How Block 15 Strategizes Its Seasonal IPA Portfolio

When Block 15 Brewing began offering IPAs in cans, Seth Steiling said the Corvallis, Oregon-based brewery started with a single year-round offering (a “hop experience ale” called Sticky Hands), complemented by a new one-off IPA in a 16 oz can every month.

While this monthly IPA program remains a core part of the brewery’s mix, over time Steiling (the brewery’s Marketing Director) and the rest of the staff realized that these limited releases were selling out so fast that customers really only had one crack at purchasing the beer.

“By the time they finished a four-pack or two and decided to purchase it again, the beer was already gone for the year — or maybe even for good,” he said.

So the brewery’s seasonal IPA program was born out of this realization.

“While we love brewing as many new beers as we can conceive of, we also want our customers to be able to revisit a new beer a few times before it sells out — maybe even making it their go-to for a month or two,” Steiling said.

By brewing seasonal IPAs in numerous small batches, released regularly throughout a two to three month season, Block 15 can keep the beer fresh, avoiding stagnation on off-premise shelves (which is a death sentence to hop-forward beers) while offering its customers a chance to enjoy the beer several times before the brewery moves on to a new SKU in that category.

All of Payette Brewing’s packaged beers have been through some sort of R&D process at the Idaho brewery before deciding which ones the brew team wanted to do again, when they will be released and for how long, explained Marketing Director Paige Coyle.

“Every Thursday, we have R&D meetings that are open for Payette employees to come together with ideas, inspiration, feedback and more,” she said. “We talk about beers we want to brew and analyze any beers we have coming up. This is where all the creativity happens.

“If we find a winner of a beer, and it was perceived well in our taproom, we definitely explore it more to see if it’s a possibility for our year-round lineup or seasonal rotation.”

Coyle added the brewery has learned that it is good to have staples, but switching it up keeps things interesting in the market and allows opportunities for new and fun products to hit shelves. Although they love to let a seasonal live a good life, it is inevitable that palates change, and Payette has to change to grow.

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