The Challenges of Being Authentic to Your Consumers

Establishing what a brewery wants to be, and then sticking with it to give a continuous identity can be a challenge, but it also can pay off by being authentic to consumers.

That seems to be the sentiment shared by a few brewery founders and brewers that talked with Brewer Magazine recently.

Less than a decade ago Session IPAs weren’t “a thing” noted Augie Carton of New Jersey’s Carton Brewing.

“We were born of deconstructing flavors we were excited by and putting them together in a format that better suited our style of drinking,” he said, “this is exactly how Carton still approaches all of its projects.”

Carton started because his people believed a Pale Ale they named Boat (a 4.2 percent, 35 IBU brew) would make other people, like them, happy.

“Now that Session IPAs are a thing Boat’s uniqueness is more obvious,” Carton said. “Boat is a session beer for double IPA drinkers, not a smaller IPA, it does all the things a monster double does in a unique way that works at the ABV.”

Carton said patience was a key to help consumers see that approaching things from a different perspective could work for the brewery.

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Being unpretentious and having down to earth innovation was a key for New York’s Sloop Brewing said co-founder Adam Watson, who says they pride the brewery on making some of the best northeast IPA and sours out there.

A key to that?

“Pretty much sticking to it,” Watson said.

In North Dakota, Fargo Brewing’s Aaron Hill said although the brewery takes its work seriously, they don’t take themselves very seriously, and that took time to learn as leadership has evolved.

“If you can’t take some shit or you get offended easily, you won’t fit in,” he noted.

Clark Lewey of Iowa’s Toppling Goliath added that building a culture has worked by focusing on the brewery’s constant process improvement and having fearless ventures to the edges of extreme brewing.

“We have set it from the start and personal deliver the message daily,” he said.

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