Why Beer (And The World) Needs More People to Understand and Practice Feminism

These are two outstanding articles written by a very accomplished journalists. More importantly these are two very thoughtful individuals who realize the full impact of the state of women in the world.

Read them. Ponder them. Change your outlook as needed. Pass them on.

FYI – here’s the definition of Feminism.

Sincere thanks to Tess and Rachel for such important powerful work.

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2014 Marketing Beer To Women Workshop: Invite

Immediately prior to GABF this fall, I’m giving another free workshop that specifically addresses marketing beer to the world’s largest and most influential population: Women.
Free Marketing Beer To Women Workshop, pre GABF

Free Marketing Beer To Women Workshop, pre GABF

Ready to step up your marketing to successfully address the primary buyers of all goods and services in America? Reserve your seat today. If you’ve been to my presentations before, you’ll know they are lively, full of immediately usable information, well worth your time and will help you increase your business. Ask those who attended the sold-out one pre-CBC this year if you wish….

With the continued growth of the industry and increased choices for the consumer, you need to know how to reach the most valuable buyer around: Women.
Women + Beer = Success. If the goal is 20% market share of small American Brewers by 2020, it’s time to look at the population that will support this growth: women. There’s still much to do to totally tap into the female beer buyer and consumer with full respect to their brains and taste buds. The 20/20 Vision would include seeing women in every phase and facet of your brand development.
The workshop is free and space is very limited. Serious people are invited to contact me directly (not Black Shirt Brewing) to save your seat. This event is for professionals in the industry: breweries, distributors, vendors, growers, suppliers, retailers, journalists…. everyone who has a vested interest in marketing to women correctly.
Wednesday October 1st, 2 – 4 pm.
Black Shirt Brewing, 3719 Walnut Street, Denver CO
Beer: Thanks to The Neenan Company, all attendees will get a free fresh First Pint of Black Shirt beer.
Buy your own additional beer & food (to each, your own tab!) – there may be a delicious food truck available…
RSVP’s required, limited seating
Call Ginger to save your seat 515.450.7757 PST, week day daytime calls only, no emails
First reserve, first sat. We’ll create a wait list as necessary – and it’ll fill up fast.
Neenan JPG LogoThe workshop will include information from reports based on the 2012 Women + Beer Survey, immediately useful marketing beer to women insight, and there will be plenty of time to ask questions. Please be prompt.
Thank you. See you soon –

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The Problem With Beer Companies

Is that most of them think they are doing great. They can’t make enough beer to meet market demand. They are up to the tops of their rubber boots just making the beer and getting it to market. So what’s the problem?

Shannon, 3rd Generation Distributor, one of our valued client partners.

Shannon, 3rd Generation Distributor, one of our valued client partners.

What they’re not thinking about is that with women as the dominant everything buyers (across categories) will be the future of their brands.

According to Gallup, the majority of men who drink alcohol drink beer. They also state that of women that consume alcohol only about 25 – 30% drink beer.

So why are companies and supposed beer smarties saying “we should look at Hispanics” or “we should look at 21 – 35 year old men.” I’m absolutely convinced that in order for the “small craft” brewers to get to the desired goal of 20% market share by 2020 the answer is Women. How could it be anything else?

With 70% of women not drinking beer, it’s an avenue any beer business must sincerely explore and address. Start with how the human population first divides – by gender, not ethnicity – and you’ll come out ahead. People are people, women and women, men are men. Everywhere.

Morgan & Sarah, Left Hand Brewing, valued client partners

Morgan & Sarah, Left Hand Brewing, valued client partners

Once you know how and why a woman makes a decision, THAT’S when you can make progress. Beside WEB, no one is asking these questions, in specific very few beer businesses are considering women as a powerful population.

Thank you to the clients and customers we have already worked with, who call us ongoing for our insight and expertise with their increased business success, and those who support us. (Please visit our Endorsement Page to see what some of our fantastic clients have to say.)

When you support WEB, you support women. And you end up being more successful yourself.

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Let’s Talk About Your Brand

1. What do you make or what is your service?

2. Who is your target market?

3. Why do you think you want to attract more women?

4. What are your company and organization goals?

5. Why does your brand exist?

Talking about your brand openly with your colleagues and clients is critical to your success. The time to start the conversation is before you open the doors, before you make your first sale, before you hire anyone else.

Communication = brand development. Brand development = success or failure. Success or failure = dependent on customers. Customers = women. Women = brand enthusiasts you need. Brand enthusiasts needs and deserve sound communication. Sound communication = successful business. Now you’re getting somewhere.

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A Moth In A Room Full Of Lightbulbs

Friends and colleagues periodically ask me “do you need much sleep?” It’s a well-meaning question (yes, I do) and always makes me laugh. I think I get asked because to them I’m always busy, traveling and working.

One way I’d describe myself when asked what I “do” is that I’m a moth in a room full of light bulbs. With full respect to crows and shiny objects, every possibility and opportunity is a light bulb. A potential something or other to think about, consider, pursue and examine.

Are you a moth?

Are you a moth?

Being a moth is both invigorating and exhausting. More invigorating and stimulating though all the same if your senses are fully open and engaged, the whole world is a mass of light bulbs.

  • Do I want to change the world? Yes! One light bulb.
  • Do I want to tackle all the ideas that I think have merit? Yes! There are two.
  • Do I want to help others with their ideas and light bulbs? Yes. Three and counting…
  • Do I need to make a living for my family? Yes. And up the counter moves.

Being a moth means always looking around. Where’s the flower, where’s the breeze blowing, and which direction should I go next after I land here for a bit?

If you’re in business, be a moth. Know that your customers are your light bulbs and they need attention, care and feeding. Know that the light bulbs will go out unless you cultivate and develop the relationships necessary to keep both them and you in actively in the game.

Moths. Light bulbs. Hmmm…. hang on I’ll be right back. I see a new light bulb to investigate…

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Women + Beer: Ask Lots of Questions

We’re curious beings, we humans. As with many species we watch, inquire, investigate and explore. Go with that impulse.

The number one person you should be talking with is your customer. In specific, if you’re in the beer business, talking to women customers, buyers and drinkers.

What are you talking to women about?

What are you talking to women about?

Here are 5 reasons why:

1. Women make up fully half the population. Include this powerful group of people in your brand conversations and marketing.

2. American women make between 75 – 85% of all purchasing decisions, across categories. You want them to buy? Then engage them. Visit Marti’s site for more affirmation. Faith’s work is insightful as well.

3. Women like to talk about their experiences. We’ve heard before a positive experience gets chatted about and a negative one spreads like wildfire. Go for the steady chatter pattern.

4. With all the talk about growing the beer business, I’ve yet to see brands really slap their forehead and exclaim “WOW! Why haven’t we thought about women before?!” Why indeed.

5. Beer needs women. Having equitable representation in the consumer pool as well as in the professional arena is critical to a better global equilibrium, better for societies as a whole, and again representational of the actual population.

Talk to your female customers about beer. Ask them open-ended questions, be mindful of their time, and thank them for their input. NEVER argue. Always educate.

Need help figuring this landscape out? Call us. As the industry leaders of women + beer, there’s much we can do together for your success, starting with her first.

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Who Holds The Power?

Who’s in charge of your business? I mean, who’s really making or breaking the mold, who’s shaking things up for progress, and who really gives a damn?

Is it you? Do you care about women as a marketshare? Does it bug you for people to talk about a human population as a “marketshare” or would you prefer something softer and fuzzier?

Females are half of the population on Planet Earth. If you think it’s important to know this, you’re right. If you don’t care, it’s time to start caring.

Sylvia gives a damn. Do you?

Sylvia gives a damn. Do you?

If you’re in the beer business, in any way, shape or form, you better care. Women make the majority of financial decisions in America. Do you care about that? If you’re involved in the manufacturer of boxes used in shipping beer, you better care. If you’re a grower of an agricultural component of beer, you’d better care. And if you make and market the beer, you absolutely better give a damn.

Why? Well, start by asking yourself this question: “How many females do I know that I care about?” All ages of females apply. How many can you think of? Three? Twenty? One hundred?

If you can honestly say you have at least one female to care about, guess what: you care.

Caring about females in our global human population makes really good sense. It’s good business too. Hopefully it’s part of how you think about the world at large. And it’s great politics. Since all businesses are political in some way, however quiet or loud, giving a damn about females is critical to business survival and success.

When you’re looking for reasons to care, I’d invite you cruise through our website. With 5.5+ years of content, we’ve covered a lot of ground in asking and gathering women’s’ opinions about beer, their relationship to it and all manner of qualitative psychographic insight on why women engage (or don’t) with beer.

For those of you who already give damn, I salute you! Contact me and ask how we can help your efforts increase in efficacy and meaningfully. For those who are slow to get on board, now’s the time. Call me for help.

Everyone needs assistance and needs insight that they don’t or cannot get themselves to be successful. As the saying goes, no person is an island. In the world of women and beer, WEB is that resource. We go well beyond beer too (other industries welcome to inquire).

Women will give a damn when you do.

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Women + Beer: 3 More Reports Available by 10/1/14

Earlier this year, WEB published the first of many reports based on the 2012 Women + Beer Survey. The survey was available to everyone on the internet and almost 300 women from all across the United States plus some from other countries freely offered their opinions.

FG 072210

WEB conducting a women & beer focus group

Let me rephrase that: They offered their impassioned, its-about-time-someone-asked-us thoughts, ideas, positions and opinions about beer. The time is ripe to take a look at the majority of the humans on the planet (female) and her relationship to the universal beverage of beer.

The best way to do this is to go straight to the source: women. Women Enjoying Beer is the company that does just this.

The input is astounding and profoundly simple all at the same time. Useful – yes. Applicable – yes. Important to your brands and business – yes

News today is that 3 more of the reports will soon be released for purchase. Buying these reports does way more than give you interesting reading. It’ll change the way you do business for the positive – it’ll increase your profits, improve your marketing abilities and savvy, increase the welcoming receptivity of women to your beer brands, and elevate equity and gender equality. Are those worthwhile to you?

While people may not think of this much gravity per women and beer, we do. We know it to be a truly worthy pursuit – to give voice to consumers who’ve not been invited to the conversation. And we want to help you learn, exercise, and promote full respect of all genders and their taste buds. Indeed, beer doesn’t care who’s drinking it and enjoying it and buying it. It simply wants to be savored.

Reports 2 through 4 will be available by October 1st, 2014. The first Report is available now – here’s the link.

  • Report #1: Why Do You Drink Beer? Available now
  • Report #2: Why Do You Like Beer? Available by 1 August 2014
  • Report #3: What Kinds Of Beers Do You Like? Available by 1 August 2014
  • Report #4: How Often Do You Drink Beer And What Helps Dictate That Pattern? Available by 1 August 2014

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The Right Target At The Right Time: Marketing Sweet Spot

Smart, thoughtful, and effective marketing means hitting the right person in the right place at the right time. It’s a Marketing Sweet Spot. And a spot that all businesses, of all structures must heed (for profit and non profit alike).

So how do you figure out:

  • The Right Person
  • The Right Time
  • The Right Place
Are you at the Right Place, at the Right Time, in front of the Right People?

Are you in front of the Right Person, at the Right Time, in the Right Place?

Contrary to popular thinking (among those who’ve not done some investigation) market research is an incredible value and won’t break any banks. Indeed, it’s way more business savvy to do it on the front end BEFORE you go very far with your business plans and development. If you wait until you’re “open” it’s too late.

1. Part of finding the Right Person means answering the question: Who do I want to get my brand in front of? Why are they the right person? What can they do for the brand development and success?

2. Part of finding the Right Time means knowing #1 immediately above. Once you have solid answers to who they are, then find out what times are the best ones to reach them. best here means when are they mostly and most likely to be receptive and paying attention and responding to your brand invitations?

3. Part of finding the Right Place means you know both #1 and #2 immediately above and building on those answers. Now’s the time to ask: Where will these brand supporters and engagers be and when?

These insights can help you move forward. Again, doing them before you open your business, getting insight to these three very simple and straight forward queries are critical to success – for you and for them.

There’s certainly more to it so when you’re ready, we’re available to talk with you. Contact us here. Here’s a good resource article as well.

Cheers to doing the Right Thing.

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The Story

Part of the story has to be the data.” – Dan Wandel, Symphony IRI, CBC 2014

Yes, I’d agree. I respect and like Dan and fully enjoy talking to another pro who’s in research.

AND I’d add that the data has to be both qualitative and quantitative.

Here’s a simple graphic to help you along.

In order for numbers to make sense they need reasons. You need to Qualify the Quantities. If you simply only gather and know the Yes or No type, a strictly quantitative story, you’re missing a world of information. This does the end subject and organization wanting the full picture a disservice.

Make very sure you include qualitative psychographic market investigation on your work. It matters.

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Connected To The Experience: Put On A Pair Of Customer Shoes

“Remain connected to [the] experience. Be a generous host.”

These are wise words that apply to just about every business circumstance, driver, and mission statement. If they don’t, they need to.

When’s the last time you put on a pair of Customer Shoes? Walking in the shoes of your customer is critical before opening a business as well as regularly during the life of the operation. Literally walk through the spaces, calling the phone numbers, navigating the website and online tools, and visiting and experiencing the facility with customer eyes and sense.

  • Does it all flow easily for them?
  • Does it cover common questions that will arise?
  • Does it match the brand name and image?
  • Does everything make sense?
  • What can be improved, streamlined, and better?

These are really straightforward and fruitful exercises to conduct when you’re honest with yourself and can be constructively self critical towards improvement.

Put on some Customer Shoes and see how you're doing.

Put on some Customer Shoes and see how you’re doing.

Too many establishments of all shapes, kinds and sizes neglect this element of doing business: The Customer Perspective. A recent hotel stay brought this to the surface for me. I’m truly curious how many hospitality lodging businesses book themselves a room, go through the entire process of staying, paying and being in the facilities they try to sell to others.

Here are just a few things I encountered at a recent hotel stay:

  1. The bed was a Sleep Number bed, with a broken mechanism. So the mattress was semi-inflated, differently on both sides (queen bed) so it felt like I was rolling around on a squishy water-bed, with a noticeable trough in the middle. It made for poor sleeping.
  2. The room temperature regular system was confusing at best. With a wall unit and its own operating panel plus a wall thermostat 15 feet away with no indication they were connected or how to coordinate and regulate, it was frustrating and cold (!).
  3. No recycling. Anywhere on premise. In this day and age, this is unforgivable.
  4. The curtains didn’t fully close to block light for sleeping and to ensure outside privacy, they weren’t designed to either. Indeed, the hotel had a trades person suspended from the top of the building doing some sort of work right outside my room at one point with an easy view inside.
  5. The bathroom door was awkward at best, opening in to block access to the shower tub, which meant in an otherwise nicely appointed bathroom, you had to shimmy around the door, half closing it to navigate to get in and out. Why don’t more hotels utilize the brilliant idea of pocket doors?
  6. The in-hotel restaurant needs special attention. “Only One?” – what kind of greet is that?! Do hosts/servers greet “Only 5?” The size of a party should be acknowledged with open arms, never “only” or “just.” For the solo traveler it’s especially irritating.
  7. The restaurant was silent but for the regular voice level gossip of the staff. Some soft music would be in order to make it feel more welcoming.
  8. The oatmeal was soggy and the plate on which the bowl was perched rose ever so slightly in the middle. So when I poured in a bit of milk, it was lopsided and very close to overflowing.
  9. The “seasonal fresh fruit”….I didn’t realize melons were early summer seasonal fruits. Because they’re not. Nor was the watermelon or anemic honeydew. This is just plain lazy. A small-sized “cup” of this seasonal fruit was $2.75, which was also totally overpriced. Don’t hold hotel guests captive if they choose to eat in-house.
  10. Last was the exposed outlet under the desk in the room. Not only unprofessional and unsightly, also potentially dangerous.

What did I like about my stay? It was literally blocks from where I needed to go to and fro, the bellhop was helpful, pleasant and friendly; they offered complementary newspapers and airport shuttle; complementary wi-fi (which every hotel should offer and build into their rates); the room was clean and otherwise comfortable.

If the staff, from bellhop to the president of the establishment, walked through the process from booking to checking out they’d develop a much greater property and therefore business. It’s a crying shame really and completely avoidable.

Will I stay there again? That’s a toughy, though most likely not. When the time comes, I’ll remind myself of these facets of the place and see what else is available.

Get a pair of shoes. Customer Shoes. Try them on and walk through your business with them. See what you notice and make positive changes. If you need help and find this exercise tricky, then hire a mystery shopper or customer service pro who will give you an audit.

Every business and organization that wants to stay alive and thrive should be doing this, at least once a year, better 2 – 3 times, with various people chiming in.

Now get out and go for a walk.

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Keys To Business Success: Quality & Consistency

One of the primary keys to any business success is a true focus and commitment to quality. Another that goes hand in hand is consistency.

Great brands are built so the consumer can count on them.

In the beer world quality and consistency are talked about quite a bit. I think the conversation was jumped started a bit more when Paul Gatza, the Brewers Association, dropped the f bomb emphasizing quality import at the 2014 CBC.

Quality + Consistency = worthy brands

Quality + Consistency = worthy brands

I agree. If you choose not to fully dedicate to quality, get the F out. Of any business. The world has enough crap, enough sub par junk, more than enough mediocrity and middling service, enough detritus for us to float on for millenia. And yet some people, breweries included, still keep pumping out junk.

And no, this is not where anyone can trash ABI or SABMiller. Quality and consistency has helped them build their global branded businesses, keeping the experience for the consumer, the same every single time.

Sensory Analyst Lindsay Guerdrum, New Belgium Brewing, gave an enlightening and very thorough sensory talk at the 2014 CBC (lots to take in this year…as usual). I want to share a bit of what I took from her talk to this end.

  • Consistency + Quality = Key to Brand Success
  • You absolutely need to know your customer; You need to know who you’re responding to
  • “Make sure you’re shooting at the right target.”
  • Beer is inherently the variable, there is no gold standard
  • Aim for True To Brand; in lab speak – is it “Go” or “No Go”?
  • “N” can never = 1 on a sensory panel. You need 3+ people on panels

And in her summation, I’d stand up and shout YES:

Never stop training.

Thanks to Lindsay and New Belgium for continuing to set the pace for quality and consistency. People don’t call the brand Fat Tire (vs. New Belgium ) for nothing. They know what they’re doing.

Do you?

One comment

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How Not To Contact Someone [Heads Up: this is a long post]

Arrived in my email inbox, 5/29/14:

“I produce the show [XXXX] hosted by [XXX],… syndicated show celebrating the world of craft beer. And I’m writing to ask for your help.

As great as the show is (we’ve just been nominated for an [XYZ]), generating revenue to produce the series remains a struggle. We are committed to shooting season two and are trying to fund the shooting of one episode through Kickstarter. Which means we need to get the word out (and quickly, since we are on a 30 day Kickstarter deadline).

It would be a great help if you could please contribute (as little as a buck is ok) and pass the word along to anyone and everyone you know — through Facebook, blogs, email lists, websites, any way you can help us reach as many beer lovers as possible. Please direct everyone to our Kickstarter site via this web address:

[site link]

By doing this, you can be a big part of helping us continue to get the word out about the great craft beer community. And we appreciate the assistance very, very much.


[name unimportant for this post]
Executive Producer
[show name]
[contact information]

My Reply:

“Hello Dave –

I too have a radio program, BeerRadio, every week; here’s the link. Hope all is well, congrats on the nomination. If you’re interested in having me utilize my audience to assist you, that falls under advertising and we can talk about terms/rates/details. If this is what you are keen on, be back in touch.

Good luck with your endeavors.
Cheers –


Reply from contact:

“You are actually telling me that in the craft beer world, where brewers routinely help each other out, you want to charge me to mention my Kickstarter project?  And what’s your price? Will you tie your rates to ROI as measured by donations?”

Here’s then is my dissection and reply of this perfect example of What Not To Do. Before you get your nose out of joint, take a breath and read up. Take it, learn, and redirect:

Hello [name withheld] –

“You are actually telling me that in the craft beer world, where brewers routinely help each other out, you want to charge me to mention my Kickstarter project?”

What do you know about Women Enjoying Beer and me? Are you simply blanket asking any company seemingly related to beer or are you vetting those you’re soliciting? Clearly no vetting or previous relationship work was done. Do you know we’re not brewers? Do you know we’re educators, researchers, and marketing pros? If you do your homework, like you should before soliciting for support, you’d know this. Don’t get irked at me for your lack of preparedness.

What you’re telling me is that you have no intention to pay for professional services to help your effort be successful, is that right cause that’s what it sounds like.

What’s your audience,” you ask. That’s what you should be doing: homework on this one before you blindly ask people. I’d ask you – why did you choose to send this to me? Our audience is wide, varied, global, consumer to pro. What is attractive about our brand that you’re soliciting me? Why are you asking if you don’t know who is listening to us, who we are speaking to and what we can bring to the table?

So, yes, that’s what I’m telling you. Before you get offended by your own poor decisions, consider a few things.

1. You reached out to me, in essence asking me to use my channels of business to advertise your effort, an effort you hope to eventually make a living on. Why should I even respond to an email that is essentially a money ask with no return for my efforts? Do your expenses pay themselves? If no, then don’t ask for free work.

2. We get numerous requests and asks to advertise for people, like yourself. Respect those you contact enough to realize the equation has to have something in it for everyone. For some it may be the sheer “feel good” aspect; for others there are myriad reasons. Never assume I want to give just because we are related to the same business. That’s foolish and arrogant.

3. I assume you make a living, somehow. We’re in business to make a living as well. To ask me for free work is insulting and I doubt you’d do that to your grocer, plumber, or doctor.

4. We’ve yet to meet so you’re making assumptions that because we are simply within the same industry I will do something for free for you. While we certainly give a good deal back, relationships needs to be started, built and grown before an ask is made. It’s assumptive for you to think otherwise. This is, then, a cold call. I don’t care what industry or business or agency you’re with if you’ve not done your work ahead of time.

5. Don’t be offended. You asked me for something and I responded with how it works for us.

6. Why don’t you pitch it instead of asking. Craft a professional pitch, give me the outline, a website, a few reasons based on the research you’ve done on me BEFORE you ask; make the reasons a fit with what we do and are about.

7. Your urgency does not create my emergency. Smart marketing, whether you’re launching a Kickstarter or any kind of campaign, needs to rely on the long view, not the short panic.

8. “As little as a buck…” you’re kidding right?? That’s really bad asking and planning. Go big, again -give me a reasons, tell me the story and know something about me before you ask. You’ll get more that way. Building  project one dollar at a time is a really bad plan.

If you haven’t done your homework, I don’t have time to listen. Good grief! Have some respect.

“Will you tie your rates to ROI as measured by donations?” Of course not – why would you hire any advertiser and then hold them to the results; it’s your brainchild, it’s your decision process and goals – the results fall squarely on your shoulders, not those who you employ to assist.

Here’s some free business advice:

1. Relying on Kickstarter to develop a brand is a backwards tactic. You must build buzz for your brand first then get those who are already excited about it engaged. Tap into the folks who followed and applauded your first season; start with them, and ask them to help spread the word. A lot of people use crowd sourcing wrong.

2. You provide no website or links of information for the recipient to consider. I’m not talking about the kickstarter site – I’m talking about the show site. Where’s that information? You’re putting sex before the first kiss.

3. You didn’t even ask if I was interested in the project – you didn’t me tell me a story of why this may be engaging; you didn’t get my permission to solicit me. You made all sorts of assumptions only considering yourself first.

4. How much competition is there for Kickstarter attention? How and why does your project stand apart? Why should anyone engage and support it? And why are you assuming people in/related to the industry want to/have time to/ feel compelled to assist?
5. Did you try calling instead, making a personal voice connection? No? Why not, I’d ask? Calling, asking right off the bat if the person has time to talk, then perhaps approaching the subject AFTER you know who you’re calling and how they also benefit from your requests is a much better tact.
I wish you the best, truly. And recommend you put more business thought into this project before going forward. Thick skin, thinking outside yourself and shelf the emotion you have tied to the project and purpose. Stay enthusiastic and focus on the people you are asking first. Then renew your efforts. You’re welcome to be in touch when you’ve go ta few more things figured out.
You know what’s in it for you. Be prepared to tell me what’s in it for me.
Cheers –

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“We’re going to reach [people] by inviting them in, not by telling them we’re better than them.”                 – Fred Bueltmann, The Beervangelist, CBC 2014

Fred’s a wise man. I’m glad he’s a colleague and friend, cohort and fellow flavor lover.

He’s also right. Invitations to discuss, explore, consider, and converse will always be more productive and successful than being exclusive, judgmental, and limited in our thinking.



American “craft” brewers are aiming to get to 20% market share by the year 2020. I’m all for smart thoughtful growth and wish them well. I’ll do my part to enjoy, share, and spread the word. I’d caution them all to invite, not judge or exclude. Some of them are very open-armed, some of them are very blindered in their thinking.

Craft is a word used in the industry, by the industry, not necessarily by the everyday consumer. Really: take a look at “craft” share – it’s in the single digits and definitely growing. To assume people everywhere are aware and share the same basis for any definition is dangerous. It harkens back to the 1970’s when the word “Natural” took over the grocery stores. There was no nationally recognized meaning, no factual base of governing body to set down parameters. It’s too broad of a word. I think craft is one of those words as well.

For instance: If you choose to market a beer as a craft beer, who are you targeting? Other industry folks? A specific market/s wherein there are people who share your same definition? People who have their own definition? People who simply want to think of beer as beer?

When consumers use the word there are varying degrees of understanding what they think craft means. It’s very contextual for everyone. Well crafted: I can get behind that. Size of business to me never gets ahead of quality. If a beer is considered craft by this definition, and their quality is poor, then there’s no craftspersonship to that. It’s slop, careless and not dedicated nor helpful to the entire industry, never mind the end consumer.

Use titles and labels IF AND ONLY IFF they are universal and factual. Ask: “What does [any word/phrase] mean?” If everyone answers the same way, there’s most likely good reason to use it. If not, reconsider. Reconsideration will open new ways of thinking and invite more people into the conversation and encourage participation. That’s the whole idea here.

I often find that professional events leave out the crucial person in all discussions: The Consumer. After all, they are the ones who will buy and support any business. Please include consumer considerations in all business equations. Consumers and customers are both internal and external.

If you invite people in, to enjoy well crafted goods, then kudos. Well crafted serves everyone.

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Creative Strategy at the CBE 2014

With every conference there comes a time to choose: which sessions should I attend? Which ones would serve me best? Which ones sound interesting? Which ones am I hoping will be worthwhile?

CBE 2014

CBE 2014

One of the very sessions I chose at the recent inaugural Craft Beverage Expo fit all of those desires. Lead by Gary Finnan and co-hosted with Tom Potter, this breakout session was just that: a breakout. Breaking out of tired words, breaking into creativity, and breaking the ice to get people to think about strategy.

Strategy is crucial for all plans. Whether business or home, all sorts of initiatives are served by thoughtful strategy. The tactics you use to execute the strategy are what give it the muscle to move the bones, so to speak. And Gary and Tom provided a number of immediately useful insights.

In fact, they wrapped up this invigorating session with an exercise for the entire audience. It’s always a good plan to have an element of participation for a seminar, well beyond listening (since some people will only hear anyway and that’s not overly active…).

Gary shared three Essential Steps of Business planning, which is a workshop unto itself that would be well worth the investment. Gary’s energetic, experienced and enthusiastic and realistic presentation got the audience involved and thinking. And he made sure to note that creative financing is not creative business!

Tom added a good point: Believe in yourself, be a raving fan and do everything you can to support your business. At the same time be careful. “You may start to believe your own hype.” Be optimistic in public, realistic in private, he shared.

Don’t just go for the customer, go for the return,” stated Finnan. “Every customer is not a valued customer,” intoned Potter. There’s a lifetime of good advice in these two statements along.

Suffice it to say this talk was one of the top ones that I attended. Two industry pros, realistic and optimistic, sharing what they can for the good of the whole. Thanks to them both, thanks to the CBE for bringing this session to life.

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Craft Beverage Expo, Inaugural Event

“…all we had was a vision and a floor plan…

Hats off and glasses up to Kellie Shevlin and the crew who made the first Craft Beverage Expo a success. It was an honor and pleasure to be there last week in San Jose, California.

Ginger, Kellie and Tom McCormick/CCBA

Ginger, Kellie and Tom McCormick/CCBA

The entire premise is ground breaking AND so sensible, it makes one scratch your head and say “why didn’t anyone do this before?” Well, Kellie did just that. She researched and broke new ground that needed to be tilled.

The basis of the Expo is to bring together beer, wine, spirits, cider and mead people to talk about common ground: Bringing Artisan Beer, Wine & Spirits to Market. Regulatory concerns, marketing, sales, and marketing solutions is what was billed. And guess what? You got that and then some. The brilliance of the concept grew on me and I fully appreciate what we can all do when we help and assist. Not that the conventions I’ve been to have been unhelpful. They’ve simply been solely focused on one very specific niche.

The point being is that when we intentionally cross categories, then we cross pollinate we share ideas. This is one of thee most powerful tools in creating sustainable remarkable change.

To to over 1000 attendees, dozens of trade show exhibitors, speakers, and sponsors the event was one that I took to saying you couldn’t tell it was a first year effort. As a colleague of mine put it, it was well produced. In this he meant that it was all very professional both in appearance and operation.

CBE opening session panel

CBE opening session panel

Are there ways the 2015 CBE can improve? Of course – every convention, expo and conference better be looking at continually improvement. Kellie knows this as does her crew and they encourage and welcome constructive feedback. A wise organizer will want specific input to consider moving forward.

Well, Kellie – your vision has paid off nicely. Bringing various alcohol beverage people together to talk, listen, share, connect and start and build relationships makes us all stronger. The people I met were well worth the trip alone, the friends and colleagues I saw were also worth the endeavor. It was a big bonus to be invited to present as well (3 Universal Truths: Attracting and Keeping Female Patrons). I am eager to get back and explore more of the area too, another benefit to traveling to work events.

Your time and dollars are valuable. You want to be sure as possible that your efforts are well founded, rewarding, offer some sort of payback and it’s all enjoyable. We all want to get helpful and useful information, to meet worthwhile contacts and fun ‘new’ people. Perhaps even to get some press and media coverage.

Lovely San Jose, California

Lovely San Jose, California

The City of San Jose was one place 1. that I had not yet been to 2. that I certainly want to explore more of and 3. has much to offer visitors. The Ethiopian restaurant as well as the Mexican establishment as well as the lovely public spaces….the art museum and technology museum are on my short list. You get the idea.

In my work I travel a good deal. One thing I want from my adventures is to feel like attending was indeed a smart investment of time. Like a friend of mine once said, if you don’t like something, “there’s 3 days of my life that I’ll never get back.” The size of the CBE was very manageable too – meaning you could in fact meet those you wanted, have time to talk and not feel too crowded.

Rest assured when you attend the CBE 2015 you’ll be glad you did. It’s in Santa Clara next year, a relative hop skip & jump from this years host city San Jose. I’m already looking forward to returning. See you there.

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What Brings Someone In The Door?

When you think about what compels you to enter any business or organization do you ever stop and smell the hinges: What Brings Me Here?

Which doors are compelling?

Which doors are compelling?

No matter what business you are in, you must always be thinking of that consideration from your patrons standpoint. Why should they/do they/do they need to come in your doors? What is it about what they need or want that you can help them with? Why do they choose you over another option?

Anyone can open a business, simplistically speaking. It’s straight forward thing to do. Doing business well will be another topic for another time.

So once the doors are open, how do you make those doors attractive? The same question begs asking whether in person or online.

Continually evaluate:

  1. Are our doors attractive?
  2. Why?
  3. Why not?
  4. What can and should we do to keep people coming to and in our doors?
  5. What keeps people from entering our doors?
  6. Repeat.

Knowing this information – which is not hard to garner by the way – is in the Pretty Darn Important category for running any successful operation.

What do your doors looks like? Will they walk in or not? Which ones will you walk through today? Which ones will you avoid?

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What Keeps Me Up At Night

What keeps a person up at night is assuredly varied. Events in our lives, things we’re thinking about, and experience we may anticipate.

It's thoughtless things like this sign that hold everyone back. (p.s. on a road in Ashland OR)

It’s thoughtless things like this sign that hold everyone back. (p.s. ..on a road in Ashland OR)

All of those factor into my thinking. And they do in fact keep me up at night, as well as wake me up in the morning.

Here are a few things that disrupt my slumber:

1. With almost 3000 breweries operating in America today, why are so few of the owners and founders of these companies are seriously addressing women as viable and valuable market participants? They pass them by with exclusion in developing poor label name and design selection, sexist images, and base humor that insults everyone.

2. The relatively small pool of apparently enlightened businesses (beer and beyond) who want to truly address women and females as equitable planet occupants.

3. That fact that way too many women perpetuate sexist labels amongst themselves, giving the okay to use titles and words that denigrate the greater good. It’s absolutely not okay – it’s backwards; it’s not clever or fun – it’s damning.

4. In a good way: when we work with clients who really give a damn. Who are business focused AND have their eye on equity. Thank you.

Feminism, as a reminder is: the belief that women and men should have equal rights and opportunity. We should all believe that.

Here’s a thoughtful read and good book for examining modern women by Debora Spar.

What keeps me up at night, what wakes me in the morning, and what gets my blood rolling is the fact that women are still behind gender wise. Some women and men are great at creating positive change. Some of them stink at it.

There are no acceptable reasons for gender inequity in this day and age. None. Everyone needs to speak up, change directions, and make progress happen.

What keeps you up at night?

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Women Enjoying Beer Research Report Breaks Myths Why Women Drink Beer Revealed


Ashland, Oregon, USA – 2 April 2014

Women Enjoying Beer (WEB) has released the first of several reports on women and beer, Report #1: Why Do You Drink Beer?, reveals 30-plus reasons why women consumers enjoy beer. This first report along with several more to come are based on the 2012 Women + Beer Survey initiated in January 2012 on the company’s website.

Ginger Johnson, company founder and lead researcher, knew plenty of quantitative data existed about beer drinkers. “The question I wanted to answer is of the women who drink beer, why do they? If we can learn this valuable information then the beer industry would have a solid tool to grow their market share with women. It’s an opportunity,” stated Johnson.

As the only business focusing on qualitative research around women and their relationship with beer, WEB is positioned to serve the female consumer and buyer and also help the beer industry correctly address the world’s largest consumer population: women.

Help comes with this first report. A few gleanings include considerations of affordability, food, economics and relationship factors as they relate to women buying and drinking beer. The largest category receiving input was Flavor followed closely by Variety from women across the United States.

Brewers, distributors, and on and off-premise retailers should all have an interest in learning how to best market beer to women. To maintain and grow beer market share within the beverage alcohol industry women are a key market. Not only do women make 75 – 80% of purchases across all categories, they are a large untapped market. With only 20-30% of women who drink alcohol drinking beer, the industry has a lot of opportunity. Since all beer related businesses succeed by knowing their target markets this report stands to greatly assist all facets of the beer industry improve marketing and selling practices by considering the end female consumer and buyer first.

“These reports are a long time in the making and the first one is ready for proactive businesses to utilize in helping their business grow,” states Johnson.

More reports from the 2012 Women + Beer Survey will be forthcoming throughout 2014.


Women Enjoying Beer
1271 Munson Drive, Ashland OR USA 97520

Ginger Johnson, Founder
[email protected]
Twitter: @WomenEnjoyBeer
Facebook: Women Enjoying Beer

This press release will be available soon online. Other media information can be found at WomenEnjoyingBeer.com

Women Enjoying Beer (WEB) is the only global business that researches, develops and serves the female beer consumer.  WEB works with the beer industry to help it grow by authentically and accurately marketing to the female beer enthusiast based on qualitative research and education.  WEB also works with women and men directly to encourage their beer education through events, marketing, focus groups, and workshops.  For more information about Women Enjoying Beer and its focus on a ripe opportunity, please visit WomenEnjoyingBeer.com

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Opportunity Is Only Opportunity If You Want It

What opportunity do you see and pursue?

What opportunity do you see and pursue?

Opportunity is only present if you want it and take advantage of it.

As the CEO of my own company, I often hear myself say (in my head or aloud) “Opportunity is everywhere.” If you’re seeking it, if you’re willing to work to make it happen, if all the elements of success line up.

Opportunity is, then as well, passing up that project, job, volunteer position, or other activity that requires time and attention that does not fit with your goals and aspirations.

To say you miss an opportunity is a misnomer. Opportunity is not chance. It’s intentional. Being able to take part of an opportunity equates to paying attention to the right shiny objects, developing relationships intentionally, and making a dedicated commitment o to a goal. Opportunity is participation, not passivity. Make it happen, don’t wait for it to come knocking.

Opportunity in the beer world is for beer businesses to recognize women as full participants. They’re looking for opportunity that fits for them to participate in the global beer scene. Companies that see this and pursue it will reap rewards.

So I will always believe opportunity is everywhere. No doubt about it. The right opportunity is what to work on, not the wrong one.

Here are a few interesting reads related to Opportunity:

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