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For the Craft Brewing Professional

A (w)hole new world

Laron Cheek, Founder, Prophet, Truck Driver

How the branding of Rabbit Hole Brewing is helping to raise its game

Tom Anderson, Founder, Hatter, Janitor

Matt Morriss, Founder, Brewmaster, Janitor


VOL. 2 : ISSUE 6

NOV/DEC 3 4 6


EDITOR’S NOTE It’s a craft world after all

INSIGHTS Industry News A (W)HOLE NEW WORLD How the branding of Rabbit Hole Brewing is helping to raise its game



10 14 18

A TIME FOR REFLECTION Evaluating the lessons that will drive your brand forward STORYTIME How to build a content marketing program 3 SOCIAL MEDIA MISTAKES THAT PUSH CUSTOMERS AWAY


editor’s note

It’s a craft world after all


Where’s the best city in the country to find a pint of craft beer? Quick. Come on, take a guess. We’ll wait. Did you say San Francisco? Ding. Ding. Ding. Ding. According to Nielsen CGA’s “2018 On-Premise User Survey (OPUS),” craft beer in the City by the Bay accounts for more than 42 percent of the on-premise volume share. Meanwhile, imported beer makes up nearly 36 percent of San Francisco’s on-premise volume. Translation: Only about 20 percent of all beer sold at bars and restaurants in that market comes from major domestic producers like Anheuser-Busch of MillerCoors. When it comes to beer, consumers want the local flair. But you know that. According to the Nielsen report—which tapped into sales and distribution data across 10 major U.S. cities, including Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Francisco, Seattle, and Tampa Bay—across all 10 markets, craft beer makes up 30 percent of the beer sold on-premise, while domestic premium beers make up 35.8 percent and import beers make up 19.6 percent. The report gives us some more interesting facts, too. On-premise volume share for domestic premium beer was in decline over the 52week period in all 10 cities the report surveyed. For example, in New York, where domestic premium beers make up just 19.7 percent of on-premise volume, sales of those offerings were down 7.6 percent. What does it all mean? Nielsen CGA’s client director Matthew Compton said that more consumers are going ‘local’ with their out of home choices. So Happy New Year, right. Here’s some more insights from the study. Millennials are seeking out third-space drinking occasions, with 23 percent saying they have visited a taproom or a brewpub and 13 percent citing drinking a “groceraunt.” In addition, 14 percent admit to enjoying a beverage at an arcade bar. And it’s not just millennials either. Nielsen and CGA said that 15 percent of all U.S. legal-drinking age consumers have made a brewery taproom visit in the last three months, while 42 percent upped their visits to taprooms or tasting rooms over the previous year. So, what does it all mean? Well, in a time when more people are looking to go craft, you have to pull them in your direction. Your marketing acumen must be sharp, creative and engaging. If it’s not, you may lose out. Listen, nothing drives people toward your brand like having a love for your product. But people like to be engaged, too, so give them what they want. Share your story. Share their stories. And then share a beer. Here’s to 2019 (raising my glass to each of you).

Michael J. Pallerino

In a time when more people are looking to go craft, you have to pull them in your direction. Your marketing acumen must be sharp, creative and engaging. If it’s not, you may lose out.




Book Rec

Up close and personal

Man Up: How to

What your customers really want from you Just having your customer’s name in an email is not enough anymore. According to Salesforce’s “Trends in Customer Trust” report, 84 percent of today’s consumers say being treated like a person, not a number, is very important to winning their business and loyalty. As for building loyalty, here’s a look at the percentage of customers who say their trust in a company makes them more likely to do the following: 95% — Be loyal 93% — Recommend that company 92% — Buy more products and services 91% — Buy more frequently 88% — Spend more money 86% — Share my experiences

Mano a mano

3 ways to personalize the customer journey

Your customers are in the driver’s seat. But you knew that already, right? They choose the brands and experiences. That’s why more brands are getting personal today. By creating human-centered experiences, and making them work, you can drive your customers to engage with your brand. Here, Anne Houghton, VP-Creative, North America at Freeman, outlines three ways to take that step:

No. 1: Know your audience A no-brainer, right, but personalization begins with knowing your audience’s wants and needs. What are their pain points? What do they care about?

No. 2: The human-centered experience Once you know your audience, put yourself in their shoes. Visualize their journey and how to make it more meaningful and relevant.

No. 3: Go face to face Despite advances in technology, people are still human. They truly like face-to-face interactions. This is a marketer’s dream when projecting your brand in a most impactful way.




Cut the B@#$sh%t and Kick #@$ in Business (and in Life) By Bedros Keuilian “I can’t...” “There’s no way...” “It’s impossible...” Stop please. Fit Body Boot Camp founder and CEO Bedros Keuilian says enough with the excuses already. After years of coaching and consulting hundreds of startup rookies as well as seasoned entrepreneurs, executives and CEOs, Keuilian realized that most people who want to start a business, grow an existing business, author a book, make more money, or make a bigger impact usually take the long, slow, painful way to get there. He found that more than 80 percent of entrepreneurs never get to their desired destination or achieve their full potential in business. They treat their dream as if it were merely a hobby and dip their toes in the water, but they never commit to diving in— you get the idea. In “Man Up: How to Cut the B@#$sh%t and Kick #@$ in Business (and in Life), Keuilian provides a blueprint to do just that. His no-nonsense approach in both business and personal spheres will help you define your purpose and get some clarity of vision to make the quantum leap. It’s just the kind of pick-me-up you need heading into 2019.


MEET LANCE One of Boelter’s regional Field Sales Managers. His favorite beer style? German dark lagers.


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

YOU BREW BEER. BOELTER GROWS BRANDS. Lance loves helping breweries and distilleries spread their craft and grow their brands through custom glassware, promotional products, and brand fulfillment services.



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 .

A (w)hole new world

How the branding of Rabbit Hole Brewing is helping to raise its game By Michael J. Pallerino





Laron Cheek believes that the myth of any great beer starts with the story. More than anything else, he understands that in order for your brand to connect with its customers, they have to know who you are. That means taking your customers on a journey down the rabbit hole, pardon the pun. Do that successfully and they can clearly see what comes out on the other side. So, if you ask Cheek, founder of Rabbit Hole Brewing (RHB), great beer starts with something other than taste. It starts with the story. Rabbit Hole Brewing is many things, including being a brand defined by product excellence, eccentricity and uniqueness. It hasn't been easy, because really, what is. But over the last five years Cheek has hurdled the road blocks and helped drive the brand to the top of the Texas craft beer list. And yes, if you're thinking that Rabbit Hole is not afraid to pull back if something isn't working, you're right. They have and will continue to do so. Over the past five years, Rabbit Hole has gone from strictly a manufacturer focusing on wide distribution to a small brewery focusing on its strengths. The competitiveness and ever-changing marketplace drives the brand to change when change is needed. We sat down with Cheek to get his thoughts on where the Justin, Texas brewery is heading.

Give us a snapshot of today's craft brew market from your perspective. What’s likely to happen next? I have said many times over the past few years that I think the DFW market could handle about 60 breweries. My numbers may be a little off, but we’re getting to the point where breweries are closing almost as fast as new ones are opening. When the craft beer “boom” started a few years ago, there were a lot of people with deep pockets who decided to open a brewery. In my opinion, that’s hurting craft beer. In speaking with a bar owner recently, he said that he’s tired of seeing 30 different breweries fight for space on his tap wall when they should be fighting for quality from their brewery. Yes, competition is good, but if someone can use their money and influence to get space on

store shelves instead of the quality of the product get that space, the customers are suffering.

What trends are defining the space? Right now, it’s “What’s new?” I understand that. I love trying new beer. The DFW market is still in its infancy and is looking for the next big thing. I think in the next few years, savvy drinkers will go from “What have I not tried” to “What have I tried that I would love to drink again?”

What is your story from a brand perspective? RHB began by focusing on misrepresented and underrepresented classic beer styles in North Texas. Our first three beers were a Kölsch, a brown ale, and an English IPA—none of which you could find year-round in North Texas. We continue to look for styles that aren’t mainstream or to add our flair to those that are.

Walk us through your branding strategy. Our branding is telling the story. Since our branding is inspired by Lewis Carrol’s "Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland," we like using the whimsical nature of his world to tell the story of our beer and brewery.



cover story

You have to know how to market in today’s fast pivoting society. Advertising five years ago is different than advertising today. Hell, advertising last week is different than today. What's the biggest issue today related to the marketing/sales side of the craft beer business?

What's the biggest item on your to-do list right now? Finish 2018 strong and plan how to attack 2019.

You have to know how to market in today’s fast pivoting society. Advertising five years ago is different than advertising today. Hell, advertising last week is different than today.

How does your taproom space integrate into your branding/ marketing strategies? Right now, poorly. When we built our brewery, taprooms were against state law, so we didn’t build one. The law has changed and we're looking at different opportunities in 2019 to take full advantage of the change in the law. Yes, the law changed in 2015, but sometimes we move slowly.

What is the secret to creating a branding story that consumers can buy in to? It's creating a branding story that you can buy into.

What's the one thing every craft beer brand should be doing in the way of marketing?

Does music and/or other arts play a role in your overall brand strategies?

Spend five minutes researching beer names. If 20 other breweries have a beer with the same name, don’t name your beer that. Be original. This is why Rabbit Hole Brewing doesn’t have a beer called Jabberwocky.

Art plays a very strong part of who we are. We have a “guest artist” wall in our taproom where people donate Rabbit Hole Brewing inspired art. We pay very close attention to how the art ties into our company and our product.

Sitting down with...

Laron Cheek, founder, Rabbit Hole Brewing What’s the most rewarding part of your job? Meeting with a fan of our brewery—or having someone come up to me and tell me how much they love our beer. What was the best advice you ever received? No matter how detailed your plan is, you will always underestimate what it takes to start a business. What’s the best thing a customer ever said to you? Before I drank your beer, I just drank beer. Now I’m proud to be a beer snob.








By Eric Balinski

A time for reflection

Evaluating the lessons that will drive your brand forward





Many businesses this time of year are dialing things back to end their year, while others are running flat out because their business depends on their year-end performance. With craft makers, every day is critical, making it difficult to find time to reflect. Hopefully you can find time and plan for where you are headed in 2019. Last month, Dogfish Head Craft Brewery’s co-founder and CEO Sam Calagione did a podcast for Brewbound. The podcast was perfect stimulus for future planning. Calagione discussed his view about the bifurcation ahead for 7,000 craft brewers in the industry. He sees two choices: remain small and be hyperlocal, or invest heavily in an effort to “break through the noise of the top 50 brands to go up the ladder of your distributors. There are very little opportunities in-between.” No question the industry has seen growth. The intent of Craft Brand and Marketing has been to provide insights and how-to tips that help you more effectively navigate the complexity, dynamics and nuances of decisions a craft maker has to make to survive and grow. Craft Brand and Marketing Magazine founder Eric Johnson says Calagione is spot on. “It’s a chaotic and fluid competitive environment. Survival risks are high.” Johnson is not a career Beer Guy. He describes himself as a strategist, organizational behavior and entrepreneurial venture person. “Through years working with craft brewers, I’ve grown to love it,” he says. “Naturally, I can’t help but analyze the market and its participant companies and our goal with CBAM is to help our readers do the same for their business.” This article will review five lessons I wrote about in previous issues that help address the journey Calagione and Johnson suggest is ahead for craftmakers. This journey entails figuring out things about your customers that leads to a strategy where you succeed with them. The lessons are: • Effective strategy determines exactly what, where and how you drive growth • Better customer experience is more important than a better product • Understand the day-in-the-life of current and prospective customers • Know which customers you intend to catch and why • Don’t lose-sight of what’s meaningful and important to customers

Here is a summary of these lessons (the full article on each topic can be found at Effective Strategy: Issue No. 2, May/June 2017, featuring Brewdog on the cover. Article title: “Strategic Thinking. The New Game Board.” Visit: An effective strategy should do two things: determine exactly what you’re going to deliver to customers—both the product and customer experience, and subsequently it allows alignment of your

There are only so many craft beer aficionados to go around to the 7,000 brewers, whether you’re local or a top fifty brewer. Inevitable you will need to find new customer types. brewery, its your staff, your marketing and your capital to focus on delivering the product and experience you decided was important to your customers. Better Customer Experience: Issue: Issue No. 2, May/June 2017, featuring Brewdog on cover. Article title: “Error of Creation. Product or Experience?” Visit: cbam_mayjune17?e=31569550/65108294 While a new beer is intriguing, it raises an important question for a craft business. Is it more critical for a company to create new products 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? As I wrote about in the Nov/Dec 2017 issue, the odds of creating a truly successful new product are daunting: 3,000 tries to 1 chance to succeed.




Understand the Day-in-the-Life of Customers: Issue No. 4, Sept/Oct 2017, featuring Rahr & Sons on the cover. Article title: “More Pie, Please. Growing the Beer Market.” Visit: http:// To grow the beer pie, i.e., increase the market size, a craft brewer faces two strategic considerations: Where will growth come from to enlarge the craft beer industry pie—this means the brewer is converting non beer drinkers, or where will growth come from, if it doesn’t come from a bigger pie? In this case, there are only two spaces, either from your buddy’s craft brew customer base or from Big Beer customers. With either strategic consideration to grow, how you figure it out is the same. You must find customers who you can better serve or who are under served today.

title: “Don’t Skunk Your Customers.” Visit: https:// All too often, companies lose sight of what’s meaningful and important to their customers. This becomes more complex as you grow and different customer types show up in your customer mix. Likely, over time, besides your original craft beer aficionado customers, folks who are more casual about their beer consumption may be in your mix. There are only so many craft beer aficionados to go around to the 7,000 brewers, whether you’re local or a Top 50 brewer. Inevitably, you will need to find new customer types. Choose them wisely— don’t just believe all customers want the same thing.

Two things to ponder The first is Sam Calagione’s perspective on how the industry will evolve as either, small and hyperlocal or Top 50. This is analogous to a journey through a classical labyrinth. In a labyrinth, there is one path for your journey and one outcome. There is only one choice to be made. The choice is to enter or not—to stay small and hyperlocal, or become Top 50. Clearly, this will be the path for many. Often, though life is more like a maze that has the complex branches of a multicursal puzzle with choices on the path, having twists, turns and blind alleys to solve the puzzle. It is a left brain task that requires logical, sequential and analytical activity to find the correct path into the maze and out. Businesses that take this journey are typically those that create new uncontested space and rewrite the industry rules. The second notion to ponder is this, “In the end, a craft brewery is a business,” Johnson says. “Simply said, it’s all about strategy and execution. Successful businesses must have a clear vision of who they are and who they intend to serve. Shortterm and long-term initiatives must be strategically concise and targeted. Breweries must be as passionate about the daily discipline of business execution as they are about making great beer.” God speed you on your journey.

Often, though life is more like a maze that has the complex branches of a multicursal puzzle with choices on the path, having twists, turns and blind alleys to solve the puzzle. Know which customers: Issue No. 2, March/April 2018, featuring Yazoo Brewing on the cover. Article title: “What If Customers Were Fish.” Visit: What customers do we want to catch? Assuming you already know what you’re fishing for without objective analysis to identify and quantify customers, the danger is that you’re randomly winging efforts and left wondering whether your effort matches your intended customers’ needs. You may be tempted to believe a good approach is catching any and all you can. But any business, no matter its size, has limited time, money and resources, which is one of Sam Calagione’s points. As such, the more varied and random your customer base, the more likely the business is spreading itself thin. Instead, a craftmaker must choose customers carefully to deliver the right value to these customers, focusing all effort, equipment, etc., on chosen target customer group(s). Don’t Lose-Sight: Issue No. 3, May/June 2018, featuring Cherry Street Brewing on Cover. Article




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




By James Furbush

Storytime How to build a content marketing program

Recently, I delivered a presentation on building a content marketing program from scratch at Lord Hobo Brewing. I had minimal resources and practically no budget. My presentation leaned to the practical side. Essentially, I walked through why content is an important aspect of marketing, especially in today's ever-noisy environment. But content is only one puzzle piece. It shouldn't be your only marketing strategy, but it is important. So, how do you get started when you don't know where or how to begin? There are five steps to consider: discovery, ramp up, distribution, ideation (or brainstorming) and measurement. Let's take a look at each:

Discovery I had a lot of great ideas when I started at Lord Hobo Brewing. I sat down with the sales team. I talked with our distribution partners. I visited our retail partners.




Ultimately, a few threads began to emerge from those conversations: a lack of communication with distribution partners and retailers, a need to show our best accounts more love, need for database and CRM system for tracking and nurturing our customers or prospects. Overall, we needed to sell more beer and our sales teams didn't feel like they were getting enough marketing support. Early on, I implemented a monthly handwritten note campaign. Every month, the LHBCo sales team provided five key accounts for a semi-personalized thank you note from our CEO, targeting 50-60 key account per month. We treated it like a direct mail campaign. Each note contained a CTA to email the CEO if the account needed anything from us. Sometimes we asked for direct feedback on our beer. We set up a dummy email account for our CEO with replies that came into my inbox. We had a 10-12 percent response rate.


Puzzled about how to build your business? You’re experts in your business. You want to grow. Whether you’re going in new directions, ready for expansion or just keeping your name “out there,” we’ll solve your marketing challenges with a strategic program tailored to your specifications. With over 30 years of major market experience and close ties to the building and design community, we’ll help you develop a clear, big picture. And ultimately, bolster your sales.

been working with Communicators for the last three years. “ We’ve The results have been absolutely remarkable. I would recommend this firm to anyone! ”

– Scott Banda, Director of Marketing & Business Development, Bostik



Don’t overlook your own social channels and the social networks of your employees. Everyone in your company should and can be an extension of your marketing efforts. I responded to any reply emails under the guise that our CEO asked me to follow-up. I tracked those emails in our Hubspot CRM via a Gmail plugin. I invited them to opt-in to our monthly retail nurture newsletter. This initiated a relationship with those accounts in support of individual sales members. The sales team loved it. They felt connected to marketing. And our accounts felt recognized by our CEO for their hard work. You need to do discovery on an ongoing basis. You can't just do it once. There needs to be rhythm.

Ramp up With limited resources, you must pick and choose your priorities. For me, that meant starting with sales enablement and product-related content. Create content that's going to help close new deals. Consider this starting at the bottom of the funnel and working your way back up. But don't forget—there's a lot of value to add at the bottom. Sales enablement content won’t be a lot. You can knock it out quickly and go back once a quarter or six months to update as needed. Next, tell all the great stories happening within the company. Show off what makes your brand unique. Include thought leadership pieces. Decision-makers want to like, trust and feel comfortable with brands they do business with. Often, these are stories that only your company can tell. Next, write some customer/prospect Q&As. Create content that helps them do their job better or helps them work through specific problems.

Distribution If you spend the time and effort to create content, you want people to read it. That means distribution is essential. This encompasses four umbrellas: owned, paid, earned and shared.




Owned are all the places you have control over: your blog, newsletter, social channels, app notifications. Paid is anywhere you put your content with money behind it to garner more eyeballs: sponsored social posts, online ads, Reddit, etc. Earned is when other publications link to your content. Shared is when other people spread your content via their social networks. You can leverage all of these approaches if you have a dedicated communications team. Most small businesses don’t have these resources. The two distribution strategies I lean on are social and owned, specifically a monthly newsletter. Fold in some earned strategies when possible. Don't overlook your own social channels and the social networks of your employees. Everyone in your company should and can be an extension of your marketing efforts. Think about how a single piece of content can be chopped up, remixed and reused across Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Reddit and/or Fark. Send it to industry bloggers or writers. Give it to your sales team so that they can send in emails, etc.

Ideation As far as finding things to write about, there are no shortage of ideas out there. Typically, idea generators can be lumped into internal, external and digital buckets. Internal generators include sales, SMEs or your customers. External generators include trade publications, analyst reports, your competitors, original data, surveys, social media, etc. Digital generators include a handful of awesome tools (free with paid tiers) like BuzzSumo, Ubersuggest, SEMrush, Google Trends or Answer the Public. These tools are like your content marketing cheat code.


I would also encourage everyone to set up a Swipe File. This is the place I save everything related to content, advertising and marketing (videos, landing pages, articles, etc.).

Measurement I’m hyper aware that we can measure ourselves to death. When you're tasked with consistently proving your worth as a marketer, it's easy to cherry pick certain metrics to make yourself look better. But remember—what you measure should be tied directly

What you measure should be tied directly back to your business goals and objectives. That’s why you create content in the first place. back to your business goals and objectives. That’s why you create content in the first place. You might have a few different things you’re measuring for different strategies, but I'd advise keeping it simple. When I embarked on my content campaign, it was all about selling more beer. But over time, my metrics and vision changed. And I will continue to be fluid enough to adapt when the time comes.

James Furbush is a content professional experienced with healthcare, newspapers, start-up publications, websites/blogs, and social media. Passionate for technology, strategy, and achieving thought leadership through targeted content development, he most recently worked with Lord Hobo Brewing Co., Woburn, Massachusetts. You can reach him at




social media

By Dalana Morse

3 social media mistakes that push customers away Social media marketing can be a two-edged sword. When you do it right, it can result in a consistent stream of profitable traffic. On the other hand, the wrong approach could ruin your online reputation. That's why it's important to avoid some critical mistakes. Keep in mind that it can take a while to get things right. So, if you find that you've been committing one of these errors, don't be too hard on yourself. Most likely, it's not your fault. Many "gurus" promote misleading and confusing information. The good news is that you can start on the right track by avoiding the following mistakes.

Mistake No. 2 — Lack of Storytelling Social media thrives on interesting stories. You can experience greater social media success if you use stories when you talk about your business. For example, you can share how you have successfully solved problems for your existing customers. Don't be afraid of spending the time needed to master storytelling. Remember—it is the most effective way to communicate on social media. Your customers will look forward to your content once you understand how stories work. Don't make the mistake of ignoring this important marketing skill.

Mistake No. 3 — Not Making Special Offers

Mistake No. 1 — Too Much Focus on Facts Content marketing is a perfect way to get noticed on social media. However, many businesses fail because they focus on the wrong kind of content. For the most part, social media audiences want to be entertained. So, when you create content, make sure it's fun. It's all about the angle from which you approach the information you share. People learn faster if you show them how your content relates to their lives. As a result, your content will get more shares and likes. This could then bring new customers to your business.

It is very important that your social media posts stand out. At the same time, you want to inspire action. For this reason, it's important that you make your audience feel special. One way to achieve this is by making exclusive offers. For example, you could give a discount to anyone who makes a comment on your post. You could also post coupons that are only available on your social media profile. As long as the offer is not available elsewhere, it will work. Remember, you can also ask your audience to share these deals. This strategy can be a powerful way to attract a new audience and to make a lot of sales. As you can see, the secret to social media lies in giving your audience something unique. You can gain an instant advantage by using these strategies. Don't let the fear of being different stop you. Many business owners fear breaking industry norms, but if you want to succeed on social media, experiment with the rules—think outside of the box. Be creative. Be clever. Be original.

Dalana Morse is the founder of DAM Media and Design, a boutique design and digital marketing firm located in Fort Worth, Texas. Dalana is a seasoned professional with a diverse background in marketing, web and media design, digital and social media marketing, and search engine optimization. Having served in marketing leadership roles for close to a decade, her experience spans both B2B and B2C industries including multifamily and single family real estate, electrical and utility technologies, and visual branding agencies. For more information, visit or







Profile for BOC design Inc

CBAM Nov/Dec 18