How Ivanhoe Park is Focusing on Data to Refine Business Strategy

This is a part of a continuing series of Q&As with members of the brewing community from across the US. 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.

Glenn Closson, Founder, Ivanhoe Park Brewing Co. — Orlando

BREWER: How have recent challenges in your position helped make you better? What were those “pain points” and how did you solve or adjust to the issue?
CLOSSON: Recent challenges, notably supply chain disruptions and market fluctuations, prompted a comprehensive review of our existing contracts and agreements with suppliers, distributors, and partners. Revisiting these contracts allowed us to identify areas for renegotiation, introducing more flexibility to adapt to evolving market dynamics. Adjusting clauses related to delivery schedules, pricing structures, and termination terms provided us with greater resilience in navigating unforeseen challenges. These proactive measures have strengthened our position to address future uncertainties effectively.

BREWER: What has been your brewery’s most recent accomplishment and how is it going to improve your business going forward?
CLOSSON: Our most recent accomplishment was the successful launch of a series of limited-edition collaborations with local breweries, produced for Return to Joyland, our Anniversary Beer Festival. We were able to brew four different collaboration beers with other local breweries to be served at the festival, alongside 40+ additional Florida breweries that came out. These partnerships have not only expanded our reach and brand visibility but have also fostered a stronger sense of community among craft beer enthusiasts. This collaboration series has shown promise in enhancing our market positioning and attracting a more diverse customer base, all while supporting our local craft beer community.

BREWER: How did you start in the industry and why do you still want to be a part of it?
CLOSSON: My journey into the craft brewing industry began out of a passion for creating unique and high-quality brews as a home brewer. It started as a hobby, evolved into opening my first brewery in Southern California, and eventually led to opening Ivanhoe Park Brewing Co. in Orlando, Florida. The industry’s creativity, innovation, and the vibrant community of craft beer enthusiasts continually inspire and motivate me to stay involved.

BREWER: What are you sippin’ on right now from your brewery that you really enjoy?
CLOSSON: I’m currently enjoying in our Urayasu Rice Lager, a refreshing blend of premium rice and barley malt. Its balanced flavors and clean finish truly showcase the craftsmanship and dedication of our brewing team. The beer is named after Urayasu, Japan: Orlando’s Sister City.

BREWER: Be it in styles, ingredients, business strategies, or sales & marketing techniques, what are some recent industry trends that you’ve tried or are excited about trying this year?
CLOSSON: We’ve been actively exploring innovative sales and marketing techniques, capitalizing on digital platforms to expand our reach and engage our audience. Emphasizing community-driven initiatives and storytelling, we aim to forge deeper connections with our patrons. Additionally, we’re refining our business strategies to include data-driven approaches for better customer insights and streamlining operations. Our focus is on leveraging strategic partnerships and collaborations to increase brand visibility and reach new markets. This year, we’re particularly excited to dive into customer-centric loyalty programs, with our Annual Passholders, and targeted campaigns that align with evolving consumer preferences, aiming for sustained growth and enhanced customer experiences.

BREWER: What are some adaptations to business practices in the industry that you’ve observed over these past few years, and how has your brewery adjusted to stay competitive?
CLOSSON: Over the past few years, there has been a noticeable shift toward more direct-to-consumer sales, emphasizing the importance of taproom experiences and online engagement. To remain competitive, we’ve increased our focus on enhancing customer experiences through unique taproom events, expanding our online presence with a full e-commerce site shipping our merchandise across the US, and offering exclusive brewery experiences to our loyal patrons with summer and holiday outings that also support accounts. This approach aims to create lasting relationships and drive customer loyalty in an increasingly competitive market.

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