The Challenges Associated With Variety Packs

One option for packaging a new beer after you’ve added it to your lineup is including it in a variety pack.

Making such a move may seem like a good way to increase novelty while simultaneously exposing your audience to the new beer and other established beers in your lineup, but the strategy comes with challenges.

Mother Earth Brew Company recently added Cali Creamin’ Peaches & Cream to its lineup of cream ales, and chose to give customers two ways to purchase the product: either on draft or as part of a variety 12-pack that includes the other two beers in the lineup.

“We had been planning a third Cali flavor, as well as a Cali-themed variety pack for a while, sort of in tandem, as they were both two of the most requested items, but we didn’t have another Cali Creamin’ variant in the 12 oz format that we could introduce the packs with,” Director of Marketing Kamron Khannakhjavani said. “So, as it turned out, we were able to bring both to market simultaneously.”

The decision to release as part of a variety pack was not one the brewery took lightly. There were a lot of moving parts to consider, Khannakhjavani said.

“It’s actually a pretty big deal. There are a lot of considerations. On the production side, you have to ensure equipment compatibility, box size and materials and how those factors are going to influence your COGS,” he said. “Of course a lot of that is also driven by the retailers and what size they want to see on the shelf. We obviously don’t want to produce something that doesn’t work with their schematic.”

Quality control and labor were additional wrinkles involved with releasing the beer to market as part of a variety pack.

“It does require considerably more hands to get these packed correctly which adds to our cost,” he said. “Attention to detail is critical. We have to make sure we are managing our inventory correctly so that we are always packing the freshest beer possible which presents challenges when you are talking about three different beers with three different packaging dates. 

“That’s just the tip of the iceberg, but in summary, yeah it has been months and months of planning with multiple parties involved from almost every wing of the business.”

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