The brewery industry is a tough one, with a lot of players currently jumping into the market. It seems to be a golden age for craft beer, but that means everyone wants to get in on the action. If you want to survive and establish yourself well, you will need these six tips to get you through.
1. Industry experience
You need to know the science of making beer, the exact processes required, how to market yourself, what local, national, and international regulations you need to follow, and how much it will cost to establish yourself. You also need to have that capital, which may mean raising investments – and no one is going to invest in you if you don’t know what you are doing.
2. Be an entrepreneur
Although breweries may be a specific category of business, they are still a business like any other. That means you need to go into this with the attitude of being an entrepreneur. You have to have a professional approach, confidence in your own abilities as a leader, and the strength of mind to know your weaknesses. You have to run your brewery like any professional business – with accounting, marketing, employees, partnerships, and so on.
3. Have goals
You are much more likely to succeed if you have specific goals for your business. Set milestones and goals that you need to reach by certain dates, and then work out a plan for how you can get there. Work backwards to set out when you need to achieve each part of your plan. In order to reach the goal of getting your beer into a local pub, there are many steps required – like meeting the pub owner, creating samples, perfecting your process, right the way back to coming up with your concept.
4. Build a concept
Ah, yes – the concept. This is so important if you are going to stand out. Come up with a concept that will define your brand and the beers that you make. For example, certain craft breweries have a quirky image that allows them to name their beers with spectacular and weird phrases. Some breweries are based around an animal theme, or a mystical creature, or so on. This concept will be a strong part of your identity and it should tie in to your flavours. Imagine you are creating Mexican-inspired beer: your concept might be linked to Dia De Los Muertos celebrations or other Mexican cultural touchstones.
5. Adapt quickly
Make sure you are able to adapt to the market as it grows and changes rapidly. You can’t learn marketing techniques and then keep using them for three years without any changes or updates. The market changes, the techniques change, and you have to keep up. It’s even better if you can get ahead of the crowd.
6. Be visible
Make sure that your products are as visible as possible. Invest in pump clips, have an Instagram account, give out t-shirts and enamel pin badges, put up banners in pubs if they allow you, and so on. Make sure that as many people as possible can discover your products right from the start. This will build an audience and create fans who want to buy your beers.