News just in. Optimists trying to raise funds for a GF (only?) brewery. Good for them, I say. I'm all for optimism.
We all bandy around the term USP like we know what we're talking about, but let's examine this one.
UK's First Gluten Free Brewery. Well, bless them, they wouldn't be. Of course. There's lot's of breweries making GF beer. Ah, perhaps they mean that they would be the first brewery making nothing but GF beer. If you ignore the tiny brewery that's already doing it. And if they raise the funding to, you know, actually open a brewery. So, their (not quite unique) proposition is something like:
Buy our GF beer. At some point in the future we will make only GF beer. Unlike pretty much everyone else, we think.
Fine, but is this a selling proposition? Only time will tell of course, but I suspect most of their customers will be focusing on product rather than brand attributes. i.e. the gluten-freeness of the beer, not the brewery. Unless, as was pointed out to me on the twitter, "even tiny contamination could be an issue". Is that a real issue? Or is it just FUD? Or bullshit, even?
Course, nowadays the whole USP idea is old hat. In a dynamic market, differentiating yourself by "uniqueness" is problematic. Unless you've got well-protected intellectual property what's to stop someone doing the same thing? And if no-one does do the same thing, doesn't this imply they don't think it's much of a selling proposition?
I suppose the question becomes: Is a beer easier to sell by virtue of being made in a facility that only makes GF products? Or is it better to have GF products as part of a wider, established portfolio? Which plan would you lend money on?
This is Jon's personal "blog" - I work at an independent microbrewery (a small-scale, artisanal producer of “real ale” and other beery treats), based in the Furness area in Cumbria (or N. Lancs if you'd rather). Or a "Craft Brewer", if you like. We're known as "Stringers", or "Stringers Beer". I don't just make beer - I also sound-off in half-informed rants on a variety of subjects. Like here.