Friday 29 November 2013

Christmas Gimmicks

One of the jobs Ann and I spend quite a lot of time doing is getting on the phone, or emailing distributors to encourage them to order our beer. A conversation with one of our favourite distributors recently about taking some beer indicated that they were mainly busy with Christmas novelty beers rather than wanting to deal with our stuff.

I'm not into seasonal novelty stuff as a way of selling my beer. I'd rather be known as someone who makes beers that are interesting and different in their own right, rather than because they have a twee Christmas pun, seasonally festive name or has a label with holly and ivy twined upon it's graphics.

Our line-up is well adorned with beers that are suitable for the winter months, or for giving away as presents or even to get in to keep you going as regular beers, but they just haven't got specific Christmas themes.

It's too late to change that for this year. I'm reluctant to do anything about it for next year for fear of established Hardknott fans. Really, does good beer need seasonal nonsense to sell?

So, my blog reading friends, what should I do? Should I fall in with the myriad of nonsense that happens at this time of year? Sell my soul to the devil that forms the rest of the hogwash that you all seem to be falling for? Or are there enough people out there that are outraged by this sort of novelty who are offended by the Christmasification of good beer?


Cooking Lager said...

A lot beer isn't bought by geeks or enthusiasts.

It is bought by mums on behalf of kids wishing to give dad/uncles/grandad a xmas present other than socks or a top gear dvd.

What bloke doesn't like a few beers? It suits a range of pockets from a couple of bottles to a case or two of the stuff. From pocket money to a bob or two more.

What beer to buy these relatives? Something with a picture of Santa on in a beer style you know Uncle Dave likes to drink.

What the size of this market is relative to the geek/enthusiast market I don't know. I do know that over 80% of male clothing is bought by women for husbands, lovers & sons. It surprised me at the time then actually didn't when I thought about the clobber I had on.

Maybe the people knocking out novelty beer are thinking about the person buying the product, not the person drinking it.

Unknown said...

Cookie, I do understand that. So, do you think next year I should do a Christmas novelty beer then?

If so, any ideas?

I'd still work that there would be some people who might turn against us if we did. Is it worth it?

StringersBeer said...

"Dad's Beer" you can have that. You'll sell a shedload.

Unknown said...

I liked your idea from a couple of years ago. What was it? Batteries Not Included I think.

StringersBeer said...

Ah, yes. I dunno about event-themed beers. (Let's not call 'em "novelty") The window's narrow, and there's always a lot of competition. Nothing wrong with a genuine "seasonal" though. People looking forward to the release of the special winter / May / autumn / anniversary beer? Charming. I forgot to do anything special this year - it's a bit late to do anything other than rebadge something, which would be a bit corny perhaps. But heck, if it sells nice beer to someone who'd otherwise buy something else...

Phil said...

Seasonal is the way to go, if you remember to do it in time. Think of a name involving 'Yule' or 'Saturnalia' or something and you're sorted - both bases covered.

Unknown said...

Anyway, what's wrong with a Top Gear DVD? Except everyone, who's anyone, has BluRay these days.

Baz said...

Agree with the seasonal idea above. Many buyers of veg, fruit and yes beer (Windsor & Eton Brewery have a stall) down my farmers market are also there because they like to buy what is in season. I don't see anything wrong informing your customers that a particular beer is seasonal with a name. But please no puns.
You have a great opportunity as a small producer to attract the impulse buyer with a Winter-specific bottle (let's not use word novelty, it implies lack of depth) who then may go on to become the Hardknott regular.

Unknown said...


I use the word novelty because I think some really are just that. It's not about the beer at all, but a label or silly pun.

Seasonal, relevant and intelligent beer names are a different matter. As I say, I really did like Stringers "Batteries Not Included" - and if you know the brewery and the people you would recognise that it's a clever reference to their use of renewable energy, as well as a subtle Christmas reference. Also, because of it's subtly, it's best before date isn't Boxing Day.

So, until I come up with an idea that is as good as that, I rather think I'll stay away. Beer concepts that insult the intelligence of my fans are something I'd like to avoid.

To fit my criterion it would have to be relevant to Hardknott and have a slightly less time constrained concept.

Saturnalia, however, has merit. (I had to Google it) Thanks Phil.

Cooking Lager said...

If you make a beer called chemical fizz i will buy a case of it ;)

Paul Bailey said...

Ebenezer. Totally anti Christmas yet absolutely Christmas :-)