Brewer Magazine Q&A: Chris Labbe, Periodic Brewing

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.

Chris Labbe, Co-founder and President, Periodic Brewing — Northglenn, Colorado

​BREWER: ​How do you feel your job has had to adapt in the beer market compared to a few years ago?
LABBE: ​The biggest adaptation is attempting to keep up with trends and a constant supply of new and improved ingredients, cleaning and quality supplies.

BREWER: ​Who is your mentor in the industry and why? What have you learned from them?
LABBE: ​We are very fortunate to have a strong network of breweries and owners that support each other. There isn’t just one person I turn to when I have questions. However, we have known Eric and Cinzia Wallace of Left Hand Brewing since well before the move to join the brewing industry and they were vary gracious with their time and advice as we got started.

BREWER: ​Can you share a success story that you are proud of in your job or maybe a story of how you learned from a situation that has altered your thoughts on how you do your job now?
LABBE: ​Negotiating our way past a national craft brand to become the beer sponsor for a very large race series that happens in Leadville has turned out to be a big win. It took some convincing that we could support all of the events properly and that it was better for community perception to bring on the tiny local brand. The reception from the race participants has been great and the Leadville taproom is finally up in sales compared to the past three summers.

BREWER: ​Can you touch on something your brewery has added lately that’s unique or making your business more successful (it could be equipment, technology or people)?
LABBE: ​I resisted on of the biggest trends in the Colorado beer scenes … canning.  Once we shifted our primary products to cans we have seen a much better reception by liquor stores as well as internal sales of 6-packs to go.

BREWER: ​If you had one business strategy that you could implement to better the brewing industry, what would it be?
LABBE: ​Pricing. It seems strange to me that we, as consumers, do not hesitate to grab a $2 water or soda or a $3 energy drink, yet consumer demand continues to insist that beer should be on the shelf well below this. The only way to thrive in this pricing environment is volume, yet volume takes time and requires significant and constant investment. As a small brewery we are taking big risks that the brand will work in the distribution market with our investments from the past couple of years.

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