What’s Your Place Smell Like?

Let your nose be your guide.

What does your business smell like? Is it inviting? Does it smell like what people expect, like a bakery smells like freshly baking bread? Does it stink like sanitizer or bleach?

Aroma is so very noticeable and important in building business. All business – for profit to non-profits, all classifications and types.

Smell’s important because it is one of our strongest sensory indicators of memories we hold with particular aromas, smells and odors. It’s also a part of your brand. Have you ever thought about that?

Smell your places & spaces

Smell your places & spaces

Once upon a time I worked in a bread store. One that mixed and made fresh bread from scratch every day, no bromate in the flour, no day-old sold (all donated if remaining). Getting to work was a pure olfactory joy! And my clothes, though they certainly smelled like work when I left, were always pleasantly odoriferous.

Try this: Recruit a few volunteers and give them a guide, put them in pairs. Blindfold one, have the other safely and carefully lead the sightless person into carious areas of your operation and have them tell you what they think they smell. It’s best to have people unfamiliar with what you think spaces are supposed to smell like. Don’t let the guides prompt the blindfolded either – this needs to be visceral and honest.

Be sure to smell all areas of your operations. Inside, outside, doorways, bathrooms, parking lots, patios….aromas linger everywhere.

Finding out what your space smells like is a wise exercise, can be lots of fun and it’ll keep you up to date on what your place smells like. By the way, it’s important for internal and external customers alike.

Afterall, if someone has to spend their days inhaling the air, it should be fitting to the place (and safe as well).

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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?

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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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Inspiration: Going For A Ryd

  • “I’m really not into being the victim.”
  • “I’m into people management – making the world a better place.”
  • “Helping business owners find meaning.”
  • “What’s in the way?”

Can you answer these questions and statements easily and clearly?

Thanks to colleague and friend Mary Rydman for inspiring today’s post.

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Falling Out Of Love

Recently, I fell a little out of love with beer.

It wasn’t a sudden occurrence. It was gradual. And it’s not a fatal falling. It’s simply an evolution of life and in life.

See, I didn’t wake up one morning so stoked about beer that I couldn’t stand it. That I had to shout it from the highest whatever I could find. I’ve never felt that way about beer.

I didn’t wake up thinking “Oh – beer! I’ve fallen out of love with you” either.

What I have felt consistently excited about is beer people. When audiences hear me speak, I often tell them the story of how I got into beer (it’s a Frequently Asked Question). It’s a fun one to answer and the key was this: I wanted to be around people I wanted to be around. Through a family member I had gotten to know Beer People. And I liked them, very much. They’re hard-working, fun, smart, engaged, make-stuff-happen people. My kind of folks.

The view from here...

The view from here…

So when I fell a little out of love with beer, it was a bit disappointing. Trust me when I say I am still mostly in love, though I need to expand my horizons to include beer and look well beyond beer.

Beer’s great. It’s simple, complex, global, tasty. Beer’s also just that: beer. Like any one thing, it’s only one thing. Life to me is multifaceted and begs to be continually explored and tried. There’s a whole world out there of Beer. There’s a whole world out there of Other Things too.

I’ve recovered from my out of love fall. And I’m happy to report I still “love” many things about beer, including a lot of the people in it. I simply need to put my hand to my forehead and look farther.

The business I chose to start and build, being a specialist in marketing beer to women, has been plowing prairies previously unconsidered. Virgin prairie is a tough row to hoe, literally. I’m not complaining because I think it’s truly ground breaking work and has high value. It’s some of the mindset of people the industry that has befuddled and lead to my fall.

Granted: the clients and interested parties that understand the value of our knowledge and how it can and does immediately positively impact their business are plowing with me. It’s the others who want “a few thoughts'”, want free insight and product who don’t understand and aren’t willing to pay for our product that are frustrating.

So I must include those who are switched on who “get” what I’m doing and I am pursing other avenues where the value we offer is seen and understood.

What else do I see worth pursuing? Plenty.

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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?

One comment

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Business Books

Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.”Harry S. Truman

Fortunate are those who can read. And those of us who can, should make sure we do what we can to support and encourage literacy.

Here's one I want to read. What's on your reading list?

Here’s one I want to read. What’s on your reading list?

Education in the form of being literate is critically important.

My entire family, immediate and extended, are readers. Perhaps it goes alllll the way “back”, wherever back is, as to the importance or reasoning my family all reads. All familial affiliation aside, life would be less fulfilling without the ability to read, both from the educational side (having learned) and visual side (having eyesight). It’d be a lot more difficult too.

Appreciation for what was then Books On Tape (now Audio Books) was writ large when I had happily inherited a beloved blind grandma years ago.

If you want to lead in any kind of capacity, from your own self to really large groups of people, reading is one way to augment, enhance, and develop leadership skills.

What are you reading?

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The Business Of Business Cards

Business cards are far from dead.

Years ago, probably about 8 or so, I was at a social business function and exchanging pleasantries with a man I’d just met. As I passed him my business card, he told me “I don’t have business cards.” He proceeded to tell me he thought they were dying out.

Not so.

And thankfully not so. Business cards are so many things.

  • They’re calling cards – meaning you can use one to call on someone since they literally should have their name and phone number on them. An even better business card will have a street address and direct email address.
  • Business cards are silent sales people. They’re small signs of What You Do and Who You Are.
  • Business cards are an investment in confidence of success. They represent your professionalism, your willingness to help people find you and the image of the real deal.
  • Business cards are your brand and personality. Brand is a big buzz word right now – and it’s always been about authenticity of who you are and what you and your company does.

The kicker for me is meeting a marketing professional who doesn’t have a card with them!! Wow. Strike out. Move on.

Here's mine. What's yours look like?

Here’s mine. What’s yours look like?

Tuck them everywhere, keep them handy, make sure you have a reasonable supply. I feel naked without mine. Not because I lean on them. Rather because I am proud of them – they get reactions every time I pass one out. (If you want one, send me an email with your mailing address and I’ll send one to you.) I’m sure to thank the original graphic designer whom I hired to develop them. A little continued gratitude goes a long way…

Business cards are alive and well. We like to have something tangible to exchange, a little piece of to give to the person we just met whom we’d like to connect with/do business with/date/see again.

Interview capable printers, inquire, ask for examples of work and papers, shapes and ideas.

Cheers to the business card and all it can do for us when we let it. What’s yours look like?

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You Are What You Wear

What do you wear?

I’m guessing it depends on what’s going on. As in, are you going to do yard work or homework? Are you going to cook or go running? Is there a funeral to attend or a meeting at a coffee shop?

If you are what you wear, what are you?  If you are what you wear, then, what do you wear? How is what you wear who you are?

Sometimes the items in my closet stare me down. Hmmm….I find myself wondering…hmmmm…what will go out and about with me today? Or – what will stay in at with me at the office today? Or – what will hit the traveling mode with me today?

The ensuing responses to qualifying and deciding what to wear isn’t a matter so much of vanity for me. Of course I want to feel good in what I wear, though I’m not a vain person. What we look like does matter though to the world at large. Our immediate reaction, so thoughtfully and thoroughly examined in Malcolm’s book, is a matter of being human.

Like it or not, we judge viscerally on appearance. So if I’m in the business of business, then I must be thoughtful and aware of what I wear. If I’m a student I should be aware of what I wear.

I’d agree with this author – It’s astounding how little some people seem to care about their appearance. We’re not talking about being totally trendy or up to date. We’re talking being sloppy, careless, and with no cognizance of who might they positively or negatively impress – and just where they may cross paths again (work anyone? school? date? grocery store?). Cool isn’t slop. Cool is style and thoughtfulness and respect.

Julia, BA, always looks professional and approachable

Julia, BA, always looks professional and approachable

The same goes for the beer business. It’s really disconcerting to see so much over the edge casual, so much garb that’s seemingly unsafe (shorts in the brew house), and so much that says “I don’t care, this is all about me.” I’m most impressed by beer people who give damn about how they look. Distributors are pretty darn good about looking professional, whether at a conference or casually out and about. Breweries are all over the map with some looking like hobos and some looking like pros.

When in doubt, dress like a pro. It isn’t about being stuffy or formal; it’s about respect for yourself and the profession.

Being clean and tidy, even with tired or worn or out of date clothing, will always make more of a positive impression to me than someone wearing flip-flops and baggy pajama pants in the airport. Someone wearing a glib tee-shirt, perhaps tattered or with an off-color slogan or image. Pants that fall below the waist should be illegal too.

Airports and festivals are fascinating places to see what people are by what they wear. Sometimes you see the same person on different days wearing entirely different sorts of garb. It makes me wonder why. There are no doubt lots of interesting conversations to be had, done appropriately with people about what they wear.

I bet you’d find out pretty quickly who they are.

No matter what you do in life as we know it, have some respect for the others around you to give a darn. Put some forethought into what you put on. If you are what you wear, then be a good example of yourself.

Thinking about how you look to yourself and to others is important, however much we want to believe in individual expression. Go ahead – please dress how you like. Simply know that others are also individually free to look and decide what and who you are based on what they see.

Now, where are those Nocona’s…..I think I’ll wear them today.

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ROL: Return on Learning

There are gobs of acronyms – an infinite variety available worldwide. ROI, CRM, RFP, B2B, B2C, EBITDA, TQM, P&L….and the list goes on. I dare say it’d be more accurate to call them acornums, since talking with them and listening to others talk about them sometimes makes my mind go num.

All that aside, ROL is a newer one to me, shared by my wise and insightful frolleague, Mike. He’s one of those generous sorts who has freely given of his time and brain the entire time we’ve known each other. My ROL from him is sky-high! And what he’s helped me learn continues to have positive residual effects.

In return, pun intended, I try my best to give a ROL to him. The givers gain only works when all involved parties are invested in the joy and altruism of the gain by giving and therefore the cycle is perpetuated. Giving to takers doesn’t work.

Books = one way to amp up your ROL

Books = one way to amp up your ROL

How does this relate to WEB, you may (or may not) be asking?

ROL is in everything we do. Return on education from the distributor to the retailer, from the brewer to the distributor, from the retailer to the consumer, from consumer to brewery…..and every other possible combination will both allow a reaping of rewards and a receiving of enlightenment.

Return On Learning starts with you and me. What do I have that I can share with you to help you learn? What do you have that you can give me to help me learn?

I’m a firm believer that education and learning changes the world. Love and money come and go. Education is forever.

ROL. When it’s working right, it’s the best merry-go-round around.

p.s. Here’s a funny list of, well, funny slightly ridiculous acronyms

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Why Do You Do What You Do?

If you don’t know why you’re doing what you’re doing…

Why are you doing it?

Those words of insight should be blindingly obvious. They were delivered by the venerable Dr. Michael Lewis at the CBC earlier this month in conjunction with proper professional education.

2014 CBC Opening Session

2014 CBC Opening Session

I took his meaning to be: If you don’t know why you’re doing what you do, if you can’t answer that question first, then it’s time to rethink what you’re doing. There are too many brewers in America that are not focused on quality and too many that are putting out poor quality beer. And there are plenty of brewers, like many other kinds of businesses, that are too myopic about the big picture.

Yes, it’s important to be passionate about your ventures. Yes, it’s important that you like it.

AND it’s critical that you focus your energy on proper education and therefore quality of progress as a cornerstone and driver of that business. That’s bad for everyone.

Education provides a singular opportunity and atmosphere for the best results, skills development and therefore an elevated end product, whether it’s beer, information, or any other product or service. Education is not replaceable by experience. They should go hand in hand and work together. Though without one, the equation is lopsided and will inevitably be imbalanced.

Like Mitch Steele, Stone Brewing and the 2014 recipient of the Russell Schehrer award, “If you hire someone, makes sure they know what they’re doing.”

With beer schools and programs popping up all over, it’s best to investigate and vet the choices.

Start with: Which programs am I interested in and why? Then do your diligence to carefully examine those you look into. Doing the research on the front end will more than make up the time you put into it very quickly.

If you know why you do what you do, good. If you don’t, it’s time to stop and answer that question. Education is powerful and always a good idea.

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The Fable of Good, Better, Best

“Good, better, best, never let it rest. Until your good is better, your better’s best.” – Dr. Fagerberg, prof, CCMM

Once upon a time, there were three friends: Good, Better and Best.

They had met early in their lives and did a lot of things together. Hung out at the park, where there was really old original play equipment, newer gear and some sparkling new features. They’d go to the library where they’d see really old books, 20th century works, and then very current publications. They especially liked eavesdropping on conversations because they learned so much about what people thought.

Regardless of what they all thought individually, they all got along well and lived peaceably together in the same neighborhood. They knew that while they didn’t always share the same opinions, they wanted to get along and respect each other and keep their minds open to new ideas. Their elders and other close friends had taught them the value of diplomacy and respect.

One day the three friends were indeed listening in on a conversation. It was a table of 3 People in a brewpub and they were talking about beer (of all things!)

  • Person 1: “I love this beer! It’s so delicious.”
  • Person 2: “Are you kidding?! It’s rank and smells like barnyard and wet hay. Ick! I don’t know how you can stand it.”
  • Person 3: “Really?! I think it’s fine, and perhaps it’s supposed to taste that way. Did either of you check into it or ask our server about it first?”
Good, Better, Best

Good, Better, Best

And so it went, the conversation of the 3 People – around and around, back and forth, never agreeing on the beer in their glasses.

The three friends (Good, Better, Best) found this confusing and confounding. They wondered why the supposed three friends at the table were arguing so, not understanding that they can all simply taste, enjoy a and talk about it AND still value and respect each other fully.

They stayed a little while and eventually the 3 People paid their bill and left the pub, still squabbling over very minor things.

The 3 friends were quiet for a little while after the People left. “I wonder why they just didn’t let each other fully enjoy what they wanted to, instead of bickering and making the others feel bad or wrong…makes no sense to me,” said Better.

“Me either,” stated Good. Best agreed with them both.

They left that day feeling a little more sadly enlightened that some people want to always be Right, to be the Loudest Voice In The Room (making them Right) and wouldn’t graciously accept and encourage their friends to simply enjoy what they wanted without putting it down.

They decided that they’d always stay open to what the others wanted to try and enjoy. After all, everyone has their own taste buds, experiences and opinions. Good friendships are built on variety of and respect, they told each other. They knew they’d learn more and have more fun too if they all treated each other well and were kind.

Then they went along their merry way.

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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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When’s the Right Time To Hire WEB for Your Business

This is an excerpt from a recent email conversation. The context is this person wanted to attend our Marketing Beer To Women workshop

“In regards to a one-on-one [marketing consultation], I’ll kindly decline. We haven’t brewed our first beer yet and don’t think its the correct time to hire you.

I was interested on your talk because it is innovative and something to think off further down the road.”
The right time to develop your marketing plan, for all businesses and organizations that want o be successful, is early. To wait is to fail in best bringing your products, goods, services, and ideas to market.
I’d ask: What precisely are you waiting for? It’s never too early, and often it’s too late.
Once the doors open, it’s too late. Did you wait to call the plumber until you actually got the equipment in? Did you wait to contact the press until your doors were/are actually open? Did you wait to hire an architect until you had building materials delivered? Do you wait to order grain until the day you actually want to brew?
Plan ahead. Have success.

Plan ahead. Have success.

No to all of the above. Waiting in business is suicide.

I pity the foolish business person who waits to develop a proper marketing plan. Even more so, I pity the fool who waits to plan to market to women according to what the business is planning to sell.
I don’t pity the fool who’s too myopic or foolish to not consider women as a huge global force to reckon with. I agree with Seth.

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Calling Color Commentary

When you think of broadcasters, do you think of a particular person? Perhaps you think of a style, personified by a particular person. Did you think of a kind of broadcaster, like sports, when you read the post title here?

A wise colleague told me once you should only do color commentary IF you’ve played the game before. I’d agree.

Who’s to say a move, plot or idea was a good one, bad one, amazing one, or foolish one without having first been in that position before. Who indeed is someone who’s actually and literally ‘been there, done that.’

You have to know what you're looking at to call color commentary

You have to know what you’re looking at to call color commentary

This particular colleague had been invited to give color commentary (she’d done it in the past too). Plus she’d been a very active participant in the activity she was asked to call and was up to date on the current landscape of the activity. Good fit all around, especially for the end listener who is relying on a professional and skilled commentator.

As a kid I remember making fun of the golf commentators. My sister and I would snicker at the Saturday afternoon golf tourneys my folks would occasionally watch. We’d watch a bit then remove ourselves to another room, so as not to totally ruin it for my parents. We then proceeded to make fun of the narrative, and becoming instant commentators ourselves mimicking whose we’d seen. We’d expound in our own goofy way til we were laughing so hard no sounds were coming out of either of us.

My own childhood experience aside, commentators should only be commenting and guiding conversation if they’re knowledgeable, reputable and diplomatic.

Color commentary involves way more than simply watching an activity and then giving a running narrative. The audience and the subjects will all be best served by those who are qualified to do so.

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Inaugural Craft Beverage Expo

A new expo is in town. The first ever Craft Beverage Expo is launching on May 6 – 8 in San Jose, California. I’d been getting mailings from the CBE and have recently become more acquainted with the conference.

Here are a few aspects that may make this conference appealing to attend.

1. The site states the conference is designed to help “artisan wine, craft beer, craft cider and craft spirit producers do business and increase sales in a regulated space.” It’s a cross industry effort that looks to create broader conversations with interested communities. No need to delineate when we can share best practices, helpful ideas and talk for the betterment of the whole.

2. It’s essentially two full days of seminars, speakers, and trade show. Breakfasts are provided with registration two of the days as well as a mix and mingle happy hour one afternoon.  When you plan your conference strategy well, you can take in the seminars that best suit you, search out vendor information, and take advantage of the relationship building and networking built into the event.

3.  The list of 58 scheduled speakers should give you plenty to listen to. While the mix of gender in speakers is better than a lot of alcohol conferences, the women in beer need better representation. It’s important to have realistic population representation – half the population is female.

4. Well over 100 exhibitors are making the investment and will be readily available to the attendees.

5. Here’s some of the press information to read.

LogoOverall, everyone has to prioritize and decide which opportunities to pursue, for what reasons, and for a particular investment. Heading to a conference is way more than simply paying registration. It’s travel time and expense, time away from the business, and lost productivity and sales in some cases (a trade out so to speak).

What do you stand to gain? Education is always a wise investment. The way to approach whatever you choose to attend should include “What 1 – 5 specific things/concepts/ideas/solutions/connections can I walk away with if I attend the XYZ conference?” Plan to plan. Set goals, do your research of what’s available, what’s close to you, what you can afford (on various levels), who should go, and then do it.

I’ve always been glad to have attended conferences, whether for a single afternoon or multiple days. It’s easy to shoo it away, thinking we don’t have time. Put the effort into the things you want to see benefits from. Do your diligence. Make the time for the right events.

Maybe I’ll see you there.

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International Women’s Day 2014

Saturday, March 8th is International Women’s Day. What does that precisely mean? And why do we feel we have a need to recognize women?

Here are 10 good reasons.

1. Females make up over half of the population. From those who enjoy Your Home to those who are as far-flung as our imaginations can carry us, and everywhere in between.

2. Women have always been brewers (see, I stayed on topic). Brewing is cooking, and women have always been actively engaged in the food arena in life.

Celebrate women: International Women's Day 3.8.14

Celebrate women: International Women’s Day 3.8.14

3. In a great majority of countries women are still second-class citizens and that’s fundamentally wrong. No one gender of person has more or less value than another.

4. Women in America are still paid, on average, 23% less than male counterparts.

5. Women are capable of everything and able to do anything.

6. Women are the reason we’re around. Yes it takes two to reproduce and women bear the majority of that task.

7. There are certainly celebrated women the world over, yet not enough.

8. There are scores of underappreciated and even recognized women and females the world over, wherein “any” is too many.

9. Women keep changing the world for the better.

10. It’s a proven fact via myriad research that societies with a mindful equity respect for women and men are so much more productive, healthy, and happy populations.

Notice I use the word equity instead of equality. (Mirriam-Webster) Nature has a way of equalizing things, yet we’re not in charge here. Humans should aim for equity instead of equality.

I look forward to the days where gender is a non-issue. Alas! It still is and talking about it and acting to change it will be the way to remove the inequitable in our world. It’ll never be the impossible perfect, yet it can be a whole world of good better.

So today’s the day (as is every day) to recognize, thank, and appreciate women. Skip the chocolates, massages, and other tired pithy nonsense and say THANK YOU. Ask her what you can do for her that holds real meaning and purpose. Do something that really matters. It may make you slightly uncomfortable and that’s how progress is made.

I thank you for reading. And I’ll thank you more for acting for women the globe over.

Till the next glass –


Go Here: Time is one of the most valuable gifts we can give. Volunteer with an organization that truly works towards female equity. A quick Internet search will yield countless opportunities to help, from the Girl Scouts to human trafficking.

Try This: Give the gift of your time to a female you don’t know: Visit an elder care facility and talk with the women you meet (residents and staff), walk some dogs at the shelter (equal opportunity here), and anonymously donate a few dollars to a female focused charity.

This column was originally published on Your Home with Karie Engels.

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Remarkable Marketing

I find this to be a head scratcher:

MillerCoors Makes Manly Pitch With New Hard Cider Brand” – watch the ad courtesy, Ad Age.

The article states:

“Hard cider is one of the hottest sectors in the alcohol business, but MillerCoors thinks the category is still missing some testosterone….Smith & Forge is going after the common man. MillerCoors sees opportunity in the fact that cider purchases skew far less male than beer.”

In the world of quality I think MillerCoors is world-class. Flavor is different from preference so remove any bias based on your own preferences. Why not focus on flavor instead of gender? Why not make an equally female savvy ad (if you can call the ad savvy…it is clever and fun) for the same product, delivering equal time to the worlds most oft-forgotten beer and cider drinkers: women.

Aside of this, the piece, which is *almost* non-gender oriented, stills screams ” Beer Is For Men, Cider Is Not.” Enter: Gender. WTH.

Time to blow the lid of gender, beer & cider

Time to blow the lid of gender, beer & cider

Who has ever said that beer is masculine? That Cider is not masculine?  The wrong thinking has pervaded here because the already 70%+ of the beer drinking market that is male will be hard pressed (get it?!) to get past all the other gibberish we’ve been slowly force-fed to the end that men must like beer.

Interesting point: That apparently “A Boston Beer spokeswoman did not return a request for comment.” What exactly did they want Boston beer to comment on? Oh – how about this, from the author:

“She said that ‘while Angry Orchard in and of itself might feel masculine,’ the brand’s ‘design techniques,’ such as its ‘whimsical tree’ and color scheme, ‘lean a little bit away from the masculine side.’ “ [attributed to Rita Patel, director of new product development at MillerCoors]

This is the wrong thing for one brand to say about another – to assume they think they know what the entire consuming body thinks. No, Rita, don’t do it. In fact, I’d like to have a cider or beer with Rita and other powers that be at MillerCoors to learn exactly where they think they are coming from – cause me thinks it ain’t the consumer. (Rita – call me anytime here)

The merry-go-round goes round…and round…and round…to the same tired music with the same wrong-headed thinking on all accounts.

I look forward to the day the phone rings and someone with some impact from the largest and most influential breweries call and ask, “So – what does the consumer think?” of us. That’ll be a red (apple) letter day.

p.s. and who precisely is the common man??

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One of the Good Guys

Guy Kawasaki, that is.

I read his book Rules For Revolutionaries recently and found it to be affirming, reaffirming, insightful, fun, and worthwhile. Here are some of the primary takeaways for me.

1. Invent new words. I love the vernacular of this book – and though I’ve yet to meet Mr. Kawasaki, I have a feeling he’d be great fun to talk with.

2. Take what you want to do seriously, never take yourself too seriously. Seriously, life is short. Go for it and be sure to retain a sense of humor.

3. Be able to listen, step in, step out, and keep going.

4. Success and rejection are both temporary states, no matter the tenure.

5. “Think different in order to change the rules.” This should go without saying. Revolutionaries aren’t overly concerned with existing rules – they’re out to make change, which is impossible to contain.

6. Beware the “death magnets.” This whole chapter is laugh out loud and YES!! worthy.

7. Budget reigns supreme. He’s right. “In reality, the budget is rarely the real problem. Budget is king is a symptom of lack of leadership, poor communication and undue political infighting.”

Step up - be a revolutionary.

Step up – be a revolutionary.

And the crowning glory of this whole book boils down to a quoted ad as follows:

A woman is often measured bu the things she cannot control. She is measured by the way her body curves or doesn’t curve.

By where she is flat or straight or round. She is measured by the 36-24-36 and inches and sages and numbers. By all the outside things that don’t ever add up to who she is on the inside.

And so if a woman is to be measured, let her be measured by the things she can control. By who she is and who she is trying to becomes because as every woman knows, measurements are only statistics, and statistics lie.

Guess whose ad this is?

This is evergreen content and I’d recommend you read it. Thanks, Guy. Whatelseyougot?

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