The Ways Santa Monica Brew Works Pivoted Business Strategies to Get Product to Consumers

Sometimes when writing stories for the print issue, Brewer will get some snippets of information that don’t make the cut but are important enough that we feel our readers will benefit from reading them. Make sure to check out the Fundamental piece: “Look Forward to These Beer Trends in 2021” with New Realm and Santa Monica Brew Works in the November/December issue.

The pandemic this year forced Santa Monica to find new ways to get its products in customers’ hands. Its new online website and shipping capabilities within California have made it possible for the brewery to stay in the game. Customers are able to get beer shipped the next day or order for pickup.

“With the taps turned off, we knew that canned beer-to-go would be the most effective way to get our product in the hands of customers,” said Johnny Wardell, Marketing Director. “We implemented a series of limited-batch can releases exclusively available from our tasting room.”

Several of the special releases this year benefited philanthropies.

“With the help of our amazing customers, we’ve raised thousands of dollars to support frontline healthcare workers (Unsung Heroes IPA), help feed our homebound neighbors (Spread Love IPA), and combat racial injustice (Black is Beautiful),” Wardell said.

Moving forward, SMBW is putting emphasis on buying local. With the collaborations Rip City Skate’s IPA (in celebration of National IPA Day, a collab between Santa Monica’s first and only brewery, and the city’s last real skate shop) and Hot Dog on a Stick’s 310 Stomped Shandy (celebrating National Lemonade Day), SMBW plans to continue making efforts to include its neighbors.

“Buying local relates to a desire for authenticity and a sense of connection to one’s community – and we plan on more of these partnerships moving forward,” Wardell said. “Being nimble with our tactics and focusing on serving the needs of our customers and community has been key to navigating our business through the pandemic.”

With the outdoor beer garden finally reopened, SMBW has shifted its attention back to its taproom.

“We have, and will continue to turn more attention to upgrading software and systems that help us stay better connected between departments and stay current on inventory, forecasting, production, and sales trends,” Alex Josefowitz said, Director of Business Development and Strategy. 

What started with self distribution of one style locally has evolved into an increasing variety of styles and formats with distribution covering multiple states.

“This had already created a need for greater organization and flexibility, but during this pandemic it’s become critical to have accurate data visible to everyone at the brewery allowing us to adjust course efficiently,” Josefowitz said.

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