I discovered this editorial, published in the New York Times Opinion section, entitled”Big Food” via Twitter, namely Greg Koch of Stone Brewery, and wanted to respond the moment I finished reading it. I went back to Twitter, to respond, but again had fallen to the peril of 140 characters. Plus the RT. Plus a URL. But wait; I have a blog! I know it might be odd to editorialize on a piece from the Opinions section of a publication, but its the internet and my blog, so this is how it is.
The Editorial is well written, concise and to the point.
Which leads me to the point I was inspired to write about; as a founding owner of a nanobrewery that is currently in the process of build out, who is my competition and how does this effect my beer purchases?
Anyone who is not ABInbev or MillerCoors, is not our competition. That is not a statement of arrogance; we have a long way to go to be nearly as good as some of these guys. It is saying that we drink beer from all breweries, support them online, tell people about their good products – for me, write a blog about my favorites – and over all, promote craft beer. We have people drinking our beers who are attending a holiday gathering, and we will have some brew on tap. They ask us how they can buy some; which we reply that they will be the first to know when our beer becomes available for sale – later this year, we hope – and then in suggest a few craft beers, possibly similar to the style of the one I made, that they liked so much. I suggest them for two reasons; the first is to promote all these other breweries, who not only produce wonderful beers and are my inspiration for brewing, but also to expose them to beers that mine should be as good as. People come back to me after trying suggestions, not only more interested in what I am doing in beer, but also branched out and tried new things beyond the conversation.
Word of mouth is the best marketing for any artisan or craft product; and in this day and age, that includes digital word, with Twitter and Facebook. These, along with their own websites, is what keeps the fans and beer geeks up to date and wanting more. Having a web presence in this day and age is paramount, especially in a market where the big guys can afford top costing Super Bowl ads, which cost more than entire competing breweries. Twitter a has a vetting process that allows you to choose who you see information from, thus removing advertisement budgets from the equation.
I went to go see how many followers Budweiser has on Twitter, verses, Stone Brewery. I was shocked; Bud came in at 514 followers. Stone on the other hand had 11,757. Numbers speak. Which also gave me hope; my brewery comes in at 199 followers at the time this was published.