a little less aggressive than he wanted, because he knew the Georgia market wouldn’t go for something too far out there (that being said, I really miss the RyePA from when I lived there, so one of my recent brews was a more aggressive version of it :-)

    Same of the Pale. With the Terrapin RyePA and the Sweetwater 420, you’ve got two good Pale Ales. The Terrapin being light-years ahead of the 420, which isn’t all that great. Then, you’ve got Sierra Nevada, which is the old standby and the definition of the style. And they’re hoppier than you would want your first offering to be in a place like Georgia.

    The hefe is similarly a tough beer to have as a starter. It should be a part of your constant lineup, and is an easy thing to provide for bars (if you’re going to try to distribute to the tap market rather than just bottles), as it’s a very common bar order. But again, it falls into the category of “which Hefe do I choose today” when you’re at a place like Taco Mac. What about your Hefe will make people choose it ahead of other things on the menu?

    My choice would be the Drafty Kilt. There are a few reasons for this:

    1) It’s a newish style to the Atlanta market. Just as someone like Terrapin can stake out a claim for a Rye Pale Ale because it’s not just a standard Pale Ale, you can take a little-developed style and introduce new drinkers to it.

    2) It’s a little sweeter and less hoppy. Crucial for the Georgia market, which will prefer a much less aggressive brew. It is a good gateway style because of the low hop usage and residual sweetness.

    Now, I don’t know just how much “smoke” you’ve built into your recipe, so that might be a concern. If it’s too high, it makes it difficult to be a recipe for market entry. But if it’s nice, balanced, and sweet, I can see it being very well received.

    From what I remember, there weren’t a lot of scotch ales at either Taco Mac or at Wild Wing Cafe (the two places I usually went for good beer up in Marietta)… So the market is somewhat open, and it would make a good jumping-off point for your other brews.

  5. Marcus,

    Here in California, a proper IPA is a must for a brewery. You’d be surprised at how different the Georgia market is, though. The two main GA breweries, Sweetwater and Terrapin, don’t have great IPA’s. Sweetwater has an IPA, but it’s hard to find and most people drink the 420 instead, and Terrapin has a Rye double IPA, but it’s only a seasonal release.

    The market is there that these MNB guys could become the best IPA brewed in Georgia simply by releasing the Swashchuckler, but that may not be their best move, as the local beer-drinking scene is not as centered around IPA’s as SoCal. Hell, Georgia doesn’t even get Stone!

    Are you associated with the QUAFF guys down there in San Diego? I’m submitting 6 brews to their competition… I’m not sure if they’re having any sort of awards ceremony this year (nor whether any of my beers will place, as I understand the QUAFF guys are pretty damn good at brewing!), but if they are I might head down for it.

  6. I don’t have anything wise to add (as usual), but I want to second Brad’s sentiments: the Drafty Kilt is unusual and thus a good foothold. Founders Brewery uses a scotch ale (Dirty Bastard) as their flagship beer, and holding it as their identity helped them survive a couple of years of not creating anything phenomenal. Eventually, they developed Red’s Rye, Breakfast Stout, and Devil Dancer to really establish themselves as a unique brewery.

    Also, the bartenders there will give you free samples if you show yourself to be a beer connoisseur and an informal tour after they’ve gotten you too drunk to be able to remember the recipes dangling around the brewery.

    Anyway, Drafty Kilt is not only a unique beer but also a memorable name. Weiss Guy serves a similar purpose but a different crowd. Note that I know nothing about Georgian palates, so pick for yourself.

    Brew on!

  7. MNB Guys, if you would like to enter any of your beers into the QUAFF homebrew competition let me know, I should be able to get you in after the deadline. Also, you guys should think about coming down for the World Beer Cup here in San Diego, you will be able to visit some great breweries and meet some great brewers.

    Good luck Brad, I am only entering 2 beers and am stewarding. Yes, the guys at QUAFF can brew.

    Cheers

  8. Thanks everyone for your feedback and thoughts – great perspectives. We’ll definitely take your insights into account as we think through where to focus our time and energy over the coming months. The next year for us is all about perfecting a handful of go-to-market beers, and figuring out what those beers should be has proved most difficult than we probably anticipated. In true MNB style, we’ll keep you posted on how things develop.

  9. Good luck Jeff, Joel, and Jonathan… We’ll be watching.

    And I speak for myself but I’m guessing I can probably include Marcus in this. If you’re ever in Southern California, you’re more than welcome to stop by for a beer :-)

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