Why Godley Needs to Stay Nimble in Plans for Parish

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.

Andrew Godley, president, founder/owner, Parish Brewing — Broussard, Louisiana

BREWER: Why did you enter the craft beer industry and what makes you love being a part of it and staying in it?
GODLEY: COVID changed our business dramatically and forced us to never assume existing sales will be there in future. After operating the brewery for 10 years in a fairly consistent and predictable manner of where we sell and who we sell to, the forced shutdowns of bars are restaurants (our keg business, 50% of our volume) dried up overnight and forced change. Now my job as the person holding the steering wheel at Parish requires me to keep us capable of changing directions or staying nimble. We don’t want to have all of our eggs in one basket, so to speak. The beer industry will always change and we can’t rely on one product or one method of selling forever. Its smart to have the ability to evolve!

BREWER: What are some recent trends in brewing that you’ve tried or are excited about trying?
GODLEY: Our head brewer and Master Cicerone Ryan Speyrer recently discovered thiolized Lager yeast strains and after an initial impressive test we are very pumped to try to turn the amazing fruit profile of this yeast into commercial products that are innovative. I don’t know that this is a trend yet, but we hope to make it one!

BREWER: What was your business’s greatest accomplishment during the past year, and what are your goals for your brewery this year?
GODLEY: This is a tough question to answer, there have been so many challenges met here at Parish in the past year. I would say the greatest recent accomplishment is having the highest rated Hazy Double IPA in the world on Untappd, the most widely used beer rating app. DDH Ghost in the Machine has really earned a huge following from fans around the world and we feel so fortunate and humbled to have that product be ours. I would also point to the accomplishment of keeping Parish profitable with stable revenue even in the teeth of inflationary issues hurting all breweries. Even with wholesale sales in grocery stores and bars taking a large hit across the market, we maintained our revenue from 2020 and 2021. Also we were able to grow our brewery taproom revenue this year. I know that customers are being very picky with where they spend their beer dollars now with everything being so expensive at stores and we are fortunate to have a good year where we still maintained or grew our revenue even after 13 years in business and without adding new markets. Our biggest challenge in 2023 will be to manage steeply rising costs at the brewery. We expect this to be a major issue for every brewery. 

BREWER: What are some changes in the industry that you’ve observed in the past few years, and how has your business adapted to stay competitive?
GODLEY: Direct to consumer sales (DTC) is probably the biggest industry change I’ve seen recently. Very interesting how it has occurred, it isn’t legal in all states, but lots of brewers are trying to figure out how to do it profitably and how to keep it going. For high end, more high-priced products, I think it is the future of beer sales. The laws will continue to evolve and allow access to more consumers in more states and I am going to make sure Parish is prepared for that. Earlier in 2022 we launched DTC sales in nine states and it has really been a wonderful addition to the sales of our more limited and high end beers, in addition to regular sales of Ghost in the Machine. We use traditional wholesaler partners to sell our beer in all Gulf South states from Texas to Georgia and Florida, but in places where we don’t have interest (yet) in traditional distribution, DTC offers us a great way to profitably build our brand and develop strong relationships with new consumers that want whatever new hotness we are brewing next.

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