~~ “If I was a kid in school today there’d be a teacher standing 10 feet away with a fire hose dressed in Ebola gear spraying me with Ritalin.” ~ Lagunitas’ founder and owner Tony Magee.
~~ The Lagunitas story is already legendary in our business, but this Mashable article sums up the madness and the crazy path the success in a highly entertaining and well-written short piece. It’s also an insightful summary of craft beer legal issues and the Big Brewer V Small Brewer War.
As Crain’s Chicago Business reports today, Craft Beer brewers are exploring lower alcohol percentages in their beers, closer to what the mass-market premium beers have for alcohol content. Here’s 5 Reasons that’s a great idea (first 2 from the article and 3 from me).
(1) MORE SALES: First, drinkers may be more likely to buy more beer if it’s lower in alcohol.
(2) LOWER BREWING COST: Second, session beer is inexpensive to produce, because big beers require more grain and yeast. Session beers can cut ingredient costs by half compared with a double-strength IPA.
(3) BETTER FOR BAR VIBE: Professionally run bars prefer customers drink regular alcohol “sessionable” beers (5.5 or less) rather than higher alcohol brews not just due to higher sales but also a better social experience that comes from x amount of alcohol consumed over a longer time period rather than x amount drank fast. This is not so much about the level of drunken patrons (you can get drunk on either type of beer) but that gradual drinking encourages sociability, groups, mixed sex groups and collateral purchases such as food and gaming.
(4) MORE DESIRABLE CUSTOMERS: Most customers will never have a taste for heavy craft beers, regardless of trendiness. New regular alcohol level (“lighter” crafts) give the bar a way to market something different that still have wide appeal, including women who are a minority of current craft drinkers.
(5) LOWER PRODUCT COST FOR BARS: Wholesale cost for premium mass market and even small brewery lower alcohol beers is lower to the bar than higher alcohol crafts. The new lower alcohol crafts I’d anticipate to come in at lower cost per keg/case corresponding to their lower production costs and what I believe will be a push to compete toe to toe with majors.
Thanks to Crain’s Chicago business for the report – read it here.
I nominate this Chicago joint opening next week (June 28) for best bar name of the month:
LAKEVIEW—The beer café Beermiscuous is poised to open on June 28, and will feature a rotating selection of more than 300 craft beers, half sourced from Chicago and the Midwest, and “beeristas” to serve them. It holds 99 guests on two floors. [thanks to Eater Chicago for this blurb]
They also have some very clever and fun wording on their web site so far including “beeristas,” their “Loose Affiliation” email/rewards club and this message to those seeking employment:
Thank you, Chicago, for the overwhelming interest in these positions. While we’ve now closed the application process, becoming a frequent customer once we open may lead to future opportunities.
Nice to see creativity – looks like a place I will definitely have to swing by for a pint. – TimTheBarGuy, Chicago
On April 7, I was privileged to be a judge for Samuel Adams “Brewing the American Dream” food and beverage small business competition. It was a great experience being on the “Shark Tank” style judging panel with Boston Brewing/Samuel Adams founder Jim Koch, who had many great insights during the competition and also at a speed coaching session where all the judges counseled F&B start-up founders. All night Jim had a beer in his hand, but never got the slightest bit “tipsy.” He wasn’t pounding but he had a few during the hours we were together.
Now thanks to Jim’s interview in Esquire I found the secret of how Jim can be in the beverage business, drinking regularly, and not get even close to wasted. His secret is a few spoonfuls of something you can buy at any grocery store. Jim reveals his secret below in Esquire Magazine!
Thank you Jim for an excellent evening supporting small businesses through Sam Adams “Brewing the American Dream” and for a great beer drinking tip!