Maine2

For those of you who tuned in yesterday, you read about a Maine Beer, Gritty’s – with 3 locations in that fine Northeast state.

It brings me to a comment made by Rob Tod (clever profile by the way), founder of Allagash, another fine Maine brewery.  The comment was made at a CBC panel discussion…and really the context is adaptable. Of course it was in reference to “Keeping It Real”, the panel topic of the session.

Regardless of the context, I liked the inferred meaning – and feel like you can plug it in, in many ways, many different situations.

“It’s not a big thing, it’s not a small thing, it’s just a thing.”

How many things do we make too big or too small when we should just deal with it as is?

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Beer Generosity

Some of you may know my associate, Deidre. She’s a great fit for the beer business we are working on – determined, smart, diplomatic, assertive, willing to make the ask, loves beer.

Gritty's Halloween Ale

Gritty's Halloween Ale

She recently got in touch with Gritty’s per their beers. Well, fun story short, Ann Ewing and Thomas Wilson were able facilitate us trying their Halloween Ale.

THANKS! To Diedre for reaching out, to Ann for reaching back, and to Thomas for sharing.

My thoughts? Tasty fuller bodied beer which will surely go well with lush flavored fall foods; squashes, roasted vegetables, grilled red meats.

And Ann – I’ll hope to see you in November during my cross country trip. I’ll take you up on some good beers & food when we come through Maine.

Cheers & Happy Labor Day All ~

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GABF

Larry & Chris at GABF 2008

Larry & Chris at GABF 2008

Will you be there?

If so and you want to share a pint, get in touch. We can connect for a pint. I’ll be there through the whole thing.

Cheers~

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Good Example

Here’s a good story on how beer and food go together. Be informed and plugged into where our drink and food come from.

Annual Soulstice Party at my homeGetting people together is a perfect format for conversation, as well as good beer, to flow.

I grew up in a family that threw dinner parties – from the arrival cocktail and pupu’s (as my mom called them) to dinner to dessert cordials. I learned how to drink (responsibly), entertain (diplomacy) and take care of guests (customer service). Ever grateful for that early experience, it’s a passion that I have continued.

Farms, homes, apartment, backyards. It doesn’t matter where you get together. People don’t come over to judge your home, they come over to see you. What matters is you. (Do your pub guests feel this way?)

So call a few folks today, make it a late summer potluck if you like. The vegetables available right now, in season, are an even bigger reason to dine with others.

Just do it. You’ll be very glad you did.

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Sticking it at State Fairs

Summit BreweryHaving grown up in Minnesota, and currently living in Iowa, the whole  “_(some sort of food)_ on a stick” fair food is very familair. Not that I cruise or loiter at State Fairs, but I can tell you that they are biggies and great for people watching.

So when I read this, it made me laugh! Summit is a favorite brewery of mine – reliable, satisfying and tasty.

And what better reason to visit the local fair than Beer On A Stick.

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What "Supporting Your Local Brewery" Means

It means:

  • Employment
  • Community spirit
  • Economic Productivity
  • Locally invested business
  • Complementary businesses in suppliers and vendors
  • Independent entrepreneurial folks
  • Working where you live
  • Choices
  • Fun, engaged people doing good honest business

Go local.

Read this.

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Birthday

It’s my own personal holiday today – so this will be brief.

WOO HOO!!! I have always loved my birthday – already had pancakes made by my Fine Husband, with bacon…mmm!

Got some tasty beer to enjoy later as well – bon fire tonight (if this rain knocks off).

Cheers indeed!

g

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Myth Busting

Good article to read when trying to bust the myth of beer being unhealthy. So is zucchini in great quantities.

Here’s another. And another. And another.

Quantity and frequency are the key – to darn near everything. Moderation, savoring, enjoying, taking your time.

It would seem to be that anything is excess is, well, excessive and therefore not good.

I just wonder why, if the article is about ‘older’ women, they chose a younger women for the picture?

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Worthog thanks

state-map-of-usaHere’s to Amy and her sharing this site with me.

I see as of early August she is off and traveling. Enjoy!

Let me know all the great beers (and not so great ones too) you tasted abroad. We’ll be traveling soon as well so any heads-ups will be appreciated.

Cheers~

Photo courtesy of Flickr by Kevin Hutchinson

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What 'They' Know

How did you acquire the knowledge you have?

Think about how customers get the knowledge they have – after all, they’re quite human just like you (and of course me). And we all started at square one.

Respect that people may not know all that you’d like them to. What they know is what they’ve experienced.

Therein lies the golden diplomatic educational opportunity.

And that most certainly is valid. Make sure you build up, not tear down per your own preferences and opinions.

Like I’ve said before, be a geek not a snob.

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Un/Engaged

How many of the people you work with  are fully engaged in your business?

Perhaps we should back up – are you fully engaged? Most – being the vast majority – of the beer people I have met who work in the industry in some manner, are truly plugged into what they do and why they do it.

apple_harvestSo back to present day, who is not engaged? If they are not, why not?

Unengaged employees do not engage customers.

If they are salvageable, then get to it. If they are not, cut them free. A bad fit is a bad for everyone. (this person should clearly NOT be in a customer contact position – yikes!!!)

If one bad apple spoils the bushel, then make sure they’re all prize fruit. Customers can tell when something’s rotten.

Photo courtesy of Flickr by mcmrbt

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View

Pay attention to the customers’ frame of reference, not yours.

Not your industry lingo, jargon, speak or vocabulary.

heineken-customer-service-cakeSpeak customer – that does not mean dumb it down. Your customers aren’t stupid. It means stepping outside of yourself and simultaneously your industry language to dialogue with the customer.

The first step in successfully inviting the customer to join you in enjoying and understanding your beer is to make sure they feel like you two are on the same (grammar) page. Alienation with jargon is easy – and easy to avoid.

Careful. Like Mike says, become a student of your customer.

Industry speak is one of the easiest ways to turn people off and turn them away. Yes, you’re passionate about your beer – stay that way. Be a geek, not a snob.

But you’re not your customer. Pay attention to them, not you.

Familiarity breeds alignment.

It’s easy to do. So do it.

Photo courtesy of Flickr by craftyconfections

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One Hundred +

Today marks the 100th post for Women Enjoying Beer. Big Thanks!! to all who have read it, read it regularly or sporadically, linked out to it, and chimed in. Please – more comments would be terrific.

  • What do you want?
  • How can WEB help?
  • What can I offer you to grow your business?
  • How can WEB increase your recreational enjoyment of beer?

Talk back. Here’s your permission.

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Good Friday

Hello all – Forgive me as I’ve been remiss about posting this week. The Open Road had taken my attention. So I’ll be back on track starting immediately.

Thanks – and keep reading!

Ginger

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What Does 'Local' Mean (#4 of 4 Series)

When you think in terms of local and regional goods, what do you think of?

What does it mean to be “local”? What about “regional”?

In focus groups, women say that buying local, more and more, matters to them. When pressed for what local means to them, we do an interesting dance.

  • “What does local mean to you”
  • That it comes from close by.”
  • “So is an egg produced by a chicken within 50 miles local?”
  • “(usually) Yes.”
  • “Farther than 50 miles??”
  • “No.”
  • “What about your beer – how close is local?”
  • (Run through similar questioning)

makes-beerAt the same time, because the conversation invariably turns to the fact that say hops is grown in limited areas of the world, then the definition is stretched to accommodate. And, knowing that, it’s perfectly fine with them.

They are telling us that local is a balance to strike – like everything else. Yes, they’d love it if all the ingredients were sourced locally, yet they realize that the crops are not necessarily available – so that is factored in.

Regional, well, that extends the definition even farther. If they want, say, a Midwest beer – wow! They’ve got a warehouse full of great choices. California? Same drill. Wyoming, South Dakota, North Dakota? It gets dicey simply due to sheer numbers.

So pay attention to how you advertise your ingredients. It can be a big plus – when a component is sourced close by. Just as importantly balanced out as buying organic. These are all conversations with your consumers and supporters you know. Talk it up.

Find out what it means to your patrons.

Photo courtesy of Flickr by Adrian Midgley

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Where Women Drink Beer (#3 of Series)

It seems that many people, regardless of gender, like to drink beer outside. Why is that?

Well, part of it seems to be regionally related. Said another way, people and definitely women in the focus groups, like to sit outside as weather permits.

Why? (feels like a 3 year old line of questioning)

Jennifer & Deidre enjoying a tasty beer outside

Jennifer & Deidre enjoying a tasty beer outside

Because in some areas of the globe weather is not always ‘nice’. Nice being conducive to sitting outside. I’m not talking about the enthusiasts who will drink anywhere, under any atmospheric condition.

I’m addressing the average consumer female beer drinker. They like to sit out of doors, or be outside, to enjoy their beer.

Why? Because beer is a social beverage and generally when you’re sitting outside, you’re with company. And the social element is a really really big part of drinking beer for women.

That’s why.

In areas where you can sit outside most the year round, well, it’s still important. Perhaps not as amplified as those who live in different climates – including those who sit indoors due to really hot weather just as much as those who sit indoors because of really cold weather.

So when you think about where women can and will drink your beer, think about context of location, time of year and where they can do just that – sit outside, drinking beer.

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Listen To The Market Share (#2 of Series)

You know what I love about kids? They don’t have what my friend Mike Wagner calls a crap filter. Indeed. Ask them a question and generally you get a straight forward answer.

Point today – ask your market segment directly you are after for their input, opinions, and insights. Don’t ask someone else who THINKS they know what that other person is invariably thinking. Regardless how well one person knows another, they are still not that person.

The same thing has happened in traditionally marketing beers. Some companies still think they know what the female consumer wants. Pray tell – how do they come to this conclusion??

Focus group participants let it rip – they tell me point blank they have no idea why companies simply do not ask them.

Who out there has a regular focus group program? Set up to listen (not just hear or assume they are listening) to their female patrons to find out what they really want, what they really like?

If you do not have an ongoing market development segment of your business there are lots of ways to go about it.

  1. Partner with other companies in the same industry. Craft brewers are a great example of an industry that wants to help the whole. Go with that comraderie. Share costs.
  2. Work with your female patrons – ask them what they like, what they don’t like, why and follow all sorts of thinking trails to get this information. Then act on it.
  3. Hire a facilitator, a moderator that knows how to get the best information for you to grow and develop your business. I guarantee you it will be well worth the time, effort and investment. And it is an investment – you will get it back in $$.

Listen to the market share.

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Know Thy Market (#1 of Series)

This may seem like stating the over obvious. However I wouldn’t be specializing in marketing beer to women if there weren’t a need.

Knowing the market you are after, BEFORE you introduce your product to market, is a true basic of marketing. Like the word (marketing ) or not, it’s what you are doing – trying to sell something to the market that will buy your goods.

  • Did you spend time on the front end, prior to opening your brewery, in deciding and identifying your market?
  • If so, what is that market share?
  • Do you pursue them accurately and authentically?

If you answered yes, please continue to read for enjoyment and reinforcement.

If you said no to any one of these inquiries, keep reading. You must know your market – it cannot be incidental – to survive and thrive. To make beer just because you love beer  – if you are hoping to make it a successful business – is foolish (unless you’re independently wealthy).

Women tell me over and over in focus groups they feel like (most) beer companies aren’t even trying to reach them. T & A of days past, too young ‘girl’ type females, and all the surrounding traditional advertising is not applicable. Why should a segment (women) listen when they aren’t even trying to be accurately reached?

Be passionate by all means. Be smart about knowing your market. Market research is pretty straight forward stuff. Hire the right person to help you develop and address it properly. it

Know Thy Market.

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