Why Cans Continued for Bruz After Pandemic Push

This is a part of a continuing series of Q&As with members of the brewing community from across the US.
Brewer Magazine will share business and personal insights from Brewmasters, Head Brewers, Brewing Managers, Sales Directors, QCQA Managers and others each weekend to help you get to know each other better in the industry and learn more to better develop your own brand.

Kristin Zednik, Operations Manager, Bruz Beers — Denver

BREWER: Why did you enter the craft beer industry and what makes you love being a part of it and staying in it?
ZEDNIK: I entered the craft beer industry because I needed a career change from my Wind Turbine Technician days. I have always been infatuated with the history, chemistry and recipes of beer. I wanted/had to learn more. What I got was a career I love! I now have a family that spans the world and a language that you can understand anywhere. I stay, because no matter how hard it gets this industry is in it together, unlike other industries whose sole purpose is money and forcing each other out. This industry is about helping and supporting each other along the way. And let’s be honest, it’s a hell of a lot of fun!

BREWER: What do you feel have been new challenges in your position that have helped push you and make you better at your job?
ZEDNIK: The biggest challenges have come from COVID and learning how to navigate the ever changing environment. I had to adapt in ways that I never even knew possible until the pandemic hit.

BREWER: How has the definition of growth for your company evolved and how have you adjusted to be successful in that new definition?
ZEDNIK: Before the pandemic, Bruz was very local. You couldn’t find us many places outside of Denver. We only self-distributed kegs and on occasion crowlers or cases of bottles. Never cases of cans. When we were forced to shut our doors we had to scramble to find a way that would keep us competitive and survive. Thus, as so many others in our industry did, we turned to canning. It was a game changer. I fully believe it helped us survive and maybe even thrive. I jumped in with both feet and helped in any way I could to make this new direction a success. Whether that was helping can the product, sell cans through the taproom, deliver our cans, or promote/market our new offerings. We once thought canning would be temporary for us, but not anymore. Cans are and will continue to definitely be one of our top sellers.

BREWER: What strategic growth opportunity do you feel is still “out there” for your brand and how are you working on capitalizing on it this year?
ZEDNIK: We have already started, but getting our brand to other parts of the state than just Denver and the immediate surrounding areas. I love self-distribution, but it has a limiting factor of how far we are able to get ourselves out there. The more partnerships/collaborations we can form the better for us and them.

BREWER: If you had one business strategy that you could implement to better the brewing industry, what would it be?
ZEDNIK: If I knew how or had the power I would make it easier to get beer distributed across state lines. Nothing sucks more than finding an awesome brewery on a trip, being unable to take any of the beer back with you, and then on top of that no luck getting it/finding it in your home state. Unless you’re a big brand it’s almost impossible to find other states’ beer in a different state than their own.

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