Brewer Magazine Q&A: Michael Lalley, Perrin Brewing

This is a part of a continuing series of Q&As with brewers from across the U.S.
Brewer Magazine will share business and personal insights from Brewmasters, Head Brewers, Brewing Managers and others each weekend to help you, a fellow brewer, Brewmaster or brewing manager get to know each other better in the industry and learn more to better develop your own brand.
Michael Lalley, National Brand Manager, Perrin Brewing​ — Comstock Park, Michigan​

BREWER: What is a lesson learned within your position that sticks with you to this day?
LALLEY: Be Flexible. There’s a lot of moving parts in this industry. Internally we deal with Production, Sales, Marketing and the Taproom/Brewery dynamics. Externally we deal with Distributors and Retail. If you’re not nimble enough to make changes on the fly, then you’re in a tough place.

BREWER: Who is your mentor in the industry and why? What have you learned from them?
LALLEY: Keith Klopcic is my mentor. He’s been in the beer industry since he was born, and his experience and expertise are second to none. Ultimately Keith has taught me the value in being decisive. Have the ability to be flexible, but BE DECISIVE.

BREWER: What have you added to your brewery lately (concepts, equipment or technology) that’s unique or making your business more successful?
LALLEY: We’ve been lucky enough to have state-of-the-art brewing equipment and expert brewers for nearly all of our six years. What we’ve been working on recently is implementing and executing our company culture. As an industry, we sometimes forget that the human resources we have are our greatest strengths.

BREWER: In today’s business climate for craft beer, how do you feel your brewery will grow?
LALLEY: Innovate or die. We’re lucky enough to have very strong flagship brands, but without the additional innovation, people tend to look elsewhere. Craft consumers have yet to show the same brand loyalty that their domestic drinking brethren have, so we have to keep them constantly engaged with the brand.

BREWER: What sort of innovations in craft beer excites you?
LALLEY: I am a big fan of Sour beers, and with the expansion of the Session Sour category, it allows a much lower barrier of entry to the category. By allowing the consumer a chance to walk before they run into the world of Sour beer, hopefully, that will allow that category to continue to grow. With a growing category we will see people striving for excellence, and hopefully, that means I get to try more and more amazing Sours!

BREWER: If you had one strategy that you could implement to better the craft beer business as a whole, what would it be?
LALLEY: Button Up! Relationships are key to any business, but the beer industry has sometimes lacked the professionalism that other large industries possess. I definitely don’t want anyone on my team wearing a shirt and tie to work but know your audience. Most importantly, be prepared!

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