The Bruery: explain how they've done it.

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by draheim, May 31, 2012.

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  1. dukes

    dukes Initiate (0) Apr 2, 2012 Maryland

    It already is and there are countless books and case studies on other businesses that have followed the exact same formula. What I really want to read is, aside from the "they make great beer" aspect which is entirely subjective, why do people respond so well to it? Why is it that the group of people that buy in to this particular business model in the majority?
    DocBrewsky likes this.
  2. PangaeaBeerFood

    PangaeaBeerFood Initiate (0) Nov 30, 2008 New York

    Yeah, I think what you mean. And there are a ton of reasons for that. Marketing. Hype. Sometimes it's just a matter of being local, people gravitate towards you, as do local restaurants and breweries. Something like 8 new breweries have opened up within driving distance from me over the past 2-3 years. A few of them are great, but a lot of them are forgettable at best.

    This is sort of a textbook example of the patterns of a fragmented market, though. An industry surges, everyone jumps on the bandwagon, but after a few years, consumers will know enough about the industry to separate the men from the boys and the forgettable ones will start to disappear.
  3. PangaeaBeerFood

    PangaeaBeerFood Initiate (0) Nov 30, 2008 New York

    I'm not sure I understand your question. Why do people buy into The Bruery versus other brewing companies? It's like saying why do people prefer Coke to Pepsi. If there was a clean, easy, identifiable answer every company would do it. Overall, though, I think they found a largely untapped niche and tapped into it with superior products. Their products have the uniqueness of Dogfish Head with the upscale sophistication of Ommegang. It's a nice little pocket in the industry that no one else had claimed.
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  4. dukes

    dukes Initiate (0) Apr 2, 2012 Maryland

    And that's really what I'm trying to get at. All those business books out there (In Search of Excellence, Good to Great, Built to Last, ect.) proclaim that, because they analyzed the track record of a couple of successful companies and identified similar traits between their businesses, that those traits must be the secrets to success. Yet, I'm sure there are businesses that tried to incorporate those traits into their business models (just as I'm sure there were breweries that probably followed the same business model The Bruery did) and still failed. To truly understand the success of The Bruery, you would have to understand why people behave the way they do, which as you said, is pretty much impossible but would be the "holy grail" of business strategy. Which is why I would want to read that book.
  5. PangaeaBeerFood

    PangaeaBeerFood Initiate (0) Nov 30, 2008 New York

    While we're at it, grab me the book that uncovers the meaning of life. Want to make sure this small business thing will be worth it before I go all in.

    But yeah, as someone who works in Marketing, I could assure you there is absolutely no way to prove causation in purchasing behavior. The best we could do is use a combination of qualitative and quantities data to show correlation.

    Success, in any field, always comes down to the right blend of skill, creativity and discipline mixed with a shit ton of luck. I mean, details aside, The Bruery would never have been so successful, at least not so quickly, if they opened their doors a few years earlier or a few years later. They started up just as the industry was hitting it's biggest boom ever, and just hit the ground running. The timing was perfect, and that was all sheer luck.
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  6. coreyfmcdonald

    coreyfmcdonald Initiate (0) Nov 13, 2008 Georgia

    I can see this - I think it's highly dependent on where you do your everyday beer drinking and who you do it with.
  7. Beerandraiderfan

    Beerandraiderfan Initiate (0) Apr 14, 2009 Nevada

    My God, if I could like this 1000 times, I would.

    I wish the media and alleged scientists would understand what you're saying far beyond even marketing. Some of the recent things I've read in world/national media outlets lead me to believe nobody distinguishes a correlation from causation anymore. . .
    ObeMaltKinobee and 2beerdogs like this.
  8. PangaeaBeerFood

    PangaeaBeerFood Initiate (0) Nov 30, 2008 New York

    Haha, I know what you mean. I saw a study once that "proved" people will have a higher IQ if they spend extensive time in rooms with vaulted ceilings. It was one of those huge facepalm moments where I realized most modern science is a joke.
  9. stupac2

    stupac2 Zealot (534) Feb 22, 2011 California

    I think that the vast majority of scientists understand this. It's taught pretty constantly. Media reports of scientific discoveries are shitty because they come from university press releases, which can be quite awful, and then the reporter/editor's demands which normally distort the science significantly. It's frustrating.

    This is not true.
  10. Levitation

    Levitation Initiate (0) Aug 7, 2009 California

    the biggest problem with modern science is that people in marketing think they can do it.

    also, seriously, who hasn't heard "correlation is not causation" 1000x before 8th grade?
  11. sergeantstogie

    sergeantstogie Initiate (0) Nov 16, 2010 Washington

    Me. Ever.
  12. Levitation

    Levitation Initiate (0) Aug 7, 2009 California

    oh. hmm, maybe i thought it was more obvious than it really was. i consider things like six sigma analysis (which is a rigorous way of establishing confidence in correlation) to be pretty obscure, but i had no idea that the above aphorism was new to people.

    Ultraman9000, Pahn, ehammond1 and 3 others like this.
  13. jtmartino

    jtmartino Disciple (317) Dec 11, 2010 California

    A lot of scientists don't understand the difference between correlation and causation, hence the overwhelming numbers of meta-analyses based studies that yield "interesting" results published as fact by the media. Many researchers' paradigms are completely flawed and show little causation in modern research. I worked in academia for a few years and my biggest complaint was either erroneous findings or poorly designed research that didn't distinguish correlation from causation.

    It's not that modern science is a joke - it's that you have a lot of idiots pretending to be researchers or scientists in a futile attempt to get a piece of the ever-dwindling grant pie. On the other hand, there's a lot of excellent stuff being studied and discovered by scientists, but unfortunately it doesn't yield attention-grabbing headlines in the news.
  14. stupac2

    stupac2 Zealot (534) Feb 22, 2011 California

    It shouldn't be. If people aren't familiar with it it's because of the massive failure that we call an education system.
  15. sergeantstogie

    sergeantstogie Initiate (0) Nov 16, 2010 Washington

    Lol. What's an aphorism? I don't care to know. I was just pointing out the level of silliness people take these discussions to. What was the original question again?
  16. Levitation

    Levitation Initiate (0) Aug 7, 2009 California

    i'd argue the bolded part is the problem, which you allude to in the last sentence.

    which field did you work in? i've done some consulting on six-sigma analysis and been impressed with the caliber of scientists i've met, but i also realize that guys like this exist.

    what i don't understand is this general, mainsteam pooh-poohing of scientists. if you needed surgery, you'd see a surgeon; if you needed a new timing belt, you'd see a mechanic... but if you need some rigorous scientific analysis, you don't go to an expert in the field - because they're all idiots who can be replaced by marketers. this is the first generation where i've seen an entrenched pride in anti-intellectualism, and i don't understand it. part of the reason why i didn't go into science myself; there's no value.
    Beerandraiderfan and Errto like this.
  17. jtmartino

    jtmartino Disciple (317) Dec 11, 2010 California

    You're right - the value of hard science is declining in many fields, and anti-intellectualism is becoming an issue (IMO) due almost entirely to the internet (and the availability of information.) The fact that people working in academia make a disproportionally low wage vs. someone in industry is not exactly alluring to recent grads or career scientists either.

    I worked for the dept. of neuroscience at the UCSD school of medicine. We were constantly amazed by our fellow labs' lack of comprehension with statistical analysis and how it yielded inaccurate results (in published papers, nonetheless.) A post doc colleague of mine said the majority of the papers he reviewed had statistical flaws, from study design to data capture. It's much easier to publish "good" results when your study is designed for them.

    That said, I think stupac2 hit it way back when he said capital was the reason The Bruery is so successful.
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  18. Rempo

    Rempo Initiate (0) Jan 18, 2010 Indiana

    Money is tight. Time to compare and make conclusions on n=1 data points.
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  19. jtmartino

    jtmartino Disciple (317) Dec 11, 2010 California

    Yeah man, it's all about money. Which is funny, because I think that's a huge reason why The Bruery was successful.
  20. Rempo

    Rempo Initiate (0) Jan 18, 2010 Indiana

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  21. Levitation

    Levitation Initiate (0) Aug 7, 2009 California

    fair enough. i can't agree more. statistics is a grossly undervalued field that should be a minimum requirement in all scientific professions. it seems that scientists are taught how to design experiments, not how to interpret them.

    huh? don't change the subject. :angry:

    seriously though, no more derailing on my part.

    i agree about the bruery's capital being the big thing. apparently they had in the range of $1 mil startup funding. add in great timing (right when today's craft boom was taking off), infrastructure they could leverage (no need to create their own distribution setups), and america's love for sweet sweet things, and boom they took off.
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  22. coreyfmcdonald

    coreyfmcdonald Initiate (0) Nov 13, 2008 Georgia

    Correlation versus causation is certainly an interesting topic and is worth noting in this thread, but this isn't even remotely about beer anymore. The best we can do here is mention correlations that we believe are the causes of the Bruery's success and note that we are doing this. Can we leave it at that?
  23. Rempo

    Rempo Initiate (0) Jan 18, 2010 Indiana

    The thread was srarted May 30th - not much left to discuss.

    On topic: Breweries led by people named Patrick seem to do well.
    MarkIntihar likes this.
  24. Pahn

    Pahn Meyvn (1,454) Dec 2, 2009 New York

    really intelligent and forward thinking business model right from the start. i think patrick predicted the current development of craft beer, and also (as, if i recall, was made clear from his posts around the time the bruery was opening) he's been shooting for getting stuff like black tuesday and knock your socks off barrel aged type beers to be bruery shelf beers since the start. once he gets enough capacity for that, they're going to dominate the aficionado market.

    as for the nitty gritty stuff, i'm pretty sure he had a background in business or law, and i know that he was an active homebrewer (posting on BA) for awhile before he started the bruery. my guess is the guy is just really insightful, and correctly identifies what needs to be done to succeed.

    good thing too, their beer is awesome.

    edit: was this some kind of necrobump? i did not read any of the thread but the first post (it was bumped to the top of the forum when i posted). if the conversation is dead and i'm repeating stuff or even saying stuff that was already disproved, my apologies.
    Beerandraiderfan likes this.
  25. Errto

    Errto Initiate (0) Oct 20, 2009 Connecticut

    I'd be interested to know more about this. On the one hand, Patrick's blog post sounds like they were pretty far from awash in cash; on the other, how did they possibly expand production as much as they did and reach as many markets as they did as quickly as they did without capital? Also, what do you mean about their own distribution setups?
  26. 2beerdogs

    2beerdogs Poo-Bah (2,241) Jan 31, 2005 California
    Society Trader

    Yeah, Patrick Rue went to law school, but he says that he spent too much time homebrewing.:slight_smile:
  27. TheCrowsNest

    TheCrowsNest Initiate (0) Mar 26, 2010 California

    I thought the same thing when I was reading those early blog posts, but think about what went down during that first year: tons of custom construction, painting, piping, a glycol chiller setup, etc. They pretty much got it all right off the bat. I'm sure he was working on a budget, but it certainly wasn't a small one.
  28. draheim

    draheim Poo-Bah (2,430) Sep 18, 2010 Washington

    Thread went dormant for a while and then someone replied a day or two ago and it resurfaced. Then it took a kind of weird left-turn into six sigma, marketing/science, consumer psychology etc. (all somewhat vaguely relevant to the original question)... I think you concisely reiterated many of the key points others have raised over the past month.
  29. Pahn

    Pahn Meyvn (1,454) Dec 2, 2009 New York

    read through the thread.

    was that at gordon's? i think i was there. i bought 4 different bottles and loved each one.

    like the correlation/causation stuff. won't get into it, but i'll throw out that i'm an analytic philosopher, and we all turn our noses up at pretty much anyone outside our field who sincerely speaks about "causation" (like, they're illustrating a given example).

    want to reiterate about my post, the bruery has shown a meteoric rise (just look at their distribution, and the fact that patrick was just some BA posting homebrewer a few years ago), but i don't think we've seen the plan come to fruition yet. in 2 or 3 years, you're going to see markets saturated with beers like black tuesday and oude tart, with other breweries making a tiny fraction of the barrel aged beer and struggling to sell their hot shot one-offs against the bruery.

    similarly, imagine if BCBS really does get a heavy increase in production, and GI uses economy of scale to keep the prices below what they were a couple years ago (when BCBS sat on the shelf). now imagine trying to sell your "i'm just getting into barrel aging," $15 22oz bottle in the same stores. it will get some mileage, but at the end of the day there's going to be one brewery pulling in the vast majority of the BA beer profits. the bruery is going to be that (kind of) brewery, but in slightly different niches than BCBS. at least, that's my guess.
  30. Levitation

    Levitation Initiate (0) Aug 7, 2009 California

    they don't seem to self-distribute locally, which is legal in ca. instead, they made distribution partnerships and kept the local stuff close enough to justify building a bottle shop.

    i'm mentally comparing them to stone: stone found it was important to refrigerate beer, so they invested a ton of time getting their own distribution company off the ground. patrick didn't have to.
  31. stupac2

    stupac2 Zealot (534) Feb 22, 2011 California

    If there's anything that BA has taught me it's that new breweries can release shitty BBA stouts and sell them for whatever they want. Of course, it's possible that BA's culture will change as the good ones get common and people get over ticking.
  32. Pahn

    Pahn Meyvn (1,454) Dec 2, 2009 New York

    i think breweries will be able to get away with, "you like our barleywine? well, we put some in barrels!" "whoa [such-in-such] in barrels! i've gotta try that!" for awhile...

    but you only have infected and/or just plain bad $15 1-offs so many times when < $15 4pks of better BA beer are in the store.

    as another thought experiment, imagine if every brewery's limited anniversary beer was the same style as duvel. maybe that would excite aficionados for a short time, but ultimately these breweries would have trouble selling entire batches of the stuff. BA beer (and silly mashup / variant beer) is hot right now, but that niche can be dominated like any other.

    edit: posts like this in particular make me reconsider my lazy no-capital posting. that shorter paragraph up there borders on illegible. meh.
    Beerandraiderfan likes this.
  33. stupac2

    stupac2 Zealot (534) Feb 22, 2011 California

    Well, it depends on how much BA beer the market can take. It's actually conceivable that there's enough demand for it (or will be eventually) that the limiting factor might be the amount of bourbon barrels available, then things would get interesting. But if there's not and BCBS/Parabola/KBS/BT are on the shelves for months at a time, maybe they won't be able to compete.

    BUT I think they'll still be able to sell stuff for that. Beer drinkers like novelty, for one. Plus different people like different things, and so you could go that angle. And it's not clear to me that the big guys would compete on price all that much, so you could end up asking the same question as "why are there IPAs besides Pliny on shelves in the Bay Area?" (This, of course, ignores that Pliny sells out too damn fast, but even if it didn't there'd be dozens of others.)

    So I think for the foreseeable future the tradition of the mostly-shitty-but-sometimes-great local BBA stout will continue.

    Capitalization was invented for a reason!
  34. Levitation

    Levitation Initiate (0) Aug 7, 2009 California

    honestly, i'm not sure we'll ever hit that threshold. even as some older ba's mature, there are enough new people coming into the hobby that the fraction who "learn" are continuously washed out.

    and yes, i realize when i'm in a mode of thinking "the growth will always be exponential!", some problems may be around the corner...

    there's nothing wrong with no-capital posting. when the mob and the press and the whole world tell you to move, your job is to plant yourself like a tree beside the river of truth, and tell the whole world — "no, you move."
  35. kojevergas

    kojevergas Poo-Bah (8,355) Aug 15, 2010 Colorado

    I've found The Bruery to be nothing short of the most overrated brewery I've ever come across. Somehow they use their reputation to sucker people into paying obscene prices for mediocre brews.
  36. Beerandraiderfan

    Beerandraiderfan Initiate (0) Apr 14, 2009 Nevada

    Necrobump. That word gives me chuckles. Never heard it before. Only a matter of time before some shitty metal band gets ahold of it.

    Funniest use of the emoticon I've ever seen. This thread has a life of its own, in a good way. Good mix of high and low brow humor throughout it. And what sucks is I know some of it went over my head.

    If you think that's a massive failure, you should look at our parental/cultural values-'system'. Pales in comparison. But yeah, I hear ya.

    Deep man. You should have been funny like everyone else who posted.
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  37. kojevergas

    kojevergas Poo-Bah (8,355) Aug 15, 2010 Colorado

    ^And here I thought Raider fans didn't have a sense of humour.
  38. StarRaptor

    StarRaptor Initiate (0) Jun 8, 2010 California

    Saw this on BeerPulse's linking of a LA Times Story on the Bruery

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  39. Rempo

    Rempo Initiate (0) Jan 18, 2010 Indiana

    Quoting and replying to four different posts with no mistakes? Who stole your login information?

    I thought they just filled a pool with that money and swam around in it.
  40. Beerandraiderfan

    Beerandraiderfan Initiate (0) Apr 14, 2009 Nevada

    What is this?
    Who taught you how to do this? ANSWER ME!!!!

    "I learned it by watching you!!"
    Who would have thought I would have learned how to use the reply feature before the website redesign was finished. . . not me. I would have bet on the Cubs winning it all first
    2beerdogs likes this.
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