Monday, April 22, 2013

Drinking Commercial

Imagine for a moment, if you will, that you are a homebrewer who has decided that the time has come to 'go professional'. One of the first things that you do is form the company that will eventually be the public front of your dreams.

During the process of making your dream a reality, you write a business plan, a marketing plan, engage in a feasibility study, study the numbers and only if you are convinced you can make a living out of the business you are starting, and pay back your investors, do you move forward.

Eventually you have your location, your equipment, your staff, and your recipes. Your opening day looms and the first customer walks into your tasting room, assuming of course that you have one, and hands over money for either a flight of samples or a pint of your beer. Welcome to the world of commerce.

The word 'commercial' seems to get a bad rap in the beer world, heavily linked, as it is, to the multinational conglomerates that churn out millions of gallons of beer a year. The reality though is that every brewery, regardless of size, is commercial, for the very aim of being in business is to make a profit, without which your bills don't get paid and you end up losing everything.

All the romance, passion and craft in the world is no replacement for solid business practices coupled with professional sales and marketing activities, an area that I tend to think ranges from bloody awful to just mediocre in a sizeable swathe of breweries. I have read many brewery business plans that simply have no marketing plan or budget from the get go, which makes me wonder how the business expects people to know they exist, and no, Twitter/Facebook/Social Media Fad of the Week do not replace proper marketing.

Let's be honest people, as beer drinkers, we all drink 'commercial beer' simply by virtue of paying for it, which allows the business making it to make more, assuming they are doing everything on the business side of things well. In reality, the only non-commercial beer is homebrew.

2 comments:

  1. One of the most idiotic beer related comments I've read was from a guy who said he really hated commercial beers and that's why he drank Bernard.... That's how stupid things are.... All that "holier than thou" bollocks from micro brewers and their evangelists needs to stop, now. All brewing companies make beer for money, all of them. What is even funnier is that there are some people who will refuse to call "commercial" breweries that have national or even international distribution, that announce they will make investments to increase their capacity....

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  2. The reality is that any business is commercial, from Microsoft right down to the lady who looks after your kids for two hours a day after school. Commercial just means that it is no longer a hobby. Good for you if you can make a living doing what you love to do!

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