Monday, 22 February 2010

Market research and brainstorming

This is an odd post, I'm not going to give you any opinion at all. It is possible you know, occasionally I like to listen to what other people have to say.

Imagine you have just inherited a large amount of money, enough to set up a brewery to your own exacting specifications, enough so that for the first few years you don't need to make a profit. Imagine you have the ability and financial resources to make any beer you want, any style, any quantity and using whatever dispense method you like.

What would be the beers you would make? What would you call them and how would you package them? What style of label design would you have, closures and bottle shapes and sizes?

Would you try to recreate something somebody has done before but has ceased production? Would you try and develop new styles? Strong beers, weak beers or standard session beers? What would you do?

You can say anything you like, providing it doesn't mention the war. Golly, you can even suggest making beers with drinkability if you really want.


Melissa Cole said...

A game I've often mentally played just haven't gotten that inheritance yet!

Let's see - sessionability but not bland & boringly brown (like HopHead), a strong core range, quarterly seasonals and experimental monthly brews.

That's all I have time for and you probably have patience for right now!

BeerReviewsAndy said...

nice one! i would try to brew a decent range of beers that focused around a core set of 4 or 5 beers then a couple of odd specials or seasonal beers.

Id most certainly have a bit hitting IPA and a Stout of some sort in the main range, then something summery and a nice dark bitter.

Branding wise it's hard to describe but id keep it clean and simple with a little bit of an edge to it.

Id put them in some sexy bottles and make some simple pumpclips that stood out.

this would all be backed up by a website and blog that id build my self...obviously.

Whorst said...

Proper Real Keg Deluxe. Light filteration, no pasteurization.
Core range would be called Whorst Pist.

Mark Dredge said...

I've played this many times in my mind... It's a fun one.

I'd take a little US-style brewpub, a range of keg and cask, some beers probably dispensed on both. I'd want an all-round range and regular seasonals and some experiments. I'd have a Marble Pint/HopHead session pale, a nice best bitter, a hoppy brown, an oatmeal stout, a pale ale, a low-ABV pale (2%) and definitely a lager. Also, I'd want a range of stronger, bigger beers - 7% IPA, 9% imperial stout and barley wine, 10% DIPA. The seasonals would experiment with reds, single hop series, spices, fruit and extras, barrel aging, the usual stuff.

I like simple design, clean and informative with a list of ingredients. Marble meets Dogfish Head. I'd bottle them in a range of 330ml, 500ml and 750ml, I'd also use 330ml cans, if possible. As for the names... I like the idea of naming them after bands or books, though likely they would be named after their inspirations.

The mentality would be great beer, fun, playful, interesting and sometimes challenging. Variety is important but consistency and the core range is key. Food would be a big part of the brewpub.

Something like that anyway.

Crown Brewery said...

I'd do the same as I'm doing at crown now but I'd up grade to a new 10 brl brewery with all the trimmings proper bottling line, keging, no filtration (real beer). bottles would be swing top and i'd do 330ml, 500ml, 750ml and for really special one of beers I've seen some 3000ml swingtop bottles.

Alistair Reece said...

I did this over on Fuggled a while back, see this post:

A couple of changes I would make to my list though, would be to make Skippy Porter a seasonal, probably autumnal, and also replace Old Baldy with my Gael 80/-, perhaps that makes my core range more on the malt side than the hopheads would like.

I would of course have some seasonal specials:

A Wee Heavy, tentatively called Gael Force, from St Andrew's Day to Burns' Night.

A malty dunkelweizen, working name Dark Knight, for spring.

My LimeLight witbier from mid June to early September as a summer quaffer.

In terms of labeling, I have a soft spot for Socialist Realist art, so would perhaps go along those lines, lots of red and black, hard, straight lines. But then again I like gothic art, so so melding of the two would be interesting.

For bottled beers, everything would be bottle conditioned rather than force carbonated. Bottles would have crown caps, and a foil overlay. I would have three bottle sizes, 0.35l, 0.5l and 0.75l.

I would of course, in light of my rant today, invest in a very good website, with a reliable ecommerce section for beer and merchandise.

Paul Garrard said...

think I'd want to recreate a brew from yesteryear. Perhaps Watneys Red Barrel before it went keg.

Paul Garrard said...

I'm serious by the way.

Eddie86 said...

Although I'm new to the brewing side, I have a couple of ideas.

The brewery will be called Hay Brewery. I'd keep my session ale, which I currently brew at Breconshire Brewery called Kilvert's Gold (3.7), I'd have a malty 4.0-4.3% brew, called Bluff (so the pump clip reads 'Hay Bluff') and a 5 .0% ale, Hay Happy I think (although the name is definitely up for a change) which would be a hoppy, IPA style of beer.

Seasonal I'd play on local events - Perhaps a ginger beer for Hay-on-Fire, a 'Festival Ale' for the Hay Festival, and a full on stout or porter for the winter season.

If money was no object I'd certainly do a genuine IPA - send it halfway around the world and back again before sale.

Having said that, this year I'll be happy to get the brewery open...

ZakAvery said...

I'd go small batch, and seasonal, with no core range - there are enough brilliant regular beers (session or otherwise) on the market already.

All the beers would be slightly amped-up versions of what they should be, a bit like Nogne O, who seem to take every style known to beerkind and produce a slightly exaggerated archetype of it. Sour mash porter, vanilla sloe stout, hopfenweizen - unconventional, intense and super-premium.

There would be a waiting list for the beers, and you'd all be on it.

Brewers Union Local 180 said...

Hey, I'm doing that very thing. Minus the lack of requiring income for a couple of years. Oh, and the inheritance bit - that never came through. But that's what home equity and credit cards are for, right?

I'd do exactly what I'm doing, except I'd order a few more casks and have more space on stillage. A nice small jacketed conical would be nice for playing with interesting yeast strains.

Ron Pattinson said...

I'd brew exclusively extinct German beer styles: Broyhan, Keute, Rheinish Bitterbier, Berliner Weisse.

Obviously no-one would buy or drink them, but you said it didn't have to be a profitable business.

Cooking Lager said...

I wouldn’t buy a brewery, Dave, Sorry. It just doesn’t interest me. If the money was enough for a brewery I think I’d treat myself to a foreign villa and invest the rest in something that would actually give me a return. If it’s any consolation I would consider myself rich enough to cut back on the cheap lout (not give it up, I could never entirely give up a can of cheap lout) and occasionally drink more expensive grog and might even find myself near the FleigerBrau, brewpub, necking copious glasses of the Weiss.

Unknown said...

We're house-buying at the moment and one requirement is a garage or a shed that's large enough to brew in. Whether I'm any good at it remains to be seen.

I'd want a range of regular beers. Bottled, but cask for local drinking too. To please Mr Lager I'd have a pils, a Helles and an Oktoberfest style stronger lager. The ales would be a strong IPA, a blonde ale and something a little more chewy. And a couple of stouts - maybe one being a chocolate.

That's sufficient regulars. The irregulars might be seasonal or just something fun.

Fingers crossed this becomes a reality. There's an offer in on a house so with luck I could be brewing for a hobby by the summer. I might even start blogging then...

Bob said...

My core range would be a 5% Pale ale, a 7.5% IPA and a 10% DIPA, all sold in 375ml or 750ml champagne bottles with cork and wire cage. I'd also do cask and real keg, in an effort to get into places that don't do cask.

As for branding, labels etc, I'd get my rather talented wife to do all of that for me. Premium styling, packaging etc, for a premium product.

I'd look to do a range of seasonals and one offs once I was up and running.

Unknown said...

What a great lot of ideas there. Too many to comment on everybody.

I think I like Zak's the best, so much so that I wonder if he's been reading my mind.

Oh and Ron, I said, you don't have to make any money so it doesn't matter if anybody else wants to drink them, although I'd try them just to see what they are like. Same goes for Paul Garrard - one assumes people must have liked Watneys Red Barrel once.

ZakAvery said...

Dave, other than the fact that you have the time, inclination, experience and equipment, I can't imagine for a second that you'll beat me to it.

Stonch said...

...for the first few years you don't need to make a profit

That'd be a pretty sad enterprise... not because making money is everything, but because any brewery/pub business that couldn't make money in that time would have to be very unpopular or possessed of a Pamela Anderson-style platinum floor.

If something's good, it'll generally be popular, and if you've done your maths right it'll make money...

Unknown said...

Jeffrey, you are not wrong, of course, but how terribly unromantic.

The Beer Nut said...

Interesting that no-one has yet mentioned the pub itself. I think mine would have to be in an interesting building, and the kit has to be integral to the layout, so no matter where you're sitting you can see beer-making stuff. And, preferably, serious-looking people in white coats and wellies.

The whole point of a brewpub, for me, is to give that sense of What You're Drinking Came From HERE. If there's space for ingredients to grow on the premises, that's a must.

Ed said...

When I was between brewing jobs I had a lot of time for homebrewing, which of course has no real financial pressurs. If I can remember rightly I made:

A barley wine
Premium bitters
Best bitters
A porter
A stout
Unhopped ales
A chai tea flavoured beer
A double IPA
A golden ale
A spicy xmas beer

If I was doing it commercially I'd get the core range of cask beers sorted: the best and premium bitters and the golden ale. On top of that I'd then have the constantly changing range as the mood suits me, some would be bottled and the weaker ones may be filtered but the stonger ones would be bottle conditoned.

Washy said...

Quite simply I would buy the Woolpack in Boot, shut the brewery, and turn it into a health food restaurant offering small-portion meals and non-alcoholic liquidised vegetable-based beverages. Cos let's face it that is the future.

myBrewerytap said...

I'd like to create a world bar of beers. This would be within an existing historic building in the north of england preferably close to (if not in) a railway station. Downstairs in the basement (with vaulted celing) would be a european bar styled on a beer keller with long tables and selling the best of belgium, germany and the continent. On the ground floor would be a british real ale house, at least 10 guests all on hand pull, victorian styled interior (genuine mosaic tiled floor etc..). This floor would also house a working show brewery visible from the main bar. The top floor would be an american/row themed craft beer bar with at least 3 beers on draught at anyone time and a massive back bar area full of as many different bottles as we could source and stock. I intend to have this done within the next 10 years :)

Anonymous said...

Easy Woolpack,this is my fricking dream. I've been playing the lottery every week in hopes of this exact reason.

Anyway, for house brewed beers I'd offer the following line up:

-Hoppy Northern California Style IPA
-Creme Kolsch or a Paffgen-style Kolsch
-Imperial Alt
-Oatmeal Stout
-Mexican-style Cerveza
-A Big Red Ale
-California Style Tripel
-California Common
-Black IPA

Guest Beers
Ale Smith - X
Avery _ The Reverend
Russian River - Damnation
Drakes - 1800
Anderson Valley - Boont Amber

Bottle Beers
Chimay Red & White
Westmalle - Tripel
Saison Dupont
Fantome Saison
Le Fin Du Monde
Stone Guardian
Brooklyn Brewing Lager

The food would be a meeting of Ad Hoc (Thomas Keller) family-style plates meet Momofuku (David Change) meet Booby Flay's Summer BBQ and fresh veggies. And, of course, some kick ass deserts with tons of chocolate.d

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

No beer ever brewed twice, but always; a drinking ale, a speciality beer of some kind & a sipper on tap.
I would lose interest a little if I had to brew the same beer again & again. Having said that, if everyone kept asking for that one brew I did that they loved then that would change my mind.
I would brew if other people didn't enjoy what I made.

Rob Nicholson said...

I'd copy the Watermill Inn in Ings, ban children and open up a campsite opposite. Would be laughing all the way to the bank.

Cheers, Rob.