Has Slower Growth Changed Your Business Perspective?

With more entrants to the market it seems that individual growth has slowed down for many craft breweries. Most of the big numbers in growth in terms of volume can be seen from smaller companies where the growth percentage is high even though the barrels produced is it still low.

But has it changed the way that a brewery views how to be competitive?

“I am not sure we have done anything different to be competitive, we tend to look more internal versus external,” said Creature Comforts CEO Chris Herron. “One of the keys for us is quality, consistent, fresh beer. We put a lot of focus on the freshness of our beer in the market as it helps ensure we are getting real, organic volume and that our consumers are getting the best possible experience with our product when they try it at retail.”

Ska Brewing COO Steve Breezley believes what is considered successful growth has changed in the past couple of years for many breweries.

“We’ve talked about this, and we don’t view success based upon how many markets we’re in, or our overall barrelage,” he said. “We want to be successful in making our company better for our employees — helping them grow individually, and improving salaries and benefit packages.” (Read more from Breezley after he became Ska’s new COO here.)

Mad River Beer Rainbow 800x300

Chasing volume is a dangerous game, and less sustainable than chasing the goal of building a quality brewery,” said Herron.

“The goal should be to keep improving in all that you do, and let the output of that improvement be potential volume growth,” he said. “It is really the only long-term sustainable option.”

Although Mad River Brewing has a reputation of quality and consistency, Marketing Director Tera Spohr said she still thinks the brewery needs to offer new styles and follow trends.

“Because even loyal consumers look to try that something new even if it’s in addition to their standard favorite,” she said.

Breezley added that lifestyle and culture are intertwined at the brewery, and success can also be defined if people at the brewery are living the lives they want to.

“It doesn’t need to correlate to more barrels sold, but if that happens, that’s okay too,” Breezley said. “We just don’t want to rely on that growth to feel successful.”

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