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JULY/AUGUST 2018

For the Craft Brewing Professional

‘Live the Life You Love’ Inside the success of JDub’s Brewing Company PLUS: The Craft Prophecy

Jeremy “JDub” Joerger Founder & CEO JDub’s Brewing Company


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VOL. 2 : ISSUE 4

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EDITOR’S NOTE Of men and beer INSIGHTS Industry News

CRAFT BRAND AND MARKETING

JULY/AUGUST 2018

‘ LIVE THE LIFE YOU LOVE’ Inside the success of JDub’s Brewing Company THE CRAFT PROPHECY Creating a compelling vision for your brand

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editor’s note

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Of men and beer

Bacon. I wasn’t sure that’s what my friend said when he poured me a sample of the new craft beer he couldn’t wait to pass around the room. It tasted like bacon. Not even one beer into my pre-cornhole drink ritual, I knew I wasn’t imagining things. And Todd wasn’t done. He had a fridge full of samples that he loaded into his car on his last beer run. Roasted Jalapeno Blueberry. Pizza (garlic, basil and tomato). Sweet potatoes. Prickly pears. Hold all of my calls. Okay, so none of this really surprises us in the craft beer market. It’s just always fascinating to see who comes up with what next. And when somebody pours you a cup of bacon, well, you remember that. That’s the craft beer world. That’s what explains the boom. According to the Brewers Association, growth for small and independent craft brewers has remained stable for the first half of 2018. Production volume for the craft segment increased five percent during the first half of this year. And, based on the number of active Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) licenses as of June 30, there were 6,655 active breweries in United States—up from 5,562 during a comparable timeframe last year. If you’re keeping score, the TTB estimates that 2,500 to 3,000 breweries are in the works. What does it all mean? You know the answer. And so do your customers. It means a slew of new offerings, and creative ways to package and market all things craft beer. It means seeing the best that the marketplace’s most creative brewers have to give us—be it bacon, pancakes, pizza, and on down the line. As Jeremy “JDub” Joerger, founder & CEO of JDub’s Brewing Company (and our cover story in this issue) tells us, it’s all about authenticity. Be yourself. Whatever the brand is to its owner(s), do and be who you are. The rest will follow. Now, if it’s okay with you, I’m going to head out to the backyard for a little cornhole practice. Who knows what tastes await me. But I can tell you this—I can’t wait to find out.

Michael J. Pallerino

It’s all about authenticity. Be yourself. Whatever the brand is to its owner(s), do and be who you are. The rest will follow.

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‘Hey,’ You should read this now If you’re looking to generate a little buzz for your latest craft beer, you might send an email to your community. So, what do you say? How do you get your audience’s attention? Boomerang decided to study 300,000 emails looking for the best way to get people to open those emails, and the findings were curious. The five words that garnered the most opens for at least 1,000 of the messages were Hey (64 percent), Hello (63.6 percent), Hi (62.7 percent), Greetings (57.2 percent) and Dear (56.5 percent). From there, everything dropped off. While the data doesn’t suggest tagging every email so informally, there are ways to incorporate these words into your strategy, including using the recipient’s name in the greeting (at least sometimes), and writing in an emotionally intelligent manner.

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The percent of all purchases by consumers that are driven by conversation, according to the “TotalSocial® Version 3.0” report by Engagement Labs and Northeastern University. Interestingly, almost half of those conversations take place face to face.

“Building one-to-one relationships with our customers continues to be a key enabler of our marketing strategy. Customers have more choices than ever before, so we have to ensure we’re meeting their needs in real time, ondemand and personally relevant ways.” – Mark Sciortino, VP of brand marketing strategy and planning at Walgreens, on the importance of personalization in today’s marketing initiatives

Book Rec

Build an A-Team: Play to Their Strengths

and Lead Them Up the Learning Curve Successful brands will tell you—there’s a secret to getting your team engaged and productive. Having a plan for developing all employees—no matter where they are on their personal learning curves—is critical. But what is it? Author Whitney Johnson says that better morale and higher performance happens through learning. In her 20-plus years coaching, investing and consulting, she has seen that employees

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JULY/AUGUST 2018

By Whitney Johnson

need continuous learning and fresh challenges to stay motivated. The best leaders know this. And, they know how to make it happen. The key is thoughtfully designing people’s jobs around the skills they have today as well as the skills they’ll need to be even more valuable tomorrow. That’s how your craft beer brand will stay competitive in an unpredictable, rapidly changing landscape. In Build an A-Team, Johnson explains how to identify what your employees already know and what they need to learn, how to design your team’s jobs to maximize engagement and learning, and how to applying a seven-step process for leading each person up their learning curve. It’s a book all craft beer brands can learn from.

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“It’s all about learning each brewery’s unique story and providing innovative, affordable, quality products to match.”

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CIRCLE NO. 51

TA L K B R A N D I N G & M O R E W I T H O U R D E D I C AT E D S A L E S M A N AG E R S C A L L (80 0) B E E R C U P T O D AY O R V I S I T TA P.B E E R C U P.C O M / C B A M - M A G T O L E A R N M O R E .


‘Live the Life You Love’

By Michael J. Pallerino

Inside the success of JDub’s Brewing Company

Their two-worlds collided, with Harris moving to Sarasota in October 2013 and instantly stepping into the fire. Their first beer was an exotic brew called “Honey Habanero Alt.” In their creative and collaborative approach of wild recipes and various versions of IPAs, Joerger and Harris eventually created its flagship beer, "Up Top! IPA." Today, JDub’s Brewing Company, the nickname bestowed upon Jeremy “JDub” by his teammates during his rugby playing days, is a growing Florida craft brewery machine, continually adding to its sales, distribution and employees numbers. And even though Harris is no longer with JDub's, the company still brews “Damn Good Wee Heavy” in his honor. The company's brewery acumen is headed by Evan Ekasala, who continues to operate under its core values of “Quality, Innovation and Culture.”

His first batch of home brew was horrible. Jeremy “JDub” Joerger wants to get that out information out up front. It was 2003. Stationed in Fort Lewis, Washington, Joerger and one of his buddies, clutching a copy of Charlie Papazian’s “The Joy of Home Brewing,” figured they could connect the dots and make a beer worth bragging about. It would be 10 years down the road, after leaving the service for civilian life and traveling the world, that Joerger would let the thoughts of life in the craft beer world sink in. It was his father-in-law who planted the seed of moving to Sarasota, Florida and starting a brewery. It turned out to be the time and place. Fast-forward to 2013 and the ad that Joerger placed in an industry forum looking for a head brewer. It prompted Tommy Harris to send a resume. Working as lead brewer for a large brewery in Vermont, Harris often dreamed of being able to put his personal stamp on the recipes he brewed.

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CBAM sat down with Joerger, founder and CEO, to get his thoughts on the JDub's brand and where the company is headed in the future.

Give us a snapshot of today's craft brew market from your perspective. I think it's definitely leveling out in terms of yearover-year growth. In my opinion, there's a lot of owners and breweries that are feeling the squeeze financially and otherwise, which likely means some closings over the next few years. But I believe quality and passion always prevail. And if the end game is to stick with this career path, individual craft brewing entrepreneurs can and will find a way to be successful and find a way to grow.

What trends are defining the space? Mergers and acquisitions. I think the consolidation of brands will continue. The big guys seem to have a good strategy—acquire "sexy" brands in geographically strategic regions, bring them under their umbrella and give them the infrastructure to get to a level they likely wouldn't have gotten before, at least not in as quick as time. This practice also lends itself to something else we're seeing right now—the disproportion of capacity versus production in the craft space. But it's not just the global brands doing the acquiring anymore. We're also seeing lots of larger, regional or national craft breweries acquiring smaller breweries who have a strong "local" presence in places we're the purchaser isn't as strong or sees the smaller brewery possessing a strong, maybe higher ceiling in that market. There's a good number of awesome, bigger breweries with a lot of tank space and bills. Adding a smaller brewery to help with that capacity is a sound strategy.

What is the JDub’s story from a brand perspective? The JDub's story really is my personal story—doing what you love rather than hanging onto a crappy job that pays the bills or gives you material things. In light of that, we're shifting from "Quality. Innovation. Culture." being the message we convey to "Live the Life You Love" and "Follow Your Dreams." It's about being your authentic self, and taking that and marketing it. But before all that begins, I have to say you have to have a great product in order to succeed. Without good liquid, you [ain’t] got [nothing]. The rest is just smoke and mirrors.

Walk us through your branding strategy. I want everything to be a little bit of each of these things: Fun (without coming across like a jack-ass), silly, artistic (while still being fun), have a beach vibe (without being cliché), colorful (while still being artistic) and professional (while still looking like we're having fun). I also want the brand and our packaging to demonstrate acceptance and inclusiveness, without appearing to pander to any group or cause. Another thing we do with most of our cans is keep the logo front and center, with beer name or styles surrounding or incorporating the logo. I want people to know it’s a JDub's beer first, followed by the style of beer. At the end of the day, I want the logo and packaging to be awesome, and know the "feel" of that particular style and what I think it represents.

Take “Passion Wheat,” for example. I couldn't define exactly what I wanted the can to look like, but I definitely knew what I was going for. I told our artist, "I want you to play Miami Sound Machine and think about South Beach while you're designing the label." I think he nailed it. In fact, we have just finished a refresh for that brand. I'm sending it to you to use as you see fit (see photo on page 123). This will be the first time the public has ever seen it. “So you got that goin' for ya.” (In the key of Bill Murray)

What's the biggest issue today related to the marketing/sales side of the craft beer business today? That's pretty easy—standing out in a crowded market. I've already said it starts with beer you're willing to put your name behind. I think right now it's hard to get noticed with the number of good breweries

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For example, I don't play country music in my taproom. Now don't get me wrong, I love me some Waylon Jennings, but JDub's doesn't represent that. JDub's feel and personality is more in line with SKA, punk, maybe some old school hip hop. That's what we have playing when guests walk through our taproom doors.

What is the one thing every craft beer brand should be doing in the way of marketing? Why should I tell them? Let them figure it out on their own. Okay, just joking there. As I said before, I'd tell you to be yourself, treat the brand like its own entity and focus everything surrounding the brand on those things that complement the brand's own soul.

What do you see as some of your biggest opportunities moving ahead? and beers increasing every day— probably harder than ever before. Also, an issue I see that the consumer would usually never notice is the importance of picking the right distributor partner, and once you've done that, keeping mind share. One of my distributors has roughly 100 breweries in their portfolio and staying significant can be tough, to say the least. And this isn't meant to throw distributors under the bus—I can't imagine how hard it is to have to try to represent and please so many breweries.

What is the secret to creating a branding story that consumers can buy in to?

Taprooms are huge for craft brewers. They give us the instant capital, especially during the early days needed to keep the ingredients coming and the lights on.

I think first and foremost is authenticity. You have to be yourself. That's one of the things I've loved about this industry since my involvement began and ended with a dream and a notepad. Also, whatever the brand "is" to the owner(s), they need to make sure everything they do in terms of marketing sticks within the confines of their brands' own soul— and yes, I believe my brand has a soul.

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We've got statewide distribution in Publix. I'm thrilled about that. More important, the beers are doing extremely well. I want to expand into Georgia in the not-too-distant future and hopefully penetrate more Publix and Kroger locations, if they'll have us.

What's the biggest item on your to-do list right now? Making the transition from Brew Hub to our new contract partner. We've outgrown our space and I don't want to go the banking route to expand. As such, we decided to partner with Brew Hub in 2015. The partnership allowed me to grow the brand in the off-premise and focus on draft only at the brewery on 1215 Mango. Fast-forward to today and we’re wrapping up our threeyear contract with Brew Hub and moving to a new contract partner. I'm thrilled about this next chapter, but it's extremely labor intensive and scary at the same time.

How do you feel about collaborations with other brewers? I love them. It's been a minute since we did one, but I've always thought they are another wonderful example of what makes our industry so unique and awesome. We work together with another brewery, AKA

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business. We work together to create a special product, hang out on the brew day and market each other's brand. I just love that about craft beer—so many of us willing to welcome and promote each other.

Does music and/or other arts play a role in your overall brand strategies? Definitely. I talked about SKA being a music that lends itself to the brand. This past anniversary bash, "Dub Fest," we brought in SKA icon, "Less Than Jake" to close the show.

The music was perfect for our feel and what is predominately played in the taproom. As far as other arts go, Sarasota is known for its art scene, but I feel the stuff catered to the millionaires gets the most notoriety. We've got some phenomenal artists here, many of them attending or graduates from Ringling Art College just up the road and are still under the radar. We've tried to show them off by hosting a slew of art shows and art-centric events over the years. Also, my artists, all of them, live locally. I have a handful of talented folks, each I feel with their own

artistic strengths who I can call on when an idea for a design pops into my head. Oftentimes, it's me. Here's what I'm thinking, now knock it out of the park." They know JDub's now and can execute designs that fit into the personality, look and feel of the brand.

Your thoughts on how taprooms fit into branding and market-building? Taprooms are huge for craft brewers. They give us the instant capital, especially during the early days needed to keep the ingredients coming and the lights on. Also, taprooms provide us instant feedback from consumers on the beers we offer. They're also strategic in that they give the visitor a first-hand look at what your business and brand is all about. This is where I think authenticity and catering everything around your brand's individual personality is important in the taproom. I heard a good saying once, "Just because something is cool, doesn't mean you should do it." At JDub's and in our taproom, this means everything there must be "JDub's," and if it doesn't seem to have a "JDub's" vibe, it doesn't go in the taproom or any other public offering for that matter. For example, I love the logo-branded barrels you see on the walls a lot in craft. We don't have those because I don't feel the rustic look/feel goes with our bright, fun, "JDub's" feel. Like I said, I love them, but it's just not JDub's.

Whatever the brand “is” to the owner(s), they need to make sure everything they do in terms of marketing stick within the confines of their brands’ own soul.

What’s the most rewarding part of your job? Giving back. We do a lot of charity work. I love when I feel we do something altruistic that goes unnoticed. Reminds me that I’m in it for the right reasons and helping others is such a wonderful feeling.

What was the best advice you ever received? Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should.

What’s the best thing a customer ever said to you? Jeremy “JDub” Joerger, founder and CEO of JDub’s Brewing Company

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Oh man, that’s a tough one. Anytime someone says, “This is my (their) favorite...” It fills me with humility and a sense of accomplishment.” Then, I get back to whatever is stressing me at the moment and forget what they said.

JULY/AUGUST 2018

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MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS www.communicatorsintl.com | info@communicatorsintl.com CIRCLE NO. 53


branding

By Eric Balinski

By Eric Balinski

The Craft Prophecy Creating a compelling vision for your brand “If you are working on something exciting that you really care about, you don’t have to be pushed. The vision pulls you.” – Steve Jobs

The craft-made trend—from beer brewing to distilling spirits to farm—to-table food has swept across America. The connotation of “craft” signifies a special handling and care of the product’s origins, ingredients and final creation. It implies uniqueness, originality, not of mass production.

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And like the early American pioneers, this trend is driven by enlightened attitudes, in this case about what we put into our bodies, how it is produced and transported to us. Somewhere right now a craft producer is creating its vision of how to serve this trend. Less than

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My hunch is few craft producers have a strong vision. Most have mission statements focused on making good products and growing sales. And that’s fine, but it is not a vision. A compelling vision is hard to develop because it needs to look to the future and not be dependent on your products. Rather a vision must be based upon what you do for people and how it improves people’s well-being. A powerful vision transcends the product and looks to create a future of innovation with both products and the new experiences for the people it intends to improve. No matter how many new beers, spirits, foods or other craft products are invented; the future outcome on people’s lives is what matters with a vision.

likely, however, is whether it is used to drive the company forward. If you're one of the lucky craft makers who have a compelling vision and each person is inspired and motivated by it every day in your organization, you are an exceptional company with a meaningful vision.

Recently, I attended the Food & Wine Festival at Crystal Springs Resort in Sussex County, New Jersey, featuring some of the country’s top chefs, vineyards, wineries and distillers. There I came to the table of Brick Farm Tavern. The sample was delicious, but the story behind it is what made me ask Chef Greg Vassos to have a conversation about the place. A few weeks later I arrived at the 800-plus acre Double Brook Farm in Central New Jersey to meet Vassos and the owner, Jon McConaughy, to get the history behind what was happening there. You see, this place not only has an incredible restaurant, but raises virtually all its own food, including livestock.

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Also on site are a craft brewery, Troon, and a distillery, Sourland Mountain Spirits. Just down the road in the center of Hopewell is Brick Farm Market, which has a butcher shop, bakery, cheese shop, prepared foods and desserts. Most goods are produced on Double Brook Farm or sourced locally with Double Brook nurturing an entire

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eco-system of craft products for one’s palate. What fascinated me most was the vision behind the entire operation and how a vision can provide the energy to this or any craft business. The answer revealed itself while touring Brick Farm/Double Brook with McConaughy and Vassos. McConaughy shared that the impetus for Brick

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This singular notion became the seed to a bigger vision that emerged in the years ahead. While it may sound simple to grow your own food, the more one actually tries to do it at this level, the complexity of achieving it reveals itself. It requires intricate understanding of plants, animals, the soil, water, equipment, and what can be grown, harvested, consumed and likely stored over the course of each year. With each successive year’s learning the McConaughys’ vision expanded. Today, he explains, “We are working toward creating a sustainable local MayJune-2018.pdf 1 5/24/18 11:59 AM

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Farm started after he and his wife, Robin, bought the farm to become, well farmers, a rather significant change from the corporate world they built their careers in. Their initial vision was quite humble, too. Becoming farmers would allow their family to know exactly what they ate because they intended to grow or raise virtually everything they ate. CIRCLE NO. 54

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food system to support the community and to be supported by the community, to treat and raise the animals we use for food humanly and to help heal the environment. The goal is not to grow beyond our community, but show that decentralization of our food system has massive benefits.” In other words, their vision is to teach, demonstrate and serve as a role model for others to live better and create a healthier planet.

Getting to know sustainability This idea of sustainable farming is beyond my expertise, so I reached out to an old friend, Bob Plewa, who from the time I met him years ago in a Fortune 50 company, has dreamed of doing what the McConaughys’ are doing in farming. Plewa, now managing director at Signature One, described it this way, “The

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While it may sound simple to grow your own food, the more one actually tries to do it at this level, the complexity of achieving it reveals itself.

JULY/AUGUST 2018

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embodiment of the concept of sustainable farming means living in harmony with our fellow man, animals, plants, trees, water and everything we know. It is an enlightened view about collaboration, community, spirituality and, ultimately to learn to live in harmony, peace and love.” As such, creating a visionary craft business requires foresight and a plan for everything that happens before and after eating or drinking. This is a much bigger challenge then flavors and ingre-

dients. For example, Double Brook Farm has one of only two U.S. Department of Agriculture certified on-premises slaughter facilities in the country. This enables Double Brook to slaughter their livestock on a regular basis to meet their needs, all without transporting or stressing their livestock. As I witnessed, livestock peacefully graze in an area that allows them to walk to the slaughterhouse without fear or stress caused when shipped on a trailer to an off-premise slaughterhouse. Another element of the vision is Brick Farm Tavern, a farm-to-table restaurant located adjacent to the farm. The relationship between people and food has always inspired Chef Vassos’ culinary style. He developed a simple vision to create dishes using the finest, freshest ingredients sourced as locally, sustainably and

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ethically as possible. “Most farmto-table restaurants can serve no more than 25 percent from local sources,” he says, “whereas 90 percent of what’s sold in the Brick Farm Tavern and Market will originate on Double Brook.” For guests of the Farm, Market, or the Tavern, the vision is the same. "People can see and experience for themselves how and where it was raised as well understand what makes what we do better for them and the community," McConaughy says. Virtually everything produced has a place in their ecosystem, whether it becomes fertilizer, animal feed, pet chews or tanned skins in the Market, with as little as possible ending up as waste. Ultimately, this approach recognizes and respects the environment, plants, animals and the people who benefit. Yes, who does benefits from this? Jon shared further, “We don’t have one particular target group; some people come because of our focus on community, some because the food is healthier, some because it is human, some because it is environmentally friendly and some because it tastes great. The nice thing about our farming and our food is we get all the benefits as a package deal, we don’t need to focus on them individually.” All craft producers have an imaginative view about their product—its flavor, style, ingredients, along with their sense of how customers will perceive and enjoy it. Still, perhaps expanding your view to transcend the product itself will help you to achieve a more worthy vision. “Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart.” — Carl Jung.

A powerful vision transcends the product and looks to create a future of innovation with both products and the new experiences for the people it intends to improve.

JULY/AUGUST 2018

Eric Balinski is the owner of Synection, LLC, which is a strategy and growth consultancy firm. For more information, visit: synection.com.

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Profile for BOC design Inc

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