Change In Beer (And Everything)

“Change is gonna happen. Might as well give it a hug before it tackles you.” -M Sansone

Wise words.

How’s beer changed over the last year? Last five years? Ten? Thirty? Century?

A heck of a lot is the short answer.

And as beer drinkers and buyers, we can all embrace the good, and let the unsavory die on the vine.

I inquire with you today, fine reader, because Beer has changed. A lot. And it’ll continue to change, perhaps even at a more rapid pace than the last 30+ years, for the foreseeable future.

Change is always here and on the horizon

My stance is to ride the tide. Speaking with my wallet and the public platforms available to me to praise the positive, challenge the crap and in general participate in the conversation that develops and guides the foundation of every community.

When a beer brand you enjoy decides to sell for instance, stick with it for a while. Wait to see what changes (’cause something always will – it has changed ownership structure) before jumping any guns. Jumping guns is a dangerous, relatively permanent act too by the way. Rather ride it out, wait and see. Surprises can be wonderful as well as awful. Wait a bit then decide what you will do.

Change is coming. Or rather, it continues to come along. In beer, now more than ever in recent times. Enjoy it for what it is – a social beverage, bringing people together and creating common ground on which greater goods can be built.

Open your arms for a hug – here it comes!

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Walking The Beer Art Walk

Beer & Art go well together

Beer is truly a universal beverage. Art lovers love beer – did you know that?

Last week found WEB at a local gallery during the monthly First Friday art walk. Like some other communities around the world, the local gallery association encourages the members to host once a month Art Walks from gallery to gallery. It’s a moving casual  cocktail and noshing see each other get some mild exercise kind of event. And usually lots of fun, though not overly revenue bearing for the galleries.

Enter: enlightened gallery owner and manager. I got a call from a connection wherein the manager told me she and the owner wanted to change up their art walk a bit and perhaps offer beer instead of wine.

It may seem like a minor change to some, a small decision, yet it was a smart step for them. They felt like they wanted to do something different while still fitting the bill.

Results: A smash! These kinds of events, especially in communities like mine, engender repeat participants – and exactly who you are after in marketing any product or good, beer or art. Getting people to return to see again, consider, think, buy and support is what it’s all about.

The gallery manager and owner were very easy to work with, we made it smooth and seamless for them and they have a successful sales night. We served a beer, incidentally, from a brand new brewer which was aged in wine barrels from a local winery too. It was an easy thing to ‘sell’ since the patrons were accustomed to wine. Almost everyone who approached the table to get a small to sip tried it. There were a few hold outs for wine – less than a hand full out of a few hundred people.

And I firmly believe (partially based on focus group input) we had more participation simply because it was different. I’ve had women in focus groups flat out state that if the art walks offered beer, they’d go. Proof positive happened.

New art show, new beverage, new smiles. Beer and art bring people together. We love them both and we’re hoping to get back to do it again.

Think outside the frame.

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Domesticate This

Words are powerful, used, misused, abused and changed all the time.

Today this post is brought to you by the now incorrect and waaaaaay to often used term: Domestic Beer.

AAAAAAAAAUUUUUUGGGGGHHHHH!!!!!

If I see one more menu with ‘Domestic’ – ‘Imports’ – ‘Micros’, or hear one more person say “Our domestic beers are…” or read one more list from anywhere that has “Domestic Beer” as a title, I’ll slash a grain bag.

Time to kill or redefine "Domestic Beer"

Why does this bug me so much? Because it’s no longer an accurate and relevant use of the term per beer.

When you want to make change happen, it first starts with common understanding. Understanding starts with a clear, up to date communication and an understood base of appropriate and applicable terminology.

While Domestic (Lager or whatever) may have been applicable at one time, it’s more than expired. And anyone who cares about beer should be working to change it.

Domestic = indigenous to or produced or made within one’s own country; not foreign; native

So, be still my craziness. Correct this where you see it, work to change it. Right now we have well over 1700 breweries in America alone. They are all Domestic Beer.

And don’t give me that “you know what I mean.” No, that no longer holds any beer. Change the terminology and the misnomer dies. And die it must.

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What Women Want Series: Part 5 – Small Things Matter

Small Things Matter. In fact the ‘small ‘things aren’t small at all. They’re big.

Do you pay attention to the details? Details are like the bricks in a wall. If any of them are missing, you notice a hole. And holes are bad. Treat all the factors, whether they be big sections of the brick wall or one brick items, with equal importance.

Small things matter

Here are some things to look at and examine (and repair if needed) for your beer businesses.

  1. How attentive are the servers or staffers?
  2. Are they treating the female guests at the bar with respect and open arms?
  3. Was I able to get here and park my bike or car easily?
  4. Is the bathroom impeccably clean?
  5. Is the label appealing?
  6. Did I get greeted and thanked (in every scenario)?
  7. Is there any overt sexism anywhere? Racism or ageism or any other -ism for that matter?
  8. Is the lighting sufficient to see completely and not squint?
  9. If there is sound, is it at the right level – whether it be brew house noise, music, or general traffic din – so they can talk at normal speech volumes
  10. Do you offer a few choices for beer serving size (on or off premise)?

There are myriad ways to evaluate and ensure the female beer enthusiast is welcomed genuinely and specifically. Get a crew together to take a comprehensive look at your establishment. To make sure it’s worthwhile (dollars, time, and resources) be sure to look at it from the consumer lens.

Better yet, have someone with good judgement in the business contact a few people the rest of the staff does not know to engage in the experience and report back (otherwise known as ‘mystery shopping’). It’s an enormously valuable and useful and timely tool. You get the feedback and you can change things right now.

Small things impact women pre-purchase and therefore impact the purchase. The details – and big things – impact them during and after the purchase too.

Part of this redundant mantra, is Ask The Woman What She Wants. It’s a sign of strength to ask for help. And help you, the women will certainly do.

By the way, treating them to a beer for their feedback is a nice and appropriate way to thank them…

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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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This I Know To Be True

Education leads to Awareness.

Awareness leads to Change.

So – how important is education to you? To your business model? To your future success and survival?

Are you aware? When’s the last time you brought someone in to rally the troops, really provide some good information, refresh, reinforce? Someone to raise awareness, educate, incite change?

Now’s the time.

the p.s. here is ‘what are you waiting for??’

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