Strategies in Portfolio Planning

Perhaps contrary to popular belief, planning your brewery’s portfolio for the coming year allows for more, not less, flexibility according to Pike Brewing‘s Stasia Brewczynski. The Seattle institution was very successful in sharing a release calendar in late 2018, which gave an overview of the 2019 brew schedule.

“Once set, we did our best to stick to the schedule,” Brewczynski said, “not only because it helped set expectations for — and garner excitement — from our customers and buyers, but also because it made run more smoothly throughout the year for our production, marketing, and sales teams.”

Because the schedule was set so far ahead, Pike was able to find room in the brewing calendar to make some highly successful beers Brewczynski said the crew didn’t originally plan for.

Pike Hefe and Pike King of Cascadia IPA were examples.

“We brewed Pike Hefe in direct response to folks asking for a Wheat beer while dining in our restaurants,” she said. “We were thrilled to give our guests what they wanted.”

Pike King of Cascadia IPA was a collaboration with local co-op PCC Markets and brewed in support of nonprofit Long Live the Kings.

That collaboration was so popular that the brand is being expanded into a seasonal lineup of beers, including King of Cascadia Porter this fall and King of Cascadia Helles to be released in the spring.

Ecliptic Brewing Sales Manager, Erin Grey Kemplin​, said the brewery has started to plan further and further ahead each year.

​”​As we grow we have learned we cannot shoot from the hip as much as we used too​,” she said​. ​”​People need to know our plan well in advance.

​Ecliptic​ ha​s a plan set about ​four​ months before the end of the ​following year. ​Kemplin said it changes a little as the curve balls come​​ but not a lot.

​”When we have a winner it always comes back and may also influence other new beers we add to next year’s lineup​,” she said​. ​”​When​ something fails​,​ we are not afraid to set it free.​”​

Based on the success of last year’s approach, Pike has already nailed down a 2020 release calendar, which will be presented publicly as an attractive and informative visual aid adapted from the brewery’s 2019 version in late November or early December.

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