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For the Craft Brewing Professional

James Watt co-founder Brewdog

Live. Love. Hops. Inside Brewdog’s strategy to revolutionize the craft beer experience

PLUS: The new game board for craft beer Is it the new product or new experience?


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A Division of CIRCLE NO. 49

VOL. 1 : ISSUE 2


MAY/JUNE 2 3 4 6

EDITOR’S NOTE Dream big, bet big, leave it all on the field INSIGHTS Industry News BRANDING The real meaning behind what customers tell you (or don’t) STRATEGIC THINKING Inside the new game board for craft beer

10 14 20 21

LIVE. LOVE. HOPS. Inside Brewdog’s strategy to revolutionize the craft beer experience ERROR OF CREATION Is it the new product or new experience? EVENTS Texas Craft Brewers METAL TACKERS How to get creative with your brand



editor’s note

Dream big, bet big, leave it all on the field

Michael J. Pallerino


There are a lot of lessons to be learned from the entrepreneurs who put everything on the line to walk through the fire that too many others fear.



Nearly 20 years after Kevin Plank started making T-shirts in his grandmother’s Georgetown basement, his entrepreneurial legacy is one for the ages. Craft brewers take note. There are lots of takeovers from an entrepreneur who defied all odds when he decided he would take on the big boys at a game (sports performance apparel) they already had a stake in. Sports performance apparel, beer, does it really matter what it is? What matters is how you tell the story of your brand. What matters is how your customers view what you do, how you do it and why. Here’s a nugget from Plank’s book of beating the big boys at their own game. One of Plank’s tenets for running his company revolves around three statements.: “This is what I heard.” “This is what I think.” “This is what we’re going to do.” The founder and CEO of Under Armour encourages all of his people to use this approach in tackling their responsibilities. Plank’s strategy is about making sure people’s voices are heard. Did I hear you? Did I understand your meaning? And then, he says, clarity. Everyone must have a voice, and everyone deserves clarity. These are the tenants of leadership and culture that increase performance, satisfaction and speed. Today, in case you haven’t noticed, Under Armour has leapfrogged every single one of its competitors, including Nike, whose revered Swoosh once dominated the sports apparel, performance and footwear market. The secret lies in betting big. Sometimes you win; sometimes you lose. And while Plank will admit he doesn’t always have all of the answers, the key is giving it everything you have. As Plank says, “I don’t have to be right. I just want to win.” It doesn’t have to be his idea. He just wants the best idea. And then his team will bring it to life. There are a lot of lessons to be learned from the entrepreneurs who put everything on the line to walk through the fire that too many others fear. “We must protect this house.” That’s the slogan Plank and company built their reputation on. I remember sitting with Plank in a trade show booth in Atlanta during the early years of his company. He spoke openly and honestly about his mission to make a name for his brand in the then highly competitive sports apparel performance market. Back then; he said all he needed was time and patience for his vision to play out. It worked. And in a time when craft beer is all the rage, it just might for you, too.




Return to sender Before you hit send on that email, here's a stat to know. Thirteen-percent of business emails are deleted by their recipients without being read, according to Return Path's "The Hidden Metrics of Email Deliverability" report. Overall, 22 percent of emails are read (opened, even if all images don't load). The remainder are deleted immediately, filtered into spam folders, ignored or never reached their intended recipients.

Book Rec The Power of Little Ideas: A Low-Risk, High-Reward Approach to Innovation By David Robertson To survive, companies must move beyond incremental, sustaining innovation and invest in some form of radical innovation. That’s what conventional wisdom says. “Disrupt yourself or be disrupted.” In “The Power of Little Ideas,” authors David Robertson argues there’s a “third way” that is neither sustaining nor disruptive. This low-risk, high-reward strategy is an approach to innovation that all company leaders should understand so that they recognize it when their competitors practice it, and apply it when it will give them a competitive advantage. Robertson provides illustrations of some well-known companies, including CarMax, GoPro, LEGO, Gatorade, Disney, and others, use this approach to stave off competitive threats and achieve great success. He outlines the organizational practices that unintentionally torpedo this approach to innovation in many companies and shows how organizations can overcome those challenges. For leaders in the craft brew marketplace seeking strategies for sustained innovation, “The Power of Little Ideas” provides a logical, organic and enduring third way to innovate.


The percent of consumers who say they want brands to be honest in their social media posts, according to “The Q2 2017 Sprout Social Index.” The report also shows that consumers want brand to be helpful (78 percent), funny (72 percent), trendy (43 percent) and politically correct (39%). Interestingly. 39 percent say they want their brands to be more snarky. That’s one to raise a glass to.

They second that emotion What grabs your consumers' attention? What makes them want to be a part of your brand? According to CustomerThermometer's "Connecting with Companies" report, 65 percent say they emotionally connect with a brand that makes them feel like it cares about people like themselves. The report, based on data from a survey of 1,000 adults in the United States, also says that 55 percent make an emotional connection when they feel like the brand is making a positive difference, while 45 percent say they connect when they feel like the brand gets them.




By Kate Zabriskie

The real meaning behind what customers tell you (or don’t)

Your customers talk to you. But do you listen? I mean, really listen. When it comes to customer service, especially in the world of craft beer, what people say and what they mean are not always the same thing. Unfortunately, too many brands are listening impaired when it comes to getting to the heart of their customers’ messages. There's just way too much of that "I’m-just-looking-I'll-get-backto-you" mentality. But do you understand what people mean when they say this? On the surface, sure you do. But do you really get your customer’s intended meaning? Well, you'd better, or else you're going to lose out to the next cool craft beer brand. The good news is there’s hope. With some practice and a little bit of discipline, you can ratchet up your service and grow your relationships. Slowing down and focusing on what others need versus what you can provide is the first step. The second is to listen for a few key phrases and appropriately respond. The following are a couple of the most common red flags to which you should pay attention:





When customers say “maybe,” they often mean “no” Maybe we’ll place an order in six months. “Maybe” may mean never. When you hear that word, keep asking questions. Don’t wait six months and then act surprised when no order is forthcoming. You have your customer or prospect’s attention now and a chance to both clear up some misconceptions and make a sale or at a minimum to understand why he is resistant.

• I understand you’re on the fence and ordering now isn’t in your plan. Between now and the time when you might order, how will you get ABC done? • When you place an order six months from now, tell me a little about how it can improve your mix. • What other brands have you considered? Any of those follow-up questions will give you some insight into the other person’s needs and decision process. Notice too, those questions aren’t “salesy.” Your follow-up questions – and you, for that matter – should show a genuine interest in your customers and their concerns. The better you understand people and what motivates them, the more likely you’ll be able to help if there is a fit or to get a straightforward answer if there isn’t. The point is, when you hear “maybe,” investigate.

What in the world does "fine" mean? In the same lane that the vague “maybe” occupies is another phrase that communicates very little. You’ve heard it before and probably used it yourself, and that’s the word “fine.” "How is everything?" "Everything’s fine." Maybe it is, and maybe it isn’t. You can’t know unless you do a little more digging. People often will say “everything is fine” in lieu of “go away” or “totally horrible, but I don’t

The better you understand people and what motivates them, the more likely you’ll be able to help if there is a fit or to get a straightforward answer if there isn’t.

feel like engaging in conversation about it.” If you find yourself getting a lot of “everything’s fine,” make subsequent inquiries. At the same time, try to determine if you’re setting yourself up to hear this “tell-nothing” response. By that, I mean “how is everything,” is a C-minus question to begin with. If you ask something specific, you’ll learn more. When you ask what they like most about your beer, it's hard to answer with “fine.” Instead, you’ll most likely discover what your customers liked and what they didn’t.

When customers ask “why,” they are usually expressing displeasure of some sort

Why does my favorite distributor only offer one choice of your beer? Why aren't the others offered? Too often, service and salespeople miss the real meaning behind these inquiries. Listen for “why,” and respond with something better than “I don’t know” or “you’ll have to ask my manager.” Although your customers aren’t jumping up and down with steam coming out of their ears or carrying gigantic flags with the word “why” emblazoned across them, somewhere lurking behind these questions are people on their way to unhappy. Imagine a busy traveler on a tight schedule in a city unfamiliar to him. He hasn’t seen his own bed in two weeks, few of his daily flights have followed his published schedules, and he’s missing another one of his kid’s ball games. It’s 11:30 at night and he’s just entered the door of his Kate Zabriskie hotel and he wants to settle in is the president with his favorite craft beer. of Business You want him to reach for Training Works, yours. So go that extra step with Inc., a Maryeverybody and anybody who disland-based tributes your brand – those who talent development firm. She and are on the front lines of giving their her team help businesses estabcustomers what they want – you. lish customer service strategies Take the time to slow down, and train their people to live up to ask questions and get to the core what’s promised. For more info, of your customer’s message. visit



Strategic thinking Inside the new game board for craft beer By Eric Balinski





Back on April 7, Jim Koch, the founder of Boston Beer, wrote an opinion piece in The New York Times. His article discussed beer industry consolidation forming the two worldwide players MillerCoors and InBev, as well as the implications for craft brewers and consumers. Koch ultimately fears: “Beer lovers won’t have the broad range of choices they have today.” Koch’s article recognizes the craft beer industry is changing and perhaps the glory days of craft beer are over. Sure, better antitrust law enforcement and Department of Justice aren’t protecting craft brewers enough, but the real threat to the craft beer industry is if brewers fail to accept the changing landscape and then fail to build a strategy that adapts accordingly. The value of developing a strategy is that it accounts for the changing dynamics. It should force a brewer to rethink what it is doing. The strategy process intent is to discover insights that enable a company to go in new profitable directions. Strategy is about determining what you are going to deliver to customers, with your limited resources. Strategy defines the what, and more important, it is the focal point to deploy your resources. An effective strategy should do two things: • Determine exactly what you are going to deliver to customers- both the product and customer experience • Subsequently allows alignment of your brewery, its staff, your marketing and

your capital to focus on delivering the product & experience you decided was important to your customers The challenge for most companies is figuring out how to do it? While the process can be complex and never very linear, one of the most challenge aspects is in discovering fresh insights to build a new strategy around. To discover fresh insights, start by grasping three core principles that allow you to see new and interesting aspects of your customer’s world: 1. Right Mind-Set – Get yourself in the right mindset by not wasting one moment thinking about the way the industry was. It’s not that way anymore, and it is never going back that way. Focus on creating a new revolution.

The goal is to help everyone recognize customer enjoy your brew, enjoys it in a number of ways and for different reasons.

2. N  o Beer – Put down the beer, the answer not in the glass. Yes, your love of beer led you to creating a brewery and a business. But the answer to figuring-out a strategy is not in your product. As tempting as it is to believe you will invent the next great brew, the likelihood of achieving it is as likely as the SEC breaking up Miller-Coors or In-Bev. 3. M  ake a Difference – Your insight into people is central to developing a successful strategy. This notion should echo in your brain… “How can we make a difference in our customers’ lives.”

Reinventing your invention Here's an example of what I mean. Take Yeti® coolers, the high performance ice chest that cost ten times more than an Igloo® or Coleman® cooler. In just over 10 years, Yeti grew to over a half billion dollar market leader and reinvented the cooler category. Yes, it is a superior product – its coolers are "virtually indestructible" and the ice last practically forever. This reinvention came by having a clear understanding of user lifestyle, in this case, a fisherman standing on anything to give them more height on the bow of a small fishing skiff to better spot fish.



With space being scarce on a skiff, choosing a dedicated casting platform or a high performance cooler strong enough to pull double duty improves what the fisherman can do on a small skiff. The insight for developing Yeti coolers came from its founders, Ryan and Roy Seiders, because they lived the life of fisherman/ outdoorsman who put serious demands on their equipment. Maybe you already have insight like the Seider brothers. If so, act on it. Otherwise here is how you can develop unique customer insights for your craft brewery.

Step 1 Create a small team of your own people who actually have been around your customers. Do not involve any customers during this step (yes, I realize this sounds internal focused, bear with me).

There is no formula or software that will spit out what you need to do. It takes intuition and gut feel based upon your insight from this type of exercise.

Step 4

Ask each person to describe what they "see" and "hear" when watching customers enjoying, buying or talking about your brew. Create exact descriptors of what everyone sees or hears. Make no interpretations as to what anything means. This will be hard for people so try this. Have everyone think of their brain as a video camera. You want them to hit playback, without any editing. People should only describe “exactly” what they have personally heard or seen. Ignore anything that sounds like: someone said this or told me that, or I think this is what’s going on. Don’t let people interpret what they think they saw or heard. Force them to use “playback only.”

Summarize the descriptors of each type of customer, with a name that everyone on the team identifies as that customer type. Don’t be surprised if you have three, four, or five different customers’ types. If you have dozens of different customers, go back to Step 3 and ask what so some of the types have in common and reduce the number of groups to 3 to 5. The goal is to help everyone recognize customer enjoy your brew, enjoys it in a number of ways and for different reasons. The second goal is to identify common customer types is so you can effectively focus your resources. You effectively deploy a strtagy do this if you have dozens of customer types.

Step 3

Step 5

What should start to emerge are different patterns of what people are doing and saying. These are likely very different customer type showing themselves, so next name the different customer types. Example: Beer snob – the person who painstakingly tastes a beer. Or maybe Party Person – the one who seems to go from beer to beer with little deference for what they are drinking.

Identify unique insights with what you learned. Looking separately at each group, ask these questions: • What really matters to these people?

Step 2


In this step, there are no wrong behaviors or bad customer type, nor should you be judging what anything means. Your job is to capture what's going on and try to group common behaviors styles of people. In all likelihood, you will see multiple types. If you only see one type, keep pushing the team for anything else they saw or heard. Did anything look or sound unusual? You have to prime their minds to remember difference their brains recorded.




• Why does it matter? • How well do we currently deliver what matters most to them? • What can we do to make their life better? • Why would they be better if we did this? There is no formula or software that will spit out what you need to do. It takes intuition and gut feel based upon your insight from this type of exercise. It is likely to take multiple sessions before the light bulbs come on showing new insight, but they will show up. At the point of frustration, keep going back to Step 5. In closing, how did Yeti make a fisherman on a small skiff life

The value of developing a strategy is that it accounts for the changing dynamics. It should force a brewer to rethink what it is doing. better? Instead of buying a dedicated casting platform, the Yeti cooler became a structural platform costing about the same as the old platform and freed up deck and floor space. Secondly, because the brothers knew a long day on the water historically meant warm drinks and maybe spoiled food or caught fish, their coolers kept ice for days making for a far more enjoyable day on the water.

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








Live. Love. Hops. Inside Brewdog’s strategy to revolutionize the craft beer experience By Michael J. Pallerino

Two guys, a dog and slogan for the ages. If you want the snapshot of the Brewdog story, let's start there. Bored with the industrial-styled lagers and way too stuffy ales of the UK beer landscape, James Watt and Martin Dickie decided to take matters into their own hands. The high school friends from Peterhead, a fishing town northeast of Scotland, traveled slightly different paths to reach craft beer nirvana. Watt studied law and economics in Edinburgh, while Dickie attended the prestigious school of brewing and distilling at Heriot-Watt University.

The convened at a time when the craft beer market needed them most. Inspired by the slogan that drives them, “Love Hops and Live the Dream,” Watt and Dickie began producing craft beer under the monicker, Brewdog, back in 2007. BrewDog was one of Britain's first breweries to pioneer a new wave of hoppy, American-style "craft" beers, inspired by breweries on America's West Coast, most notably Stone Brewing and Ballast Point of San Diego. To note, its Punk IPA is one of the most popular and recognizable brands of British craft beer.



Their recipe – and innovative marketing strategies – continues to pay off. Today, there are 50 BrewDog Bars in the United Kingdom and overseas, a rapidly expanding brewery in Scotland, more than 400 incredible crew members, and 35,000-plus “Equity for Punks” shareholders. And the beat goes on for the brewer that is known for, among other things, marketing initiatives such as dropping taxidermied “fat cats” over the city and driving a tank to the Bank of England. CBAM sat down with Watt, captain and co-founder, to get his take on the never-ending story that is Brewdog.

What is the BrewDog story from a brand perspective? Martin and I realized that we were bored of the industrially brewed lagers and stuffy ales that dominated the UK beer market. We decided the best way to fix this predicament was to brew our own beer. BrewDog was born in Martin's mom's garage in 2007. We started off brewing tiny batches of craft beer, filling the bottles by hand and selling the beers at local markets across Scotland and out of the back of a beat up van. In 2008, the business started to take off – people liked our brews and we persuaded the banks to give us money to buy tanks and a proper bottling machine.

What do you see as your biggest opportunity moving forward? There are tons of new opportunities on the horizon for BrewDog. We're thrilled about continuing our global expansion in the US and the UK, which includes launching projects like our crowdfunded DogHouse craft beer hotel in Ohio and our new spirits distillery LoneWolf. We're also working on plans to build new breweries in Australia and Asia.

What's the biggest item on your to-do list right now?

Ten years later, we've left the garage for our own brewery in Ellon, Scotland, and are about to open our first U.S. brewery in Columbus, Ohio. We currently export to 60 countries and have 50 global bars. Our biggest mission when we set up BrewDog was to make other people as passionate about great craft beer as we are. That is still our mission today, and it's at the heart of everything we do.

The first item on our to-do list is opening our new Stateside brewery in Columbus, Ohio. Once it's open and running, we're going to get our new sour brewing facility and the DogHouse hotel off the ground. Our dream with the DogHouse is for craft beer fans to enjoy a vacation with a difference – to be fully immersed in a world of beer and come away loving craft beer more than ever. During their stay, DogHouse guests will enjoy a range of amenities from a hot tub filled with our Punk IPA to beer spa treatments and the finest beer cuisine. We're going to make it the "hoppiest" place on Earth.

What is today's craft beer consumer looking for?

Describe a typical day?

Like us, today's craft beer drinker is looking for an alternative to bland "corporate beers." That's where we come in. We are completely dedicated to brewing the best craft beers we possibly can and elevating the status of beer.

At BrewDog, there's no such thing as a typical day. With that said, everything we do from day to day is designed to bring us closer to our mission of making other people as passionate about craft beer as we are.

Define your consumer. What are they looking for? BrewDog fans don't fit into a particular category or definition. They're


people like us, who just love craft beer and are looking for something exciting made with soul and a purpose.




Tell us what makes the BrewDog brand so unique? We've embraced our punk mentality and we aren't afraid to push the envelope with our marketing or our beer. Our community is incredibly important to us and we're always looking for ways to keep them involved with the brand and the way we do things. That's why we've launched programs like "Equity for Punks," which lets people in the UK and the U.S. invest and own part of BrewDog. "Equity Punks" also earn amazing, money-can't-buy rewards like lifetime discounts, free brewery tours, a say in how we run the company, tickets to our annual general mayhem (a business, beer and music festival exclusively for our shareholders), and more. We’re also not afraid of a challenge. In the past we've brewed up some standout beers like the "End of History," which tapped out at 55 percent ABV and was the world's strongest and most expensive beer. It even came packaged in taxidermied stoats and squirrels, making a bold statement about beer as art and science. Taking on societal norms surrounding beer helped us pave the way for a changing landscape for both beer and beer’s consumption in the UK, and we’re excited about where the scene has landed today and where it will go next – in the UK and beyond.

What should people expect from BrewDog moving forward? Expect the unexpected. We're always going to be out there making waves, unsettling institutions and testing the limits of what's possible in craft beer.

Expect the unexpected. We’re always going to be out there making waves, unsettling institutions and testing the limits of what’s possible in craft beer. What's the most rewarding part of your job? The most rewarding part of our job is redefining people's perceptions of what beer really is, putting craft beer on the map, and showing people how rewarding and amazing beer can be.

What was the best advice you ever received? When Martin and I were still in the garage, we had a chance encounter with the late, great beer writer, Michael Jackson. He tried our beer and told us, "Boys, quit your jobs and start brewing." The rest, as they say, is history.



Error of Creation Is it the new product or new experience?

By Eric Balinski

Throughout history, people have always invented new products. The U.S. is known for its ingenuity and inventiveness. The files of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office are filled with success stories, and even many times more stories of failed attempts. No matter the outcome, the thirst for new is innate in many people. Last month, the Pabst Blue Ribbon (PBR) brewery in Milwaukee came back to life. While the brand name has been around since 1889, when a private investor took control of the company in 1996, it closed the founding operation in Milwaukee and relocated the brand to L.A. In September 2014, PBR was sold to a private equity investor group that made the decision to reestablish a Milwaukee operation by opening a small brewery, restaurant and a bar in a church that Pabst once owned. Pabst also opened an innovation center to address the future of Pabst and beer. This story hit me in a couple of ways. First, I went to Marquette University back in the heyday of PBR and the beer industry in Milwaukee. Not only was PBR in full swing, so were Miller, Schlitz and Blatz brewing companies also going strong with headquarters based in Milwaukee. I was there when the drinking age was 18 years old, too. Back then, it was not unusual to have one or all of the local brewers drive a beer truck up onto our campus and let the beer flow freely. I fondly remember the brewery tours we took; especially at Pabst where at the end-of-tour we enjoyed bottomless glasses of beer in Sternewirt Pub. Those were the days – and when I acquired my thirst for beer. Second, the story bewildered me when Pabst’s CEO, Eugene Kashper said, “This is really going to be an innovation laboratory for us.” My first thought was, innovation in beer – weird? How many







more styles, types and flavor do people need? Though a new beer is intriguing, it raises a more important question for any craft brew business. Is it more critical for a company to focus on product innovation or to create a superior customer experience? Most people would argue both are equally important. And yes, theoretically that’s true. But if you had to bet your resources on only one – a better product or a better customer experience – for your company’s long-term success, which would you chose?

Do you want my answer? Since I'm about to give you my perspective, here 's a bit more on my background. It is not based on having worked in a brewery, or even in the beer industry, though I have tremendous credentials enjoying beer. My view is based on having worked on both new product creation, as well as creating new customer experiences. As the lead marketer on GE’s Living Environment House in the late ’80s, this research project developed innovative new products for home construction and living. Along with 53 partner companies, many ideas were developed and showcased, such as the first home automation system, smart toilets and high performance window systems. Many of these ideas now are in consumers' homes. Later in life, I advised companies in very mature industries, with lots of competition, tight margins and declining prices. Most of these companies dreamed of a new product to free them from the commoditization of their industry.



Here's what I have learned. Though there are plenty of companies in mature industries who spend big on finding the next unicorn in their industry, I rarely saw them succeed. This is not to say they didn’t invent new things, some of which were pretty cool with seductive features. Typically, these products enjoyed little commercial success, as well as became financial disasters because they were poorly grounded in making a real difference in the customer’s world. Where there was success to be found in mature industries was in discovering something to make a difference in the customer’s world. This might mean something such as faster turnaround on product orders to completely reconfiguring the entire customer experience so a customer got more bang out of a product. As such, I'd always bet first on creating better customer experiences as a growth strategy. The reason is, as any industry matures, including craft brewing, the entire industry tends to become more product focused to the point of ignoring customers and what’s going on in their lives. In the meantime, customers are going about their lives, often looking for better or more meaningful ways to live it. The opportunity for growth in maturing industries comes from working to better understand the day in the life of the customers and to figure out how they could enjoy what the company makes in new and interesting ways.

A new customer experience is far more likely to be achieved because the constant societal change is always presenting new situations to create new experiences.

Woo me away... Here's an example of what I mean. In our home, we cook and entertain frequently. This puts us in the grocery store multiple times every week to buy fresh. We have a nice store nearby, with the typical store elements: produce section, deli counter, fish and meat counter, pharmacy, bakery, etc. Recently, we were in the Wilmington, N.C., area contemplating our escape from New Jersey’s taxes. Our realtor mentioned the local grocery store, Lowes Foods, had a craft beer and wine bar inside the store. I don’t think he was ready for my reaction, as I grilled him mercilessly with questions about Lowes. Sure enough Lowes’ Beer Den existed. I was able to try four brews for free, then buy a pint to go about shopping with my cart’s cup holders to assist – what a concept. Honestly, I don't remember what beer I drank that day, but I knew Lowes had delivered to me an awesome customer experience, in probably my future grocery store. Betting the company’s future on the next big thing is a powerful urge, often yielding little success. Don’t get me wrong, a company that has been as successful as PBR has been in the past 21 years, would be on the top of my list as a candidate to invent such a new beer.



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Lowes Foods – Multiple craft beers on tap to enjoy while shopping. Note cup holder in front of cart.

And I will surely try it when and if it comes out. Craft brewers with weaker balance sheets could also be the one to come up with that new brew. Or all of these folks could get blind-sided by a home brewer. But in a maturing or mature industry, it's ridiculously hard to beat the odds of failure with new products, with greater down side then up. For my money, I would not make this error of product creation as a pathway to the future, but rather invent the next great customer experience, such as what Lowes is doing. A new customer experience is far more likely to be achieved because the constant societal change is always presenting new

situations to create new experiences. The added benefit of focusing on customer experience is it would also increase the novel insights needed to invent a great new product. For my tastes, enjoying beer is all about the experience with friends, food, and fun.





Our signage will get your brand noticed.



From metal tackers, Artlite® and NeonFree® illuminated signage to unique dimensional fixtures and displays, May Group offers an unbeatable range of solutions, all made in the USA.










Dalana Morse, Marketing Manager, May Group

Texas Craft Brewers May Group, the nation’s leading producer of tacker signage, hosted an event at their Fort Worth facility on June 1st for Texas Craft Brewers. The event featured a keynote presentation by Jim Prince, Vice President of Sales at Rahr & Sons Brewery, outlining the growth and next steps for their brewery. There was also live music from Telegraph Canyon, a popular Fort Worth based band. Attendees kicked off the evening with a tour of May Group highlighting how signs are made – from the beginning processes of raw material all the way through to assembly and pack out. The tour was followed by dinner, drinks, networking and raffles for free signs.

In addition to the many breweries in attendance from the Dallas-Fort Worth area, breweries from all over Texas such as El Paso, San Antonio, Dripping Springs, Justin, Alpine and Granbury also attended. A few breweries even came in from out of state. May Group expects to do events like this on a regular basis. To get alerts about future events, please email marketing or visit for more information.





By Eric Johnson


Metal Tackers How to get creative with your brand Take a look around – tackers for beer advertising are everywhere. Painted metal signs have been used for the purpose since the 1890s. They’ve been around so long that they are considered collectable by beer enthusiasts, antique memorabilia collectors, and even Americana museums.

Lone Star tacker – Tackers are easily rendered with cutaway sections. They also can be sized as large as 40x60 inches.

New Glarus bottle cap tacker – Three-dimensional metal forming techniques with print overlay.

Laser-cutting equipment has diversified metal fab tech.

It’s easy to take for granted the brand potential of metal tackers. Sure, most of us know that tackers are the entry-level building-block item of a POS sign and display portfolio. And rightly so. They are inexpensive, widely-available, durable and utilitarian.

Pabst “vintage” tacker – New production, old style. Sierra Nevada tacker – Highresolution, multi-color print. Excellent example of contemporary design and printing technique.



Like auto license plates only bigger, right? With modern-day materials, inks, and fabrication techniques there are more ways to create an eye-catching tackers than ever before. Digital printing technology has broadened manufacturing capabilities beyond the tried-and-true screen printing tech. Laser-cutting equipment has diversified metal fab tech.

Substrate selections are more abundant than ever. Including composites of metal and plastics combined. Here are a few selections which we hope will inspire you for adding pizzazz to your own POS sign portfolio. We challenge you to get as creative with your tackers as you do with your beer creations and their labels.

Rahr & Sons tacker – Use of corrugated sheet for dimensional interest. Old-school look, new tech.

El Jimador tacker – Substrate options offer a range of surface specularity. Inks are also available in a range of gloss levels. Including metallic inks.

Saint. Arnold clock tacker – Highly-embossed, metallized surface, working clock incorporated into design.




Pizza Hut sign – Multi-media design using metal and plastic, with standoff hardware.


CBAM May/June 2017  
CBAM May/June 2017