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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:


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