Staying Authentic In a Changing Beer World

Adding cans to the portfolio for Montana’s Bayern Brewery has been determined by its consumers.

“The biggest reason why we have to go into can is we are an outdoor state: Fishing; floating down river, skiing, hiking … and a glass bottle is just not a good option to take on outdoor activities,” explained Brewmaster Thorsten Geuer. “So we wanted to keep the people in our brand. The only way through that is canning.

“There are plenty of options even for small runs to make that happen.”

Yet, Bayern likes to think of itself as a reusable glass-bottle brewery. So there is a quandary between wanting to do what the brewery thinks is right while also keeping up with how its consumers want to make purchases.

Getting cans on the shelves hasn’t been too hard because Bayern is a recognized name, and both convenience and big-box stores are willing to give some more space because the brewery is a proven commodity.

“But the consumer is on the other side,” Geuer pointed out. “You always hear that the can is the new golden child of the craft beer industry. If you want to play big you need to be in a can. And we did not see that the can — for us — does as well. It’s slowly coming along.”

H​e added that it’s always very important to stay authentic to your identity.

​”In marketing, stay true to your brand​,” he said​. ​”We are a German​ [beer]​ brewery. We speak German at the brewery. We order most of our ingredients in German. We are 100 percent metric.

​”​It’s a couple of weird things that we have going for us so I think it’s really important to recognize that, appreciate it, and don’t be afraid to use it.​”​

​Geuer ​said that founder and owner Jürgen Knöller ​also felt if ​the brewery wanted to have people stay in ​the brand, it needed​ to give ​consumers an offering that they would find in other places​ as well.​

“We came up with a label ​and​ called it ​’​Inconceivable​’​ because for a German brewery, it’s inconceivable things that we do​,” Geuer said​. ​”​We dry-hop, ​we’ve talked about adding fruit to ​beers ​… ​just ​to ​get​ us to​ a different level.

​”What we found out is the Bayern brand is best known for German-style beers. And although we have a following in that​ … I think if they are looking for a German​ beer​ or​ a ​Montana brand, they go to our staples​.”​

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