How the Speed of Storytelling is Evolving for Day at Jack’s Abby

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.

Rob Day​, VP ​o​f Marketing​, Jack’s Abby — Framingham, Massachusetts

BREWER: Why did you enter the craft beer industry and what makes you love being a part of it and staying in it?
DAY: I still recall my first experiences with craft beer back in college. My brother was visiting me while he was in the Marines and offered to buy whatever beer I wanted at the store. I grabbed some High Life and said let’s go.  He basically said that’s great, but lets try some other beers — Sam, Sierra and Stone of course. From that moment on I was hooked on the flavors that beer could be, and the stories were even more interesting. I wanted to work in craft beer immediately after graduating, but in 2007 there were not many marketing jobs in the business so I ended up on a different path. It took until 2017 for me to find my way over and I couldn’t be happier. I love working for a company and industry where your impact is felt. The community that fuels this industry is far from perfect, but there is so much good happening that I am still inspired.

BREWER: What do you feel have been new challenges in your position that have helped push you and make you better at your job?
DAY: The pace of change in craft beer has been pretty wild, especially lately. It has forced me to be more adaptable and creative to keep things moving. At the core, our job in marketing is to share the stories that make us who we are, but that path to storytelling is evolving fast. That pace is sped up by consumers changing tastes and cares as well. It keeps me on my toes and I love that.

BREWER: How has the definition of growth for your company evolved and how have you adjusted to be successful in that new definition?
DAY: Luckily, our founders are infamous for not defining success by “growth” in the traditional sense. Since I joined Jack’s Abby they have always talked about growth more as personal growth, perfection of the beers, development of our people, community and space, but never the raw, hard-driving yearly percent growth. So our definition has not changed, but I would guess that a lot more breweries are finding themselves in this definition now.

BREWER: What strategic growth opportunity do you feel is still “out there” for your brand and how are you working on capitalizing on it this year?
DAY: Lagers are trending up and that’s what we do!  We’ve been a Lager-only brewery for 11 years and the category is getting a little moment in the sun.  So we’re spending a lot of energy on education and sharing our process. If we do that right, we’re in a pretty good spot. A second and somewhat related answer is that experience will continue to be a driver. COVID deleted a lot of mechanisms for us for a time. They are coming back fast and people crave that. Our goal is to always share our beers in interesting ways and hopefully inspire others to join us.

BREWER: If you had one business strategy that you could implement to better the brewing industry, what would it be?
DAY: I think there are two equally critical issues to the long term health of our industry. So hopefully, I can get two wishes from this Genie. Wish 1 is to streamline and increase reliability of our entire supply chain, financing structures etc. As part of a craft industry, leaders are stretched thin as it is and each hiccup in price or supply chain disproportionately affects our industry. We’re spending so much time cleaning up messes that we don’t get the item to create and connect as we would like. This also leads to lower profitability which makes it harder to pay proper wages and build sustainable businesses. That further perpetuates many of the issues we face.
Second, I would diversify leadership positions across the industry immediately to give us a better perspective outside of our bubble. The industry was born from a niche corner and exploded from there, but it has not caught up in terms of reaching out beyond the initial group of people. I think this would help push for better paths to financing, more interesting products and experiences, and ultimately a bigger group of craft beer consumers.

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