1. Understanding Industries Outside of Craft Beer
Reviewing the landscape of related markets and recognizing the impact or opportunity.
During, “Strategies for Expanding Beyond Beer,” Panelist shared their experience straddling multiple markets, embracing both their struggle and strategy.
“As long as it breaks even economically, it is a great advertisement of the Rogue brand,” said Brett Joyce, President of Rogue Ales & Spirits in describing their efforts in the spirits industry.
The session detailed what it takes to branch your brewing business off into other industries, such as spirits, cider and hard soda. Panelists included Joel Vandenbrink, the founder of Two Beer Brewing and Seattle Cider Company; Brett Joyce, the president of Rogue Ales & Spirits and Alva Mather, an attorney and the chair of Pepper Hamilton’s alcohol beverage practice. The group discussed considerations anyone should take if looking to enter other craft markets, including: investment, corporate structure, regulatory, branding, marketing, distribution and retail. Thou related markets may seem like a natural transition, panelist stressed the importance of having a clear understanding of new market opportunities, particularly the different challenges you may face, and the need to have the passion and dedication to carry your business through the new venture.
Vivien Azer discussed how a growing marijuana economy could impact companies in the alcohol sector. Azer is Cowen and Company’s managing director and senior research analyst specializing in the beverage, tobacco and cannabis sectors. Azer recently compiled a 110 page report on the cannabis industry and, at the Brewbound Session, she shared her team’s findings while taking a deep dive into the interaction between alcohol and marijuana.
Main Brewbound Findings: Do not underestimate the differences in similar markets, because those differences can create new business challenges. If you are looking to break out into other markets, pay attention to the new processes your brand may encounter. Also Be aware of developing markets that could directly impact your consumer base.
2. Growing and Expanding Your Brewery’s Brand
Afternoon Brewbound sessions highlighted growing and expanding your brewery’s brand, where Pabst Brewing Company chairman Eugene Kaspher sat down with Brewbound editor Chris Furnari to discuss Pabst’s partnership strategy, the company’s industry outlook, and the recent hiring of Simon Thorpe as its new CEO.
Main Takeway: It is important to properly allocate your brewery’s resources in order to grow and expand your brewery’s brand, Pabst Brewing Company is doing with their joint-venture strategy. However, as Tomme Arthur points out, it is just as important to note the difficulties that bringing on more than one focus brand will bring to your brewery, which is why Pabst Brewing chose a partnership strategy rather than purchasing other brands, or creating new brands themselves.
“We want partners who can hold and create the magic and excitement for their brands, so that they can be the leader in the market,” said Eugene Kashper of Pabst Brewing Company, on using a non-ownership, partnership strategy.
3. The State of the Craft Beer Industry
Lester Jones, the NBWA’s Chief Economist, and Bart Watson, the Brewers Association’s Chief Economist, discussed the latest category trends and the growth of taproom sales. They also identified where new growth opportunities will exist as mature markets get more saturated and explain how brewers should consider navigating a rapidly changing landscape.
“The first challenge of slowing growth is to accept there is slowing growth, but even flat markets still have growth,” said Watson. “Parts of the market are going down while other parts of the market are going up. IPAs are still flying, but seasonals have had a very, very tough year.”
It is important not to be swayed negatively by a flat market, because even those markets are still experiencing growth within the beer space. Interesting market opportunities are still readily available when you analyze the data. For example, women’s beer preferences correlated directly with the styles of beer that have experienced growth over other styles. Using market trends like this could help shape your product line up.
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