Sunday, October 03, 2010

it's about the beer

"Of course, with you it's more about the beer, isn't it?" That's what a fellow brewer said to me a while ago. Meaning that they're happy to put the business of the business first. Not that their beer's bad, you understand, but I guess they see it as the means to an end.

Another brewery I know of, been going for more than 10 years now, seems to be doing pretty well. They get their beers out and about, have a couple of hundred fairly regular outlets, yet are pretty well known for their quality issues. Even at their best, some publicans won't touch it - "Like homebrew" - which is rather unfair on homebrewers, I've had some lovely homebrew, but I think I know what he means.

A pub I know of (not a local one), well-run and successful (so they must be pretty businesslike) has recently got themselves a little brew plant. Next time I get the chance I must nip in and try their beers in-house. I'd like to suggest that you look out for their stuff, but since a high proportion of what they've sent into trade is infected and undrinkable, I can't.

Now, take us; Our credit control is OK, the duty and VAT returns are done on time, we do watch the cash-flow, and we're generally pretty good on the old production planning and stock control, but I have to admit that we're not really very good at the marketing thing. We're not particularly "proactive" about developing new business, or bigging up our image. There's only two of us - I suppose we could hire someone to fill the skill gap, but since we went into this to be free, we're worried that being employers would be too stressful and diverting.

The Beer? We don't get it right all the time. We've come up with beers that not everyone likes. We've been let down by poor quality ingredients (we don't have the facilities or experience to always catch them). We've made mistakes - fewer nowadays.

We make some excellent beer. Simple as that. Beer that's at least as good as anything anyone else I know is making. "Almost beautiful" a (drunk) man in a pub said, and made to punch me for making him say something so soft. But we're failing you by not getting it into your glass, because we're not very good at selling. Sorry about that.

But you know, I'm almost proud of that, because for us it is "more about the beer".


HardKnott Dave said...

There are a lot of points here that I can relate to. Being an employer is very stressful, I know, I've been there and done that.

Equally, a two man band will inevitably have some things that are lacking in their skills portfolio.

Perhaps little breweries can help each other out. For instance, I don't mind shouting very loudly about Hop Priest, it's a fine beer that, almost beautiful in fact.

StringersBeer said...

Very kind of you to say so. I'm sure you're right about cooperation - must talk about bottling...