Cheers to 5 Years of WEB

Last week found a group of revelers and flavor lovers celebrating our 5th Anniversary. I choose one of our local brewpubs for the host location, a cozy room was full of fine folks, and a good time was had by all.

To review:

Women Enjoying Beer is the only company on the planet that specializes in studying women and their relationship with beer. We conduct qualitative research with women, educate both consumers and professionals based on that research and offer business and marketing services for professionals who want to authentically and successful attract the female consumer and buyer.

The brewer leading our beer flight at WEB's 5th Anniversary party

The brewer leading our beer flight at WEB’s 5th Anniversary party

While beer is our specialty category, the information we gather crosses category lines. Once someone shares how they make decisions (qualitative data) and all that surrounds those decisions, then you can affect change. To know the stats (quantitative) is not enough nor is it fully telling of the story.

I think of quantitative information as the bones of a skeleton. The qualitative information is the tissue and muscles, which move the body forward. It makes everything possible. A skeleton without tissue is not very useful.

Thank you to everyone who joined the celebration. We gathered for a pre-program beer, chatted and met new folks, then moved into the evenings agenda. The brewer of the brewpub was on hand to share and educate about the flight that was included. Once he was finished, I shared a talk about beer’s 10K years of herstory til now, in a very abbreviated fashion.

In the spirit of the season and reason for gathering, everyone received a goodie bag as well as kept their initial beer glass. New friendships were made, delicious flavors were had by all and the group wandered home happy.

Thanks to them and all of you as we head into year 6. Cheers to a very tasty, peaceful and fun New Year ~

Beer Menu:

Wild Trail Ale, I Love Oregon Ale, Victory Lager, Amber Ale, Twin Plunge IPA, Steel Cut Oatmeal Stout, Noble (coffee) Stout, Malbec barrel aged Barleywine.

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Tasty Holidays, Swig & Stitch Style

Swig & Stitch: learn about beer and sewing techniques. Both useful and fun.

Swig & Stitch: learn about beer and sewing techniques. Both useful and fun.

Cheers to those folks who have and continue to attend our monthly Swig & Stitch events. Last night we held our December beer version with much success again.

4 Daughters Irish Pub is our host, with the very talented and professional (and fun) GM Brandy at the helm. Tim (server), Alec (beertender) and crew always treats us well and we’re glad to meet there. Everyone is welcome to register for these events and can do so with Sandi of Fabric of Vision – here’s the contact info. 

It’s a great opportunity to learn about a life skill: sewingpartnered with beer education. I lead the beer tasting and food pairing, based on the fresh beers 4 Daughters has on draft and the foods on their menu.

Cheers to a tasty holiday season! Here’s what we enjoyed.

  • Widmer Hefeweizen with 4 Cheese Fondue (havarti, white cheddar, fontina, gouda)
  • Alameda Yellow Wolf Imperial IPA with spicy honey glazed chicken bites, carrot + celery
  • Lindeman’s Framboise with Black and Tan brownie (fudge + peanut butter)

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Evaluation Vs. Judging

One of the most important lessons I learned in Mexico City this year came from my stint judging beer.

My gracious and beer passionate hosts, Jose and Rodolfo, invited me to participate in the Homebrewing Judging happening during Congreso Cerveza Mexico. Knowing full well I’m a very novice judge, they still invited me to participate. So I did with caution and eyes wide open!

judging beer in Mexico City

judging beer in Mexico City

The others in the judging corral were incredibly helpful and supportive – we all have to start somewhere. And now I count the experience as a large and influential one. Learning to judge beer based on its technical and sensory merits is very difficult.

Rex Halfpenny has fostered the exercise for years with Jose and summed it up this way:

Think of it as evaluation vs. judging.

Swirl, sniff, write.

Don’t be afraid to compromise.

How do you calibrate something before evaluating something? You need to be knowledgeable, open-minded, discuss with colleague and peers, and then go to it.

We’re human and humans like to judge. If we first evaluate then the process will be more enlightening, more effective, more fruitful and for sure more successful and fun.

I’ll put my hand in the air, with caution, to judge again. To feel confident in doing so, I’ll ask a lot more sensory questions, hang with those who’ve successfully and diplomatically judged, read up and suspend judgement – and simply evaluate.

Pints up to friend and valued colleague Lisa Morrison as well for giving me a pre-trip tutorial. And to Jimmy of Seaside Brewing for my very first go round as a judge.

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Salud To Skype

With a glass raised, I salute Skype today.

IMG_0826The positive results that this article shares is encouraging and it’s a medium I use for work and pleasure. It affords me the opportunity to virtually meet people from across the country and allows intercourse for progress.

I came across the article in researching for my presentation last week at Congreso Cerveza Mexico. Here’s another site with tuns of information on women, global workforces and information therein (here’s an article from that site I referenced).

The article cited about (and again here) is a perfect example of helpful technology. In this case, shedding a spotlight on the disparity of women’s value and pay in various developing countries. Progress = acceptable. Disparity = unacceptable.

Read the article, please, and tell me what you find in translation.

Thanks to United Airlines Hemispheres Magazine for commissioning and publishing this progressive and imporant piece.

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Critical Details

Ever heard someone say, “it’s all in the little details?” In thinking about this in a literal way – “the little details” – I’m going to start using a new phrase as of today: It’s The Critical Details.

First of all because everything is a detail. Size of task or step or process is inapplicable of import since everything truly makes the whole. “Small” is a world I don’t like to use in business. If you do use it, chase it with a descriptor to further expound. For example: business isn’t small or big. It’s business. Beer isn’t small or big, it’s beer. And where’s the middle? They get left out entirely. So I’d encourage you to rethink and reframe and record.

My business isn’t small simply because it’s me and a handful for contractors. It’s my whole life. And there’s nothing small about that.

Today’s post is inspired by a breakfast dining experience just today. It was an ideal opportunity for a business to earn my business. I was hungry, eager to this this place, and had a sizable gift card to use. Read: ready to spend money which can lead to a generous tip.

I found myself sitting at the table, party of one, just about ready to exit and it hit me: All Details Are Critical.

First off here are the details they were successful at:

  1. Food choices, quality and flavor were high. Great.
  2. Dollar value was high. Great.
  3. Setting was comfy and welcoming. Good.
  4. Food arrived promptly and at expected temps. Good.

Here are the critical details they missed:

1. No greet, only “Only one of you today?” followed a few minutes later with “I’ll be right with you.” The latter is usually not believable anyway and the former makes you feel lacking, like “are you lonely or what?”.  Most critically, there was no smile or hello. Confidence drops.

2. The one staffer working audibly stated “Where is everyone?” in frustration of having to run the floor herself. Adding some sort of inappropriate comment for public ears that she was unhappy with people not showing up. While that may be a valid point for staff, it’s never somethignto say within ear shot of customers. Confidence drops.

3. I was immediately passed over, though in line first, for a party of 3, with the harried worker shoving the seating of all of us to another staff member who literally walked in the door. The party of three was lead to a table, I was told to sit where I liked. Not a great feeling that my business was important. I’ve never heard a host say “Only 5?” – get rid of the only. Confidence drops.

4. No check back until way too late in the meal, the juice was forgotten until I inquired about it, and there was for sure no “What else can I get for you?” or “thank you” given as the check presenter was simply dropped off at my table; across the table in an awkward place to reach in light of dishes and other tables stuffs. Handing it to me would have been better. And no the argument can’t be made that it’d interrupt me. I plainly watched the server leave the presenter and it’d been a way to partially save the experience.

Confidence: gone. Business: gone.

Suffice it to say, I won’t go back. Pity really since it’s appealing and the food is really solid, fresh and delicious. They missed way too many critical items to make up for the poor service and that’s a killer in the customer service business.

Great service can rescue poor food and a questionable atmosphere. Poor service can never resurrect good food or nice atmosphere.

I’ll chow elsewhere in the future. After all, it’s all in the critical details.

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Breweries: You Owe It To Your Drinkers…

“You owe it to your drinkers to put the ABV [of your beers] clear and obviously on the labels and menus.”

Dr. Lewis (r)

Dr. Lewis (r)

These wise and business savvy and responsibly focused words came from the venerable Dr. Michael Lewis at the 2013 Craft Brewers Conference. Every year I make it a point to see Dr. Lewis’ talk at the CBC. He speaks plainly and with no pretense with full regard and respect for the beer first.

Dr. Lewis is the longest standing professor of beer in America, now Professor Emeritus at UC Davis. I’ve had the distinct pleasure to getting to know him a bit and look forward to more opportunities to do so.

A true gentleman, like Nick Matt by the way, and always stays the course of quality. “Honor your product, he says – serve it in proper glassware. I’d agree. Common sense does not necessarily mean good sense. Indeed – I’d agree again. Because if it were truly common sense we’d all have it – and clearly we all don’t.

Cheers to Dr. Lewis today – A highly valued beer community member and rightly so. Or as he’d say: Lechyd-da!

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Hail Toronto! And The TFOB

Otherwise known as Toronto’s Festival Of Beers, hosted by Beerlicious.

What an honor to be the first American to take the stage at the Labatt sponsored Grilling Tent in Toronto last weekend. The tent is a lively and fun (and tasty) place to sit and enjoy a whole different facet of this long-established and flavorful event.

Roger, Thirst For Knowledge & Matt, Rock Lobster Food Company

Roger, Thirst For Knowledge & Matt, Rock Lobster Food Company

The organizers are thoughtful, super helpful and accommodating and made the experience ultra enjoyable for me all around. A few reasons why:

1. Communication by all those who were helping me was very good. They were all very available and forthcoming in their contacts and accessibility. From the very first emails with Courtney to Grilling Tent instructions from Jeremy to talking with Roger Mittag – Emcee for the tent to BeerRadio with Les Murray.

2. The assistance in the tent for my actual session (cooking with beer, I made 2 versatile sauces on the grill) of the Briquettes, Francesco, and sous chef Nicole. Literally, these fine people made it effortless and were extremely welcoming and helpful.

The fabulous Courtney of Beerlicious (western hat)

The fabulous Courtney of Beerlicious (western hat)

3. The Brewmasters Series tent and other educational opportunities were smart and well received features of the fest. I finally got to meet Roger of Thirst For Knowledge at this tent before his highly informative and fun Beer 101 class.

4. Meeting the other Grilling Tent personalities like Christian Pritchard, Matt & Hugo of Rock Lobster Food Company, Jeremy Parsons, Afrim of the Cheese Boutique, as well as Ted Reader. What a great bunch of fun loving, flavor loving, passionate beer and food folks.

5. The fest guests were all robustly having a grand time! Thanks to those who sat in on my session, the last one on the last day and shot me questions from the floor. I always say the guests make the party and I mean it. Shout out to Lisa & Steve whom I met in the Series session.

Bouyant and very fun Christian Pritchard

Bouyant and very fun Christian Pritchard

6. The host hotel, The Gladstone, was a funky and fun place to stay, assisted by Kalvin and crew. It was easy walking distance to the fest to some exercise to and fro was ideal to see more of the neighborhoods of Toronto.

What a thrill! I sincerely hope to return next year. Toronto has much to offer, beer wise, food wise, and people wise. Thanks Beerlicious and everyone who made the visit for WEB all the more eye opening and delicious.

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Great Folks In Toronto

Cheers to the terrific & beerific team at Beerlicious!! They’ve graciously invited me to be a presenter and edutainer in the Grilling Tent this coming Sunday at the Toronto Festival of Beers (7/28).

Join us at the 2013 Toronto Festival of Beers!

Join us at the 2013 Toronto Festival of Beers!

If you’re in the neighborhood or are looking for a reason to get to gorgeous Toronto, Ontario, Canada, come out to this tasty and energetic festival.

The entire team – Courtney, Les, Erin, Jeremy & Roger (that I’m familiar with so far) has been unfailingly helpful, enthusiastic and I super stoked for WEB to get there. Plus I’ve never spent any time in the largest city in Canada – though I can sing the national anthem, Oh Canada (previous life experience singing anthems at hockey games).

I’m ready for some fresh and tasty Canadian Beer, great camaraderie, and the food’s a’waiting! I also have the honor of being their first American to appear – it’s an opportunity to further the idea of beer education and get to know more beer lovers. What an honor!!!

I’m very grateful and excited for it. Here’s the bio of one of these fine folk, Roger Mittag, super accomplished beer comrade and educator:

 Roger Mittag, Professor of Beer, Thirst for Knowledge Inc. (love that name!)

Roger Mittag, currently a Professor at Humber College’s renowned School of Hospitality, is also the founder of Canada’s leading beer education company, Thirst For Knowledge.  He has been bringing his beer appreciation tips to Canadians since 1997 through a series of tasting seminars, beer dinners and educational events. He’s a consultant to several Canadian breweries bringing his extensive beer industry knowledge and enthusiastic approach to their sales and marketing teams. He has recently created Prud’homme Beer Certification, a sommelier style program for beer and the first such program in Canada. Roger also owns and operates, The Beer School, which offers beer courses to consumers.

Grilling Tent appearance: Sunday 7/28, 530 – 615 pm

I’ll be demonstrating 2 sauces – one cheese and one chocolate for my time in the Grilling Tent. Showing how easy and simple basic sauces are – that you can make on the grill. And how flexible and adaptable they are with tweaks and common ingredients to change and develop ne flavors to enjoy.

Cheers to Canada, fun beer people, and the great city of Toronto – see you soon!

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Do This To Learn More About Beer

1. Go to a wine tasting

2. Attend a cheese tasting

3. Take a sensory class at a local brewery

Enjoy it. All of it! Cheers -

Enjoy it. All of it! Cheers –

4. Smell more of what you put in your mouth

5. Ask others what they taste, talking about what you taste too

6. Buy a food or meal out that you’ve never had before

7. Get a trusted friend to help you eat blindfolded or with a listening deadening device

8. Smell trees, plants, flowers, foods, beverages and anything else you wish without tasting them

9. Challenge yourself by naming every smell, aroma, taste and flavor you can – even if it’s “not quite right”

10. Read about flavor, food & drink

11. Attend a local homebrew club meeting

There are so many ways to engage in life. What we enjoy gustatorily is an enormous gift. Make time to savor. Everything.

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Wolfgang Burkhart Is Right

In one of his recent editorials in the Institute of Brewing and Distilling magazine, the topic was Training and Qualifications: Always A Good Investment.

“In the area of technical jobs, Germany’s dual system of training has proved very effective. During their three-year apprenticeship with a company young people also attend a vocational school where they can learn the necessary theoretical framework.

P1100207In the existing system, technical colleges, which provide practical and application-oriented training, and the more academic universities complement each other excellently in theory and practice.”

Partnering the two – practical and academic – is critical for success. You’ll never learn everything you need to know to get by in the actual world by learning only in a formal class room or similar setting. And we’ll never get the necessary academic side of life if we never darken learning situations, whatever they may look like today. The real world is just that: real. And needs to be touched, smelt, felt, dealt with and learned in.

“Naturally a lot of investment is called for when developing and expanding a comprehensive and socially open educational system like this but what better way for modern, forward-looking societies to invest their resources than in educating the next generation.”

Prost to that.

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Customer Service, Customer Experience

I’m constantly reminded that Customer Service and the Customer Experience are entirely different things, misunderstood, and one seems to be the ‘pour over everything’ sauce for most businesses.

  • Customer Service: What someone gives you, the service delivered by one person to another
  • Customer Experience: What the customer gets, the service experience delivered to the customer by another person

Make every assumption that they are different and of equal import.

  • Customer Service = greeting every customer every time, with a genuine smile and verbal greet. Taking care of the needs of the customer. Serving.
  • Customer Experience = the take away feeling and value of the experience and encounter. Takes into account value of the time invested, educational component, and social interaction.
Cheers to solid and focused service

Cheers to solid and focused service

If you get greeted and walked to the item you’ve stated you’re looking for by a sincere and helpful person, the service was top of mind and part of the culture, the experience was one of time well spent (value) finding what you need or want, and positive impression which amps up the likelihood of a repeat purchase.

If your head wasn’t up to greet every person who walked by you, if you think the task is more important than the person, the service was devoid and not top of mind. If you decided that it was more important to finish the conversation with your colleague than it was to greet and assist a customer, then the experience is negative. The person is always more important than the task.

Know the difference. Know they must work in harmony.

You can have the most beautiful store or pub in the world. And unless the service is indelibly and obviously part of the culture of the people who make the business run, then it’s a fool’s errand.

Conversely an ill-kept ‘hole in the wall’ place can have raving fans because they get treated well and the attention to them is top shelf.

Service can save a less than desirable atmosphere, crappy service can never be saved by excellent atmosphere. You must have both to be successful for the business and the customers. And remember: there are always internal and external customers. You should work on securing a business that serves, delivers and has integrity all the way around.

2 Resources:

  1. Waiters World (widely applicable principles)
  2. Sullivision (yes…yes this is a good site – are you nodding too?)

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Women + Beer Survey Insights: Report #2

Report #2: Why do you like beer?

While this question may seem almost identical to the first question, it holds some very different insight. A group of contributors stated “same as above”, citing question 1, many more continued “AND“…. To go on and expound on more reasons that fit the Why.

The Why is the critical piece here. Asking the Why questions is where progress and insight meet. Once you know the what you have to ask the why. Otherwise you’re simply not doing diligence to educating about beer. Education here is two, if not, multi-directional.

Education for beer has to develop at a minimum:

  • Consumer to professional
  • Professional to consumer

P1100136And we have to break this out to really make it productive – there are many, many kinds of professionals in the beer world. So let’s include a few more directions in the intersection:

  • Vendor, supplier, grower to consumer
  • Consumer to vendors, supplier, grower
  • Retailer to consumer
  • Consumer to retailer
  • Distributor to consumer
  • Consumer to distributor

Assuming that there are only 2 steps of the building we call Beer Education (Consumer + Brewery) is a huge misstep. Grower, processor, shipper, packager, vendor, supplier, broker, brewer, retailers, distributor, consumer…. As Sam and I covered last year at NBWA, there are more than three tiers in the system. Even Charlie extols this idea.

No matter the set up of your tiers though, the consumer has to be factored in. After all they are the ones buying the end product. If they didn’t do that, then everything else leading up to it is moot.

A few specific sections that make themselves known in the report for Question 2 include flavor & taste, care & quality, and versatility. (The entire report, due out soon, will thoroughly expound and explain the input of the respondents.)

If you’re a beer professional, in the business at all – brewery, writer, controller, marketer, founder, cellar person, retailer, distributor, growler filler….Get comfortable with asking the Why.

If you’re a consumer, keep asking why questions of all the above people…as well as growers, producers, packagers, vendors, suppliers, brokers, and so on. It’s infinitely interesting, is a straight route to increasing your beer knowledge, and I’ve never known someone in the industry to turn down an opportunity to talk about beer.

Why not?

Report #2 will be available for purchase in the next month.

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Women + Beer Survey Insight: Report #1

As promised, today we’re digging into sharing some insight as gathered from the 2012 Women + Beer Survey.

Report #1: Why Do You Drink Beer?

While there are many categories of reasons and the nuances are numerous, one of the most common themes is Affordability or at least the perception of affordability.

Let’s make an exploded view of this seemingly simple statement to understand it more.

Affordability goes directly to the heart of one of the 3 Universal Truths we regularly discuss: Value.

Value and affordability are both their own moving circles, with overlap possible – or not. Overlap of the two require the person to tie these two concepts together, however they do, in order for them to work in harmony. Let me give you 2 scenarios to exercise this idea:

1. A long time friend is coming to town. She wants to get together and go for beer and dinner. We order a $25 dinner table bottle of a beer we both want to enjoy. The value of the entire experience is that my friend is coming to see me and that’s HUGE value of time and enjoyment. Adding the component of beverage and food ups the value for me and her, so we’re still good. Affordability in this case may well go hand in hand because we see it as an overall experience of our relationship, which has high value which will most likely lend us to ordering whatever fits our budget for the night (however conscious or unconscious that decision piece is).

2. I decide to go to an outdoor event, say a concert of a sports match. With or without friend/s, I get to the facility and, knowing in advance I can’t bring my own, I anticipate buying what they have available for beer. If its $2 canned beer night, guess what – that’s great! It fits my idea of what I may want the event to be like, in totality. OR it may not – wherein I settle for what’s available. If I like what’s available, I order one or two or whatever is appropriate. If I’m less happy with the choice yet happy with the event, then I may only buy one beverage – and it may or may not be alcoholic in nature if a choice is available. Affordability and value have equal import, yet entirely different circumstances. As does every situation in our lives.

IMG_0268Within these two seemingly simple scenarios, there are myriad options and paths to go down in the  decision-making process. We make some of them so fast and automatically, that we hardly give ourselves time to get thirsty. Sometimes we belabor them, drawing out the various situation and selecting what we like the most, having put more thought into it.

We want these reports to be valuable and the input that was freely given is. You have to know how to use the insight though – it’s not a face value study that we’re compiling. Yes, much of the info is straight forward. And all of it has context.

  • If you’re a beer professional, then this is your signal to keep educating about the value and the affordability of your beer, in many ways.
  • If you’re a beer consumer (and we all are to begin with), then start thinking about how you make the decisions you make as it concerns relating affordability and value together.

This is the tip of the women + beer iceberg. It’s exciting to be creating and compiling, sorting and interpreting all the incredibly useful information that beer oriented businesses will be able to apply.

If you want more on Report #1, it’ll be available for purchase as of Monday 6/10, with upwards of 30 separate facets on this question alone, all of them with their own expanded insight section to accompany and help you utilize this singular knowledge. We’ll keep the series going, covering all 50 of the questions. Some of the 50 questions will require their own report, as there’s simply a lot of ground to cover, and some will be joined with others as they were designed as multi part inquiries and need to be published together.

Cheers ~

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Women + Beer Survey Insight: Series Start

The 2012 Women + Beer Survey is well on its way to being published in a series of reports.

Many others may be interested in the responses so I’m starting a series based on the qualitative research of the responses. Some of the 250+ women who generously contributed freely to the survey indicated a curiosity and interest in learning of the ‘results,’ hence the series.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when reading the series:

First: They are responses, not answers. The word answer would connote for some a definitive end. These are not definitive ends, they are enormous beginnings. They’re only beginnings because the idea of seriously researching women and their relationship with beer is ‘new’ to the modern landscape. WEB is the only one pursuing and compiling, constantly listening and developing insight on women and beer. Our goal is to positively impact culture by putting a voice to women about beer from the women first; companies next; everyone in the end.

Second: Many of the respondents requested to be informed of the outcomes. I’m glad to share some of the insight to everyone, knowing that the full insight is the knowledge with which we can shift culture. It’s also part of our product and we’re happy to make small pieces available that are entirely free.

Third: This site exists primarily to educate all readers and viewers. We like to keep sales pitches to a minimum while still offering useful and purposeful products and services that you can put to work and fun.

Next: The reports will be fully available and ready to purchase, as they are prepared, with #1 being available Monday June 10th. If you are interested in purchasing the report, be in touch with me directly.

Last: Thank you for your time and attention. The Series starter – Insight on Report #1 – will be published tomorrow, 6/4/13. When you want more, watch for the purchase launch date of 6/10/13.

Cheers ~

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Women Enjoying Beer’s Top 10 List Of Things That Need To Change

As it relates to women and beer, here are 10 things that need to change for progress of women + beer together:

1. Focus on quality, not sex, to sell your beer brands.

2. Remove all sexualized images and sexually suggestive names and titles related to women and beer.

3. The assumption must be made that women enjoy beer. It’s about flavor.

4. Get rid of old, out of date, outmoded, and archaic thinking that women don’t enjoy beer.

5. Women must speak up more, more often, more loudly, in more places and in front of more people about what they think about beer. Men need to not tolerate it or encourage it either. Letting it go isn’t helpful – it’s damaging.

These two get it.

These two get it.

6. Educational opportunities must be created by breweries, distributors and retailers far and wide to educate female consumers.

7. These educational opportunities must be fully respectful, with no demeaning or inappropriate language (i.e. Girls Night Out), focusing on women as a market share to be reckoned with. And they are.

8. Full respect for beer, women, and men needs to be the mantra.

9. Everyone has a female they care about. This must transfer to women + beer.

10. Commensurate representation, with both women and men, needs to be part of the images, branding, and company make up of beer focused businesses and organizations.

Finally: It’s not about gender. It’s about opportunity. The goal is to have gender in relation to beer one day be a moot point.

What are you going to do about it right now?

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How Deep Do Roots Go?

It would depend on the type of plant. Or idea.

Both plants and ideas share roots. And they both need a genesis, nurturing, and attention to grow and develop properly.

Imagine: You invest in a gorgeous rare fruit tree. It’s a grafted plant and you’re in an area that’s not its natural zone. You listen carefully to the seller, take all the available printed and online instructions and head home to plant it.

Painstakingly following the directions you tenderly care for this precious plant, protecting it, feeding it, pruning it, and in general watching over it like a sentinel on guard duty.

Education = root growth

Education = root growth

You wonder how far down do the roots go? and “how can I best care for them?”

After all your work, it bears fruit – the very first year! Albeit, not a huge crop – a crop nonetheless. You’re excited, humbled at Mother Nature’s agreement to help you, and thrilled to get to reap the gifts the tree has to offer.

What if….

What if you treated your colleagues and co-workers like the fruit tree? Using education as the food, your attentiveness as a guide for success, ending in an excellent experience and sustainably steady business due to your commitment.

Consumers want to see business owners treat their staff like the tree above. Women who are engaging in beer, especially those who are less knowledgable (men too), want to be nurtured by an educated and compassionate staff.

Oh – and about those roots. They’ll live at the surface if you don’t go deep. Surficial watering in the form of surficial education will end up encouraging shallow growth, which isn’t good for anyone, plant or business.

What tree will you plant today?

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Wine Tasting Class Is Good Knowledge For Beer Tasting

If you’re a regular reader here, you may remember a piece I wrote about how attending a wine tasting was a fantastic refresher and teacher to relate to beer tasting.

Well, my friends, I went to another wine tasting event last weekend. And I’m here to share more, again, on how similar the sensory experience execution is. It’s a terrific way to welcome, engage and encourage the education of yourself and others. It also helps build confidence: when you know how to taste one beverage, you can transfer those ideas to another. And another. And then food.

Kara & Greg, Winemakers, teaching the interested more about wine & tasting

Kara & Greg, Winemakers, teaching the interested more about wine & tasting

Here’s what I learned this time courtesy of winemakers Kara and Greg, Wooldridge Creek & Warrick Wines.

  • Fluctuating temperatures are not good for wine. Consistency is best.
  • White Zinfandel is made with the same grapes as red zin, the juice simply spends more ‘time on the skins’ (picking up color).
  • What does “Old Vine” mean? It means the vines are old enough to bear fruit.
  • Trellising grape vines is a recent practice only going back 60+/- years.
  • Hedonistic is a great gustatory word to use!
  • In order to be viable business wise (at least in Southern Oregon) a vineyard needs to be at least 50 acres in size.
  • Tannin’s are natures antioxidants
  • Grapes are one of the very few agriculture crops that have no GMO influence
  • In Europe, they drink by region. Drinking by style is very American.
  • Salivation = heightened senses = better tasting
  • Claret and Meritage are marketing words, with Meritage being a royalty-paid usage.

I encourage you to go taste beer, wine, spirits, sour cream, cheese, chocolate, broccoli and anything else wherein you get to learn about the food featured. Being a ‘smart’ person means keeping your mind and palate open and sharing with others the knowledge you gather.

Education makes the world go round. I’ll drink a glass of wine to that!

p.s. if you wonder what winemakers drink….read this.

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Education: Building Blocks Of Beer Knowledge

We’re periodically asked “what beer topics should we teach” by various beer oriented businesses. It’s a great question and one that needs regular going review and discussion.

Make education a organized priority

Make education a organized priority

In The Beginning…keep the topics simple to start. Sounds easy enough, yes? Well, if you’ve got any kind of beer enthusiasm it can quickly race downhill to much more complex topics. Prematurity of subject matter in education is not a good thing.

Do this: Set up a large blackboard, white board or tack a big sheet of sturdy paper up on a wall. Let everyone who’s involved in the operation contribute topics, simple to complex, on this space keeping the proper writing utensils on hand. On a regular frequency – or when it’s full to overflowing – harvest the ideas*, breaking them into various categories such as sensory, styles, flavors, food pairings, ingredients, processes, and serving.

One great way to break out *brainstorming lists is into 3 categories:

  • Ideas for now – they fit and are usable under current circumstances
  • Ideas for later – put these on a shelf, literally, giving yourself permission to revisit them for later when they may fit
  • Ideas to toss – know that ideation is richest when you let it all fly. Also recognize that some ideas are only new ideas, not necessarily good ideas. Get rid of the “I’ll maybe use it later” cycle.

Consumers and professionals alike begin the learning process with basics first. We learned addition and subtraction before we learned multiplication and division. Basics of beer include ingredients, process, and serving and similar rudimentary building blocks of beer knowledge.

Redundancy is also important for longevity and mastery. Whether you have a seasoned low turn over crew or one with high turnover, education needs to be constant and consistent. Start simple, build from there. Just as you would with a beer recipe.

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Celebrating Home: Contributing Beer Specialist

Cheers today to Karie Engels, creator and brilliant mind behind beautiful, flavorful and useful Celebrating Home.

Karie recently invited me to contribute to the beer side of Celebrating Home and I enthusiastically embraced the opportunity. Why? Don’t I have ‘enough’ to do?

Cheers to Celebrating Home with Karie & Crew!

Cheers to Celebrating Home with Karie & Crew!

Well, yes and this is exactly the sort of contribution WEB is all about. Education, enlightenment and flavor. Encouraging people to celebrate their homes, whatever that is to every one, and with adaptability for those who wish to use the information proffered.

One thing I’m particularly looking forward to is meeting (and noshing and sipping with) the cohorts that Karie has brought together to help more people celebrate home:

Wow! Thanks to Karie and the great colleagues listed above.  ‘Til we raise a glass….

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Level of Flexibility

What’s your level of flexibility?

If you’re a consumer, what are you flexible on – service? Cleanliness? Products availability? Attitude of staff? Proximity?

If you’re a professional, what are you flexible on – how many customers you serve each day? When you open and close? What you share with clients? What information you make available?

Flexibility is a highly personal thing and it’s essential to building patronage in all directions. From consumer to brand, from brand to consumer. Being flexible is of course way more beneficial that being rigid.

What are your flexibilities?

What are your flexibilities?

All the same, we have lines in the sand, every one of us. What are you willing to negotiate on? What are your dealbreakers?

With women and beer, there are 3 Universal Truths (based on the qualitative research we conduct). And only three. Sure, there are other common themes and threads. Just as there are for beer businesses, and all businesses.

That being stated, a few things that need to be true with every brand, for every consumer are consistency and quality. You can be consistently surprising or consistently the same. You can be quality focused in many ways and on many levels, high to low.

Know what your flexibilities are and exercise them. I know for myself a brand has to be consistently high quality focused, truly “huggers”, and have a very upbeat and can-do attitude. “No Problem” is a big problem.

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