Brewer Magazine Q&A: Dane Williams, Iron Horse Brewery

This is a part of a continuing series of Q&As with members of the brewing community from across the U.S.
Brewer Magazine will share business and personal insights from Brewmasters, Head Brewers, Brewing Managers, Sales Directors, QCQA Managers and others each weekend to help you get to know each other better in the industry and learn more to better develop your own brand.

Dane Williams​, ​Sales and Marketing​, Iron Horse Brewery — Ellensburg, Washington

BREWER: ​How has your business strategy evolved to help grow and stay competitive?
​WILLIAMS: ​With so much volatility in the craft beer industry, especially the on-premise, we continue to over invest in the off-premise channel and aluminum can offerings. Consumers continue to enjoy outdoor or off-premise drinking occasions and it’s important that we provide a product and package that compliments their desires.

BREWER: ​Who is your mentor in the industry and why? What have you learned from them?
WILLIAMS: I had the opportunity to work with Dave Peacock while at ABI. One of Dave’s strengths was his ability to understand with great detail the life cycle of the beer industry. Dave would analyze the opportunity and the downstream effects it may have on all departments, gain the buy-in of the process stakeholders and move forward with a united conviction. His confidence was strong but not overbearing.

BREWER: What idea did you or your team come up with lately that has been a big benefit to how your brewery functions?
WILLIAMS: On the sales and marketing side of the business, we’ve been working on a strategy of leveraging our flagship brand awareness through the introduction of a flavor variant series. We have iconic branding marks that we knew would instill confidence in the consumer to sample a new brand/flavor. Couple that with a great flavored beer and we’ve seen strong consumer response and sales.

​BREWER: ​If you had one business strategy that you could implement to better the brewing industry, what would it be?
WILLIAMS: More cost-effective platform for expanding distribution growth. One aspect of the beer industry that has seen little change is the three-tier system. Even though a brewery might have a viable national brand that could fill a niche place in the market, the likelihood of being able to take it to the next level and be successful is virtually zero. Capital investment, regulations and scale are three very strong deteriants for achieving this feat. I would love to see a greater emphasis put on the e-commerce channel of the business, enabling brewers to test certain markets and ultimately spread the independent craft beer story.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.