There is a lot more to the success of a brewery than just making beer. When a beer is ready to leave our four walls, we rely on on a number of people from areas including operations, sales, marketing, beer buyers, bartenders, wait staff, and consumers.
We create strategies for new and old products and communicate with our sales team. We devise a plan and get after it, knowing that we’ll need to constantly adjust to ensure that the beer that reaches you is of the highest quality and as fresh as possible. It takes an army to do this. And in Chicago, Wes Phillips devises the plan for infiltration.
Let’s be real, safety isn’t the sexiest part of the beer world. There’s no Festival of Safely Brewed Beers or World Safety Cup awards ceremony, and for good reason. Yet safety is the single most important effort made in breweries every day, so here’s a little window into that seldom-seen world.
Read the beer news and you’ll notice some patterns. There’s a microbrewery doubling capacity. Here’s a nano releasing bottles. Every regional brewery is opening up an East Coast shop. With all this expansion, there are more people than ever working in the industry who don’t have experience in manufacturing plants. With all those green employees, there’s a heightened danger of someone getting hurt.
Okay so our favorite show came back on the air last night! You’re probably wondering what we did to celebrate.
Did we create a disease that turns people into the Walking Dead? Of course not. Did we plan out our escape route for when the zombies do show up? Again? Did we hone our ability to make delicious beer, or did we instead learn how to make vodka because beer won’t travel well during the apocalypse? No comment. Anyway, since you guys obviously can’t figure it out, we played the game, “Which Walking Dead Character are We?” Duh. First off, let’s cover the easy ones.
Beer Dinners. Tap Takeovers. Beer festivals. The list goes on. As more and more breweries pop up all over the country, the number of beer events skyrockets. What’s on the horizon? Where will the evolution of events and promotion take us? How will we differentiate?
When we first opened our doors in 2012, we tried to keep things as creative as possible on our end. It was hard. We wanted to get our name out there as much as we could, but we wanted to do it in true SOB style. We have done beer dinners, thrown tap takeovers, and participated in countless beer festivals. We have certainly done our share of standard beer events like these and will continue to participate in many of them.
Sure, we’ve all outgrown our “young and innocent” phase by now, but sometimes it’s just fun to pretend that we haven’t.
MOff and his wonderful wife Lise just had another baby. And as part of their adding another little SOB to the mix I asked our all of our taproom SOBs to bring in a few childhood photos. I chose the most embarrassing photo and had them recreate it in the brewery using only things that were “lying around.” This is what we ended up with.
Businesses can grow too quickly. Often, that rapid expansion is at the cost of culture and authenticity.
Since they began in 2009, Clay Robinson alongside Dave Colt and their colleagues at Sun King Brewing in Indianapolis have created one of the most genuine and respected breweries in craft beer. From just 509 barrels in 2009, Sun King kicked out 5,024 in 2010 and surpassed 21,000 barrels in 2013. More than anything, they’ve grown well–maintaining an incredible culture and having never wavered when it comes to their focus on quality.
Last month I had the good fortune of being able to share my story and the story of Solemn Oath with a unique audience, TEDxNaperville. As someone who is perpetually in search of inspiration, I have long been a supporter of TED and really any situation that involves sharing ideas.
For my topic, I elected to talk about the landscape of the craft beer culture–how this is an industry that is overflowing with passion, creativity, and determination. And how, most of all, we’re just getting started.
Holidays are strange occasions. They bring you together with loved ones you may not have seen since our space rock was in this exact position relative to the sun, which is pretty rad when you think about it.
But then you think about the fact that our solar system is sliding through our already-rotating galaxy, which is itself hurtling through space, away from the center of the universe, which is who knows where. What we mean, obviously, is that this is a perfect time of year to convert all your friends and family. Not to your religion or anything like that, but to beer. And here’s the key to doing it: Don’t dip any toes in the water. Don’t ease anyone into it. Slow and steady loses at life. Step away from that Boston Lager.
The craft industry is strong right now, but what comes with growth is often people getting involved for the wrong reasons. Quick dollars in a burgeoning industry from individuals or companies that aren’t passionate about the craft. Wine went through this and craft beer has even gone through this before.
So while you could dive in and open another microbrewery and compete within our collaborative sphere, what many of you should consider is adding to the movement in a different capacity. What you should consider is opening the next great American craft beer bar. And if that is of interest to you, here are some important things to consider.