More On BitterSweet

I don’t know…what do you think?

When you read the entire article it makes you wonder. Did the reporter get all the information right? Is the leadership of the BSP misguided?

It needs to be about education. For All. Period.

Capture the data via focus groups etc. then apply that information. Make sure you are asking the proper sources for the information that will propel your cause forward.

I really want to believe they are trying yet the information on their site and from articles like this (which are in all fairness slightly out of their control) leaves the question mark dangling.

‘Managing director Kirsty Derry of BitterSweet Partnership said: “We’re looking forward to the day when beer becomes an aspirational choice for women. The industry has for too long ignored women – our job is to redress this balance.

BitterSweet Partnership is here, first and foremost to listen to women, to dispel the many myths associated with beer, to develop products designed with the female palate in mind, and to change the buying and drinking experiences for them.”

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More Bitter Than Sweet

p1040809Thanks to Roger for keeping me up to date on the BitterSweet Partnership. I’ve been glad to have had a few emails with one of the women involved in the is project driven by Molson Coors UK.

The thing is – they still don’t seem to get it. Here’s an excerpt.

The
researchers quizzed 2,000 men from across the UK
about their thoughts and opinions on women’s drinking habits. “

Men? Why are they asking men? It’s the women they are supposedly focused on – so why are they not asking the women? This totally mistifies me. Of course you’re not going to get accurate information when you don’t ask the proper source.

Someone tell me what I’m missing, help me understand how this project will help educate and serve the beer community, cause now I don’t get this projects purpose at all.

p.s. the “girls” on one of the website pictures isn’t helpful at all either….

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Fans

If you have not yet heard about BreweryFans.com – I’d encourage you to check it out.

It’s good for the entire beer community: enthusiasts, brewers, distributors.

Jonathon Lunardi

Jonathon Lunardi

Jonathan Lunardi reached out when we were traveling and we have since formed a friendship and working relationship.

So I endorse it because I like Jonathan, and know he has the beer communities best interests in mind and is ethical and smart about business. I’m honored to be on the board too.

There are some different choices out there – make no mistake. What BreweryFans are doing is very well thought out, purposeful and is service oriented.He loves good quality beer. What’s not to check out?!

So check it out – tell me and him what you think.

See you in Chicago, Jonathon!

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Talk and News From the BA

p1040808Thanks to Julia for yet more good news. Here’s info per a recent press release from the Brewers Association.

*In a year when other brewers saw a slowdown in sales, small and independent craft brewers saw sales dollars increase 10.3 percent and volume increase 7.2 percent over 2008.
*The sales increase represents a growth of 613,992 barrels, equal to roughly 8.5 million cases.
*In 2009, craft brewers represented 4.3 percent of volume and 6.9 percent of retail dollars for the total U.S. beer category.
*Actual dollar sales figure from craft brewers in 2009 was $7 billion, up from $6.3 billion in 2008.
*The total number of U.S. craft brewers grew from 1,485 to 1,542 in 2009.
*Craft brewers produced 9,115,635 barrels, up from 8,501,713 barrels in 2008.
*Overall U.S. beer sales fell from approximately 210.4 million barrels to 205.8 million barrel (down approximately 5 million barrels) in 2009.
*The total U.S. beer industry, in 2009, had an estimated retail dollar value of $101 billion.

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Setting The…

At the recommendation of a friend and colleague, I recently read Setting The Table by Danny Meyer.

p10407122My recommendation? It’s a purposeful, educational, fun and very useful read – for anyone is any kind of hospitality business.

The beer business is very hospitable with out a doubt. If you’re in the industry, circling the beer community an any way as a vendor or supplier, a restaurateur of any genre, READ THIS BOOK.

It’s chock full of, yes, his anecdotes. Not withstanding, these are helpful stories from which you can apply concepts that would be productive and profitable.

It was inspiring and particularly applicable for me in my professional pursuits right now – and I’ve now made it a goal to meet Mr. Meyers. If you happen to read this, Mr. Meyers, it’d be my honor and pleasure to be at your service.

Read on.

What have you read lately that you’d recommend?

(p.s. sorry about the sideways picture – the server’s goofy today….)

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Gems Among The Blather

p1040462In reading through comments (posted at the time) per this story per the 2.11.10 Women Enjoying Beer event, I’m reminded once again that we have free speech in this country. And I’m very grateful for it.

I’m grateful for the comments from people who are understanding what we’re working towards and supportive. And I’m grateful for comments by people who clearly don’t ‘get it.’

Why, you may wonder?

Because people that are uninformed and off base, people who don’t try to figure out what’s what and just spout to crow, end up making themselves look just that – uneducated.

The first few times I heard some comments that made me bristle, I thought – what am I not doing right? How am I missing the message? How can I deliver it better to hit their mark?

You know what? Part of the onus in any two way conversation is on both parties.

You have to educate yourself before you form opinions.

So – to those of you who read and understand that WEB is not about gender – it’s about opportunity and education, I thank you. For those of you who think it’s some flaming feminist whatever, educate yourself.

It’s insulting to only you in the long run if you don’t make the effort to learn how things work.

Bring it on.

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What Are You Talking About Today?

What will you talk with your employees about today?

Will it be cleaning? Will it be operations? Will it be other employees? Will it be supplies? Suppliers? Vendors? Ingredients? Community? Events? Sales? Donations? Service?

Laurie understands the servant mentality
Laurie understands the servant mentality

Will you give them some helpful knowledge on how to better inform your clientele? Will it be to challenge them to rethink the status quo – especially if the status quo needs a swift kick to re motivate?

Whatever you talk about, focus in. Make the time count, be prepared.

Success relies on preparation, thoughtfulness, discourse, action, follow up. Skimping on any of them does a disservice to all.

And in the beginning , middle and end, it’s all about service.

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Thinking Is The Key

Justin, Ginger, Rhonda, Mike - last May in L.A.

Justin, Ginger, Rhonda, Mike - last May in L.A.

Jim is right on in his goal as highlighted here. Many of the beer community members are like that. Which is where Jim and Rhonda began when they started Boston Beer.

Encouraging and making people rethink things is often where the challenge lies. Cracking open the thinking to allow for fresh thoughts, new patterns, new ideas and therefore encouraging more blood flow to our craniums is key.

Change. Rethinking.

Like Mike says, Change is coming one way or the other. May as well open up your arms to receive the hug. Here it comes!

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Decisions

Are you making your decisions on purpose  or are they incidental? Or worse, by default?

p1020140Operating any household or business, organization or entity requires thoughtful action. Thoughtful as in thinking things through. Being full of thoughts on the issues at hand.

When you simply rely on or allow default, when you don’t address the issues as they need to be, you are defaulting on way more than that one decision. You’re defaulting on yourself, your colleagues, your beer, your customers and your expectations.

Would you brand your business “Default Widgets: The One To Fall Back On”? Did you open your business to just meet the bare minimum?

Is something ‘that’ll do’ good enough for you? Or do you purposefully strive for better?

People everywhere – including your present and potential customers – want and deserve more.

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Clean Thy Glass!

What does “beer clean” mean? Here’s a helpful post.

Beer clean glassware is also indicative of the commitment of the brewery, brewpub, operator – whoever is in charge of the beer inclusively – to high quality beer.

p1040352Larry Chase, brew master at Standing Stone Brewing Company is Ashland Oregon, told me this.

“Because beer is alive and produced by a living organism (yeast), in order to make better beer, the entire brew house should be clean. Everything the beer is going not touch needs to be clean.”

He tells me it tastes better and it’s more consistent when everything is clean. Not just surficially clean, really elbow grease scrubbed clean.

The dedication to a clean brew house and all its equipment is evident in fresh, clean beer – yes, you can taste the difference.

Any while contamination may not make you sick, it’s kind of a disheartening thought. To think that after all that effort, someone may be slipshod on cleanliness.

Quality assurance quality control makes sense to the senses.  Make sure your brewery is clean. All the way to the glassware.

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Water Thinker

My hat goes off this morning to Lucy Saunders as I continue to read about her spearheading efforts to bring water usage

Water, water...

Water, water...

to the forefront of the conversation.

Water is after all the highest percentage of the ingredients in beer. We must not and cannot afford to ever take it for granted.

The great thing about the beer community is that – by and large – they are all progressive conscientious people, engaged in creating a high quality product and aware and concerned about the impact of what they are doing.

Lucy has been writing about beer for a long time, sharp, and helping further progressive thought.

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Keg, Bottles (and not vs.) Cans

p1040169This is a good article on outlining why cans can be a good option. Thinking about it is the first step.

Indeed, whatever receptacle we choose to get our beer in, be conscientious of its impact, how, why, when, again and so forth.

Taste profiles of beers right out of a can and right out of a bottle and right out of a keg and right out of a serving vessel….

Keep in mind beer is always best fresh, best served how it should be served regardless of how it comes.  There are resources aplenty of the sensory science behind glassware. Rebecca would know for sure.

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Home Free Thank You

It’s already been a full month since the Home Free Tour officially ended (followed promptly by a relocation to Ashland Oregon). We were on the road for well over 15,000 miles and more than 14 weeks all around this incredible

Sustainability wheel at Standing Stone

Sustainability wheel at Standing Stone

country of ours. Remarkable would be an understatement.

So I want to extend enormous thanks and express my gratitude for all the unerringly hospitable beer community people. They were all fun, enlightening and continue to fuel the passion to serve the beer community at large.

Specific thanks to these breweries, their great people, the tours and all you provided: Snake River Brewing, Jackson, WY; Wynkoop Brewing, Denver; Grand Teton Brewing, Victor ID; Bridgeport Brewing, Portland OR; Standing Stone Brewing, Ashland OR; Sierra Nevada Brewing, Chico CA; Buckbean Brewing & CANFEST, Reno NV; Dogfish Head, Rehoboth & Milton DE; Rogue, Newport OR; Avery Brewing, Boulder, CO; Firestone Walker, Buellton & Paso Robles CA; Four Peaks, Tempe AZ; BJ’s Reno NV; Lazy Magnolia Kiln MS; Bell’s, Galesburg MI; New Glarus, New Glarus WI; Russian River, Santa Rosa CA; St. Arnold Brewing, Houston TX; Terrapin Beer, Athens GA; Willimantic Brewing, Willimantic, CT; Roy Farms, Moxee WA; Lawson’s Finest, Warren VT.

In transit (as usual) with two curious dog noses

In transit (as usual) with two curious dog noses

A huge thank you to all the fine hosts who either had a cozy place to stay, fed us, gave us some tasty beer, and/or welcomed us into their homes and breweries and businesses as respite on the trip: Chris Erickson, Teri Fahrendorf & Jon Graber, Alex & Danielle Amarotico, Steve, Christine, Sophie & George Parkes, Rebecca Newman, Doug Booth and Dan Kahn, Sam Calagione & Mark Carter, C V Howe, David Walker & Jamie Smith, Ted Golden and Andy Ingram, Dan Pedersen, Leslie & Mark Henderson, Ann Ewing and Thomas Wilson, Laura Bell and Gary, Dan Carey & Jean Henstl, Vinnie & Natalie Cilurzo, Rob Sizemore, Brock Wagner, Horace Cunningham, Sharon Caskey, Julie Johnson, Craig Purser, David Wollner, Seth Schneider, Ben & Amy Julian, Pete Mervin & Rob Mullin, April Green, Terrence Sullivan, John Martin & Jesse, Tyson Blake, Sean Lawson, John & Stacey Maier.

Mile 0 in Key West

Mile 0 in Key West

Additionally we stopped at places: Upstream Brewing, Omaha NE; The Library, Laramie, WY; Harvest Moon Brew, Belt MT; Bozeman Brewing, Bozeman, MT; Concordia Ale House, Portland OR; Caldera Brewing, Ashland OR; Triple Rock Brewing, Berkeley CA; Fifty Fifty, Truckee CA; Flying Saucer, Houston TX; Stone Brewing, Escondido, CA; San Diego Brewing, San Diego CA; Gritty McDuff’s, Portland ME; Sleepy Dog, Tempe, AZ; Kelly’s, Key West FL; Highland Brewing, Asheville NC; Triangle Brewing, Durham NC; Brickskeller, Washington DC; Crosby & Baker, Westport MA; Six Rivers, Arcata CA; Brewzzi’s, West Palm Beach FL; Magic Hat, Burlington VT; The Brewerie, Erie PA; Leinenkugel’s, Chippewa Falls WI; Barley John’s, New Brighton MN.

Beer & Dessert? Yes, 3 please

Beer & Dessert? Yes, 3 please

To those who gave us an extra hand as we carried on: Sebbie Buhler, Darcy Quinn, Steve Grossman, Ronnie Crocker, Greg Kitsock, Martin Wooster, Jonathon Lunardi, Julie Wartell, Ann Ewing, Erika Rietz & Jessica Daynor & Austin Wilson, Jake Harkins & Nikki Brodt, John Mallett, Claire Sykes, Jim Boyd,

To those we missed, well – there’s always hope and planning to do it again, with a different geographic route to see, meet, and enjoy more great beer and camaraderie together.

A glass is raised to you all – Cheers!!

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Last Night, Sitting At The Bar…

…I noticed that all the patrons who had bellied up were women. How refreshing.

Why is that? Because these women were comfortable in their ‘third place’? They totally enjoy good beer? They like sitting at the bar?

p1040011There’s a lot of information that many women have shared with me in focus groups, casual conversation and online about sitting at a bar. This example was rich as it’s still atypical. No reason it needs to be.

So what can you do – as  a brewpub, taproom, or bar with a strong beer commitment – to authentically attract more females into the fray? To build up the only 25 – 30 percent of women (who are the majority of the entire human population)?

Encourage the women to sit at the bar, engage in intelligent entertaining conversation, invite them back.

Change is relatively easy to affect if you are active in pursuing it – not just saying “I wish…” and “someday…”

It made my night. Then I finished my double IPA and went home.

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Nuts!

Lazy Magnolia Packaging

Lazy Magnolia Packaging

Hats off to the 5th Anniversary of Lazy Magnolia, Mississippi’s only brewery.

If you followed the Home Free Tour log, you’ll remember that Leslie and Mark were gracious hosts to me, my Fine Husband and our two dogs on the trip. Affording us comfy accommodations and a tour of their facility in Kiln.

One clever aspect about their packaging is the wrap-around way the images  are formatted. In a discussion with Mark,  he explained why they were wrapped and I think it’s a savvy tact.

Makes sense if you’re fighting for shelf space and can help encourage a 2 6-pack wide shelf space.

So cheers! Here’s to 5 more…and 5 more…

Makes me thirsty for the Southern Pecan Nut Brown Ale.

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What Kind Of Beer Drinker Are You?

  • p1040094Do you savor it?
  • Do you guzzle it?
  • Does it depend on the beer?
  • Does it depend on your surroundings?
  • Does the size of the beer factor in?
  • Does it depend on who you’re drinking it with?
  • Does it depend on the season?
  • Does the alcohol content make a difference for you?
  • What else does it depend on?

How do you define yourself as a beer drinker? Ask yourself that question – feel free to comment and share your feedback. It’s fascinating (and useful) to hear all about these kinds of things from people, female and male, all (legal) ages, all over the country.

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Words To Ponder

Anat, Sam & Greg at 2009 GABF

Anat, Sam & Greg at 2009 GABF

A number of snippets from this year’s Great American Beer Festival. I’ve just run across them (again) as I was cleaning a file. They’re attributed to different people in the industry and surrounding the industry and they’re all related to beer.

Enjoy.

Growth will be because of consumers.

Lots of people are looking for a beer hero.

Discover beer time and time again.

Beer promiscuity.

Social media is an expansion of the grassroots movement [beer] is and has been…

Message of the story = struggle.

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"Just Talk"

It’s encouraging and usually productive when people call me to talk about WEB and how it may be helpful to their cause. New brewery starting, need ideas for the plan, how to market beer to women, and so forth.

p1030958So I just want to clarify something today.

It’s not ‘just talk’ that consultants such as myself offer. Answers someone asks for comes from real effort put forth to obtain that information. Talk is not cheap nor is it free just like brewing equipment isn’t cheap or free.

That talk comes from hours planning, soliciting, gathering, synthesizing, compiling, extrapolating, and in general interpreting information. It’s a big investment of time and professional effort.

It’s way more that just talk. It’s actionable information.

I received one such call along these lines just this week. So here’s a part of the follow up email I sent.

“WEB partners to innovatively garner market share of women (and men along the way) by authentically and accurately applying specific knowledge gathered from focus groups, events, etc. to your particular plans and goals based on solid information. That knowledge is what you pay for; it’s a product just as bright tanks are for holding beer.

Partnerships can involve a number of methods of applying and utilizing the information for direct benefit. It’s an investment of information and effort transferred into results. Generally, like any well developed marketing campaign it’s a mapped out plan, proving effective over time.”

I hope this is helpful. Call me when you want to turn effort into action. Thanks.

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Glassware

Here’s a picture of one beer I find to be a favorite for me. It’s a framboise and delicious in very way.

p1030936No, I don’t drink it only because I’m female and gravitate towards fruity beers (sometimes no, sometimes yes as with any beer).  After all, the issue here at WEB is not gender. It’s opportunity.

I drink it because it’s beautiful, has a luxurious flavor and mouth feel, has a zing of effervescence, and pairs nicely with a great many foods. It’s also very drinkable all by its gorgeous self.

This glass in particular was served to me at a very recent stop, Willimantic Brewing, in Connecticut at David’s place. What a refreshing surprise to get it served in an appropriately well designed glass.

Refreshing because too many places still use the standard (and cheapest) and expected beer vessel around – the tapered pint. At 16 or 20 ounces, it’s not the right glass for some beers. It allows the carbonation to escape too quickly therefore not fully allowing the flavor of the beer to shine and it’s too big a portion for many, women and men. Especially when you want to try a few beers.

If you make beer, be proud of it and do it justice by serving it in a more appropriate glass.

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