Page 1


The Voice of Craft Brands

Craft-ness on the edge of town How Cypress Brewing is taking the Great State of New Jersey by storm

Cypress Brewing: Charles Backmann, Bill Lutz and Jason Kijowski



VOL. 4 : ISSUE 9 : NOVEMBER 2020

CRAFT-NESS ON THE EDGE OF TOWN How Cypress Brewing is taking the Great State of New Jersey by storm

IN EVERY ISSUE: 3 EDITOR’S NOTE The virus, the beer, the aftermath... 4  INSIGHTS Industry News

12 2


NO VACCINE FOR THAT... 4 “musts” for leading your company through times of change




NEW DAY DAWNING 3 ways to evolve your brand messaging for the new normal

editor’s note


The virus, the beer, the aftermath...

The virus is still here. It’s out there in places we know and places we don’t. If we let our guard down for a moment, forget that it’s supposed to be an all-consuming factor in the way we live, work and play right now, and it will remind us. The virus is not something that I have cared to focus on in any of the writing I do. Sure, I’ve proudly covered the stories of the people, places and brands that have done heroes work in making the best of really trying circumstances. Yet, as we head to the end of a year everyone wants desperately to move on from, I thought it might be time to at least give the devil its due, so to speak. At this moment, as we wrap up another issue, I thought it might be time. Here, in the Atlanta suburbs I call home, most of the breweries that define the Southeast’s craft beer scene are surviving the best they can. They did what all great entrepreneurs do when their backs are forced against the wall—adapt. Their taprooms became outdoor-seating type venues. They offered curbside pickup options. They partnered with local restaurants. But now winter is here. And the virus doesn’t particularly care that in many parts of the country it’s too cold for outdoor seating. And in other states, some have decided that regardless of how they can accommodate what little people they can serve, it’s just not safe.

Michael J. Pallerino

According to the Brewers Association, 81% of its members say they are “very confident” about their ability to still be in business by the end of 2020. And so here we are trying to figure out how to do the impossible again. But here’s the thing about the craft beer community—it is resilient. According to the Brewers Association, 81% of its members say they are “very confident” about their ability to still be in business by the end of 2020. Asked whether they would be around a year from now, 54% said they would. Overall, 22%—or more than one if five of all craft brewers (and there are 8,300 currently in operation around the country)—don’t believe they’ll be in business by the end of 2021. What do we do? What can we do? No industry, especially ones depended on people engaging with people, is immune to the havoc that this pandemic has wrought on our psyche. As we move forward, we will continue to profile the people who not only are doing what they love and doing it well, but also providing so many of us with one of the things we love the most. Beer? Yes. But also passion. That’s what we all strive to achieve. Here’s to all of you. Here’s to the resilience each of you continue to find. Here’s to the craft spirit way of life.




Raise a glass... “The class is designed to help students understand not only the science behind beer making but also the business side of the industry, from branding and marketing to distribution and energy usage.” — Joe Askren, instructor at the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management in University of South Florida’s Muma College of Business, on a new course that teaches students about the world of craft beer

“Even if you don’t like beer, but want to explore beer, there will be something to explore your tastes.” — Bobby Congdon, co-founder of Kite Hill Brewing Company, on what people can expect from Clemson, South Carolina’s first craft brewery

“Rules are Good, Change Them,’ really spoke to me. To me, it meant you can appreciate the traditions that come before you, but it’s our duty to challenge them and attempt to make them better.” — Head distiller Grant McCracken on one of the taglines that defines Bellevue, Kentucky craft whiskey maker New Riff





Donut Stop Believing It’s a donut; it’s a beer. Would you believe both? What’s chocolate covered, vanilla creamed and to die for? If you’ve ever been to a Wesco’s gas station in Michigan, you are screaming, “A Long Johns.” That’s right—with a twist. Pigeon Hill Brewing Company in Muskegon teamed with Michigan-based Wesco on Donut Stop Believing, an ale that’s inspired by the gas station chain’s widely popular treat. Released in November, the beer actually tastes like a Long John. Right now, because who doesn’t want to drink their donut, the top two sellers are Oatmeal Creme Pie brown ale and Salted Caramel Porter. If you’re on the hunt for the treat, Wesco is a family-owned and operated convenience store chain that operates 54 convenience locations throughout west and mid Michigan.

Bring on 2021 9 social media trends you need to know On your mark, get set, raise your glass to toast the end of 2020. As we usher everything and anything to do with this year, remember how much time you and your customers spent on social media. Lots and lots, right? So, as we hopefully inch a little closer back to normalcy, the one constant is social media. To help you catch the vibe for what’s ahead, here are 9 trends from Hubspot and Talkwalker’s “Social Media Trends Report”: 1. Brands will continue to take a less is more posting approach 2. Content value will beat production quality 3. Conversational marketing will change its tone 4. Consumers will crave snackable content

5. Video will continue to take center stage 6. More brands will go live 7. Social media platforms could double as shopping channels 8. Users will embrace gaming and VR 9. Authenticity will be vital

Book Rec

How I Built This:

The Unexpected Paths to Success from the World’s Most Inspiring Entrepreneurs By Guy Raz

In this NPR podcast turned best-selling book, Guy Raz’ “How I Built This” dishes a series of priceless insights and inspiration from some of the world’s top entrepreneurs on how to start, launch and build a successful venture. You want the intel, Raz has it here for you. A soccer player on the New Zealand national team notices all the unused wool his country produces and figures out a way to turn them into shoes (Allbirds). A former Buddhist monk decides the best way to spread his mindfulness teachings is through an app (Headspace). And the list goes on. In all, the award-winning journalist chats with 200-plus highly successful entrepreneurs, giving endearing insights into their amazing stories of discovery. The book is a must-read for craft brewers looking to change the world.



The Voice of Craft Brands

Craft-ness on the edge of town How Cypress Brewing is taking the Great State of New Jersey by storm





By Michael J. Pallerino

It started as a Sunday morning hobby. What happened next has greatly exceeded the expectations that Bill Lutz, Jason Kijowski and Charles Backmann ever had. That hobby, which involved lots of mixing and matching of recipe ingredients, turned into a favorite among the New Jersey craft beer crowd. Today, Cypress Brewing, the name the trio gave their hobby-turned-business, is five years strong and growing—pandemic and all. At first, Lutz, Kijowski and Backmann began toying with various amounts of hops and malts for flavor, eventually turning the mix into a beer that grabbed your attention. Interestingly enough, their taste testers—Charles Backmann, Sr. and Ken Kijowski, two of their dads—were so impressed that they implored them to take the leap. Going from the kitchen to a larger facility in their hometown of Edison, New Jersey, the journey began. Designing their own tap room and enlisting the help of family, friends and neighbors, Cypress Brewing—the 20 BBL microbrewery—came into full view. We sat down with co-founder Charles Backmann to get his insights into the brand’s journey, the art of dealing in today’s pandemic-induced landscape and what the future holds.

What are some of the adjustments you made to your business model based on current events? We’ve been forced to close our indoor tasting room, and move to an entirely outdoor makeshift beer garden—style service area. We’ve also been forced to close a portion of our parking lot in order to accommodate this service area.

What kind of conversations are you having with your customers?

What’s the best piece of advice you can offer on how to deal with this? Prepare to enforce the rules to those who do not wish to follow the new guidelines. Prepare to remove those who insist that they will not comply. Expect harsh feedback, both personally and on social media, from those who refuse.

Give us a snapshot of today’s craft spirits market from your perspective. The market is currently flooded. There are nearly double the number of craft breweries in New Jersey as there were when we opened five years ago. Expect substantial competition.

What’s likely to happen next? We’re hoping that restrictions will be relaxed to the point where we can reopen for indoor service, but due to the

We’ve locally begun distribution to other states and have found much success in markets that are underserved as compared to the Garden State.

We’ve asked that all customers limit their party size to eight patrons. We’ve also made sure that all tables are a minimum of 6 feet from one another. All patrons also are required to wear protective face coverings when not seated. In addition, access to our restrooms is limited to one person at a time.

What role should a brand play in being a leader in a distressed market? Our brand demonstrates a large level of care and individual attention to detail due to our small size and craft-focused products. We’ve extended that mindset to our customers during this time.



Cypress Brewing head department

Our brand demonstrates a large level of care and individual attention to detail, due to our small size and craft-focused products. We’ve extended that mindset to our customers during this time. rising number of COVID-19 cases in New Jersey, we unfortunately expect that this will not be the case for the foreseeable future. We expect to be forced to remain outdoors for the time being.

What trends are defining the space? Hazy IPAs.

What is your story from a brand perspective? We are a small group of friends who formed from a homebrew club almost a decade ago. The name and branding comes from the place where we homebrewed, Cypress Drive.

Walk us through your branding strategy. We have never been guided by an external brand manager. All branding has come from within, and has honestly changed and adapted several times since we opened. That includes a change in our actual logo, changes in the layout and artwork of our products, and changes in our social media presence. Developing a clear and cohesive brand strategy has been one of our biggest points of contention this year.

What’s the biggest issue today related to the marketing/sales side of the business? Flooded markets. There are many distributing beer brands in New Jersey now, and all of them are competing for shelf space. Receiving orders from customers is far more difficult now than it was five years ago, as product simply doesn’t move as fast as it used to with so many options available.





Cypress Brewing head department

What’s the secret to creating a branding story that consumers can buy in to? Pick something and stick with it. Have a story, develop a cohesive product look and logo from Day 1, and look forward and ask yourself if there’s anything that may not age well—flash in the pan trends, artwork, etc.

What’s the one thing every craft beer brand should do in the way of marketing? Follow and post social media, including the three biggest in our opinion, Instagram for product photos, Facebook for event announcements, drop lists and products releases, and Untappd, for product feedback and check-ins.

What do you see as some of your biggest opportunities moving ahead? Expansion out of New Jersey. We’ve locally begun distribution to other states and have found much success in markets that are underserved, as compared to the Garden State.

What’s the biggest item on your to-do list right now? Pay down debt. Isn’t that on everyone’s to-do list?

Sitting down with … Charles Backmann, owner/brewer, Cypress Brewing Company What’s the most rewarding part of your job?

What was the best advice you ever received?

Finding someone who knows our product and mentions it without us mentioning it first.

Build your own bottle filler; you’ll save thousands. That was five years ago, and we’re still using it.

What’s the best thing a customer ever said to you?

What’s your favorite brand story?

“This is easily the best Imperial Stout I’ve ever had, and I have more than 5,000 Untappd check-ins for Stouts alone.”




A good friend of ours gave us a suggestion to change one of our labels. We liked the idea so much that we put a thank you note on every can that went out. You have to look for it.



By Jason V. Barger

No vaccine for that...

4 “musts” for leading your company through times of change There is no magic pill, button or wand that you can wave to magically fix or treat the ails of your culture these days. We live in an instant gratification world where everyone wants things to change for the better immediately. They want the negativity, dysfunction and toxic elements of their organization gone overnight. But when it comes to your company culture, there is no vaccine. But developing people and culture is not a drive-thru pharmacy. It takes time. It’s a process. It requires intentional rehab and development of how you show up as leaders and the culture you create with those around you. It takes commitment, discipline and focus. Culture is dynamic, which means it’s being shaped moment by moment, every single day by the way you think, act and





Culture is dynamic, which means it’s being shaped moment by moment, every single day by the way you think, act and interact.

interact. Every member of your cultural ecosystem impacts the culture each moment, and adds or detracts from the culture with their thoughts, actions and interactions. The best leaders know the world is changing quickly and where they can disengage, disconnect, and become disillusioned or even disgruntled. They must have a proactive strategy to align the minds and hearts of their people. The best team cultures are intentionally designed and led along the culture-shaping process. It’s not reactionary, it’s proactive. The best team cultures proactively teach, practice, rehab and work on developing the mindsets and behaviors throughout their ecosystem. The four “musts” for leading your culture through times of change, include:

1. Name It You must be able to name what’s working and what isn’t working within your culture. It’s not a time to blow smoke or make excuses. The best teams have the ability to be honest with one another and name the very best of their culture. They can spot the troubling areas. Only after you can name the current state of your culture are you able to move the culture forward.

2. Define It If you cannot describe the culture you’re trying to create in the future, don’t be surprised when it doesn’t exist. Language drives behavior. This is why the most successful and compelling teams and cultures have values that are clearly defined and linked to action and behavior. They have a vision for the future culture. They want to create and clearly define the values they believe will

guide them in that direction. Values become a compass for their journey, not a poster on the wall.

3. Plan It The word culture gets thrown around very loosely by many leaders and within some organizations. It becomes just talk—vague words that don’t line up with action. The best leaders and organizations realize they need a cultural strategy and plan of attack. Culture is not an “add on” to the work you do, it’s everything, so make your plan.

4. Anchor It Teams and organizations that lead significant culture change know they must anchor the values of their culture in everything they do. The vision they have for the future and the values that will guide them there become a living and breathing element for the ways in which they hire, onboard, develop emerging leaders, do performance evaluations, lead meetings and raise the bar on leadership throughout every level. So, is your culture waiting for a magic vaccine? Or, are you proactively rehabbing the culture you want? The best cultures don’t just magically happen. They are grown, developed, cultivated and led with intentionality. The process for developing high-performing and engaged cultures never stops and the best leaders, teams and organizations are committed to the continuous journey of development, vision, communication, engagement, authenticity and action. The best leaders invest in their cultures and realize the health of the organization is an ongoing process that never stops. Where do you stand?

Jason V. Barger is the globally celebrated author of “Thermostat Cultures, ReMember and Step Back from the Baggage Claim” as well as the host of The Thermostat podcast. As founder of Step Back Leadership Consulting, he is a coveted keynote speaker, leadership coach and organizational consultant. For more information, visit JasonVBarger.com.




By Katie Lundin

New day dawning 3 ways to evolve your brand messaging for the new normal

If your business is communicating in the same way it did before the COVID-19 pandemic started, chances are your brand messaging will not resonate the way it once did. Brand messaging refers to your brand’s communications on your website, on social networks and in your marketing campaigns. Whether you’re starting a new business or trying to grow an existing business, how you communicate impacts whether you build and grow a sustainable business. Here are three insights to help evolve your brand messaging for the new normal:



1. Audit messaging for topics that no longer apply If you’re writing a business plan for a business you plan to launch, you can build strategies for the new normal and differentiate from entrenched businesses that have failed to evolve their messaging.



If you run an existing business, you must assess how the postCOVID-19 world impacts your business. Every business must adapt and evolve in order to survive and thrive. In fact, just in 2020 alone, a record 46 companies with at least $1 billion in assets have filed for

Chapter 11 bankruptcy. So many aspects of daily life have changed since the coronavirus entered our lives. Your brand messaging for the new normal must reflect these changes. Here are a few obvious topics that may create friction with customers and prospects: > Large social gatherings > Physical interactions between people outside of their homes > Coughing or sneezing without covering the face > Face-touching > Crowded restaurants, offices or stores Does your legacy communication include recommendations or language that no longer apply? Do the photos or videos on your website or those you share on social networks depict behavior that’s no longer appropriate? Audit your current messaging and cull out any references to group events that can no longer be attended, and activities or personal practices that are no longer safe. Avoid making statements that are out of touch with our current reality or you’ll look clueless (at best) or callous (at worst).

2. Authenticity is more important than ever Authentic business interactions have been in demand for some time. This trend of prioritizing honesty and human connection has grown even more important as businesses adapt to the new normal. We currently are facing more large-scale, shared uncertainty than most people have experienced since the last world war. The pandemic has attacked multiple fronts—health, social interaction, finance, education, labor, and more. Its impact is hard to avoid.

Uncertainty and anxiety make people yearn for stability—for people and brands they can trust. And authentic human-driven business practices build trust. They reassure people that there’s a port in the storm. As you update your marketing strategy, consider your brand and what it stands for. Then look for ways to engage with your audience over your shared common ground. Social media marketing is a great channel for these kinds of more intimate interactions. And, as you craft every new brand message, speak from a place of authenticity. Be honest about what your company is facing. Be open about the values that drive your business.

key elements that will complement and help you communicate your brand messaging. This is sometimes called the brand messaging framework and it contains these elements: > Brand promise — what you actually do. > Brand positioning statement — how you differentiate in the marketplace. > Target audience — conduct market research and assess your target audience. Focus on their pain, their needs and their desires. > Mission — why does your company exist, and what values are essential?

The brands that are flexible and evolve their brand messaging to adapt to the pandemic and beyond, are the ones that will succeed. And, above all, be real. For example, if you’re trying to create value based on the way you price your products or services, it’s perfectly fine to leverage marketing psychology and principles like the decoy effect to persuade people to buy specific products or services. But, your pricing should be real and authentic. Don’t just create random products or service packages that feel inauthentic or contrived. People will notice.

3. Create consistent, strategy-driven messaging In order to ensure that your brand messaging is effective, you should build a strategy and define certain

> Voice — knowing your brand’s personality will help you to develop your brand voice and tone of voice. > Elevator pitch — how would you describe your brand in one sentence? How about in one minute? > Your unique selling proposition (USP) — what your business stands for. For example, Apple’s USP is found in “user experience:” Everything they do is meant to have the user at its core. The brands that are flexible and evolve their brand messaging to adapt to the pandemic and beyond, are the ones that will succeed. How are you evolving your brand messaging?

Katie Lundin is a marketing and branding specialist at crowdspring, one of the world’s leading marketplaces for crowdsourced logo design, web design, graphic design, product design and company naming services. She regularly writes about entrepreneurship, small business and design on crowdspring’s award-winning small business blog.



It’s easier to sell during a pandemic if everyone on your staff is selling Every one of your employees, from the brewmaster to the cellar workers, can and should be selling for your craft brewery. Does your team know how to spot an opportunity to sell? Do they know what to say when the opportunity presents itself? In the Wall Street Journal best-selling business book Every Job Is a Sales Job, Dr. Cindy—also known as the First Lady of Sales—motivates your entire team, even non-sales employees, to bring in new business and nurture the customers you already have.

Visit www.DrCindy.com and get Every Job Is a Sales Job for your employees today. Use promo code CRAFT to get a special bonus with purchase. To contact Dr. Cindy for a personal consultation, visit www.OrangeLeafConsulting.com.

Dr. Cindy McGovern

Profile for BOC design Inc

CBAM Nov 20  

CBAM Nov 20