Evolving Your Brewery’s Portfolio

Constantly evolving and adapting is a key for today’s craft brewers, especially on draft. It’s not often you will see the same flight of taps week after week as consumers seek more and more variety.

For Virginia’s Three Notch’d, Scott Roth said they are fortunate enough to have the opportunity at each of their four locations to release a brand new beer every single week.

“Combined, that’s over 200 new offerings every year,” he said. “Additionally, we have eight year-round flagships. We’ve continuously brewed four of them since we first filled our fermenters almost five years.

“The rest have organically found their way into the lineup, but only one, a Saison, lost its year round status in year one.”

That brand, Trader Saison, was continuously the No. 1 seller in the tasting room for Three Notch’d, but a poor performer in distribution.

“Honestly, the demotion was pretty seamless,” Roth said. “There were few people that missed it.  Most were excited about it’s replacement, our Ghost of the 43rd APA, which four years later is still one of our best sellers.”

Renegade Brewing recently ditched their English-Style Pale Ale in their portfolio for an American Pale Ale with the emphasis on hop flavor and aroma and very low bitterness.

“It’s an evolution of where hopping trends have gone and where palates have gravitated to,” said Renegade owner, Brian O’Connell. “Also, it’s f’ing delicious.”

Making that choice to adapt means shifting thoughts and being open to discussion, be it with consumers or your brew team.

One of the biggest recent successes for Three Notch’d has been its Minute Man IPA.

“It started out as a stab at a New England IPA on the pilot system just for the heck of it,” Roth said. “When the pilot batch was gone in a week, we knew we had to find a home for it on our 20-barrel system. When THAT batch was also gone in a week, we knew we had something special.”

Roth said they were able to move the schedule around to make Minute Man an ‘indefinite’ offering.

“It was only three months later that we were canning it and shipping it all over the state,” he said.  “Even alongside the stability of our best selling 40 Mile IPA, it was able to quickly rise to the top seller of our flagships. It was also picked by Draft Magazine as the 10th Best IPA in the country in 2017.”

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