Archive: General

Across the Nation Collaboration: Craft Brewers Celebrate Canada’s 150th and Break Down Distribution Barriers

Similar to the craft beer industry south of the 49th parallel, Canada is experiencing a surge in popularity of craft beverages. There has never been a greater variety of beer on Canada’s liquor store shelves. As of 2015, there were 483 regional craft breweries operating in Canada, making it the sixth-largest country regarding the number of craft brewers after the US, UK, France, Italy and Russia. Although there are so many craft breweries hitting the market, due to provincial restrictions, consumers can only glimpse at what the Canadian craft beer scene has to offer. Regionally and nationally, brewers face serious challenges navigating and adhering to the provincial patchwork of legislation and regulations of liquor control boards. For example, The British […]

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Moonshine University: What’s the Story?

There is a lot of talk about Moonshine University, launched in early 2013. As this Louisville, Kentucky training center moves toward year five of educating new distillers, I contacted some of the principals, to see how it’s going. The questions are from me, and most of the answers are from Christin Head, Registrar at Moonshine University. 1. What is Moonshine University? Moonshine University is the educational division of Distilled Spirits Epicenter, an artisan distillery and education center. Our distillery is adjacent to our state-of-the-art classroom and is set up for small runs and hands-on distilling training. We offer technical training and business management education for start-ups, industry professionals, and those looking for careers in the distilling industry. Our courses are […]

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Cool Swag For Your Brand’s Fans

Are you thinking about launching a giveaway contest on Facebook or planning on distributing branded key chains or other swag at the local music festival? Is your online store missing a unique branded item that will instantly transform your brand’s loyal fans into walking billboards? Congratulations! You’ve obviously done your marketing homework. Promotional merchandise featuring your branded logo is a cost-effective way to create an army of enthusiastic brand ambassadors who will place your brand high on the radar in public settings, private homes, and workplaces. First of all, it is essential to point out that there is good swag and bad swag. Good swag is attractive, creative, and innovative. It isn’t shabby or poorly constructed, therefore, it sticks around […]

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Finding A Distiller

    What do a former chef, police officer, wine taster, lawyer, home brewer, fireman, general contractor, and farmer all have in common? They all have become award winning distillers. With new craft distilleries opening every month, how does a startup find the right individual to run their stills? Given the shortage of experienced distillers, looking for the right candidate outside the industry may be the only option. What core skill sets would make a good distiller? What skills are crucial to running the day-to-day operations of a craft distillery? After the right candidate is found, how does this person begin a lifetime of learning?   A quick scan of the American Distilling Institute (ADI) Online Forums shows “Help Wanted” posts looking for distillers outpace the “Job Wanted” posts by almost 3 to 1 (http://adiforums.com/). Individuals with distillation experience, or […]

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When it Comes to Packaging, Think Outside the Box

  When you think Costco, you think drab, industrial size boxes, cut off at the top and overflowing with reams of toilet paper. Of course, as you move along toward the packaged food section, amid waftings of grilled sausage samples and squares of carrot cake, you’ll start to notice some more attractive shipping cartons. But if containers are really your thing – and for Mark Mazzocco, Vice President of Livermore, California-based Packaging Innovators, they most certainly are, then the wine and beer section is really the holy grail of Costco product displays. Just around the corner from several open rows of wood-paneled cases of California and French wines, there’s a beer aisle freshly stocked with Heineken and Coors Light, but […]

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Millennial Women Get Crafty With Cider, Not Beer

  Millennial men are more likely than the average U.S. adult to say “cheers” to craft beer. Women in this generation, however, are more likely than the average adult (including Millennial Men) to toast to hard cider. Craft brewers looking to attract Millennial Women may succeed by treating hard cider as an entry point to craft beer and introducing women to brews that share certain characteristics with cider, such as sour or sweeter flavors and lighter bodies.   Beer and drink brands also may win customers by appealing to many attributes that differentiate “Millennial women cider drinkers” (MWCD) from the average Millennial woman. According to GfK MRI’s Survey of the American Consumer, MWCD are more likely than the average Millennial […]

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Brewery Management Software Offers New Solutions to Old Problems

As the craft beer industry continues to grow, and breweries become a major business in communities throughout the United States and the world, brewers begin to search for solutions to issues that are often seen throughout the industry. Disorganization, lost inventory, ordering and sales issues have plagued the industry for years, further aggravated by bad accounting and organizational practices. Use of spreadsheets, hand written notes, and lack of communication between departments makes for a difficult and frustrating workplace. Enter brewery management software. Brewery management software is an enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution that allows breweries to run their business from one program. Everything from inventory control to production processes to sales can be handled all in one software solution built […]

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Roll Out the Barrels – The Barrel Broker

  In 2009, when John Gill, custom wine tour operator in California’s Napa and Sonoma Valleys, saw his business decline along with the recession, he knew he had to shift gears to adjust to the economy. With 10 years of experience working in the wine industry, it was only natural that he would follow his trade, but he chose an unlikely — and ultimately fortuitous — path: obtaining and selling reliable, high quality used wine barrels from sources he could trust. “I began by buying six used barrels from Robert Mondavi,” Gill told Beverage Master Magazine. “That was a momentous day. I started something new that was a side business — a hobby— and, within six months, turned it into […]

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The Family Office: An Alternative Capital Solution

There are many circumstances that lead an owner to decide it is time to sell or bring a capital partner into the business. A retiring owner may not have a willing successor or the younger generation may want to grow the business but lack sufficient capital to take it to the next level. While a business owner may desire to sell their business outright; very often earn-outs, seller notes, and minority stakes mean that their professional and economic future are tied to the ongoing performance of their business, now under new ownership. Consequently, aside from aligning financial interests, business owners must carefully assess the cultural and personality fit of any prospective investor. Family office investors are a relatively unknown option […]

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American Craft Beer’s Ascent

Craft beer provided an area of vibrancy in an otherwise sluggish U.S. beer market in 2014 – just as it did in several preceding years. While overall beer volume increased only slightly in one of the market’s paltry three upticks in the last ten years, the craft component, having grown in every one of those years (and many more before that), registered a fourth consecutive double-digit growth rate in 2014. Consequently, craft beer quickly moved from being marginal to major and claimed a double-digit share of total U.S. beer volume. The beer market and its craft segment provide a study in pronounced contrasts. The beer market as a whole hasn’t seen volume growth rates greater than 2% since enlargement of […]

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