Is there a “Brewery Bubble” that’s about to burst in 2017?
In the US, the number of craft breweries has doubled since 2012.
This might be great for craft beer drinkers!
But it’s becoming a problem for many independent breweries.
Do You Want to Sell More of Your Beer, Secure the Future of Your Brewery, and Have More Fun Doing It?
If so, the Craft Brewery Owners Group (CBO) might be your bag, baby.
ATTN: Craft Brewery Owners, Investors, and Managers:
Many craft brewery owners are now facing cut-throat competition, declining taproom sales, shady distributors, over-crowded shelf space, fickle demand, location problems, and more.
Would you like to learn from a team of grizzled veterans and rapid risers how to sell more beer, achieve a comfortable profit margin you can depend on, and get the recognition your brewery deserves?
The Craft Brewery Owners Group (CBO) is an online mastermind and collaboration group, designed to be a powerful “war room” of top notch brewery owners across the US.
A ROUND-TABLE MASTERMIND OF PEOPLE WHO UNDERSTAND
CBO is a group for dedicated brewery owners who make kick-ass beer but who want to sell WAY more of it, make their brands remarkable, and make a real difference.
If you don’t make amazing beer, have fun doing it, and wish like hell you could sell a whole lot more while building an amazing brand story…
…then this group isn’t for you, and you can feel free to go back to brainstorming sarcastic hashtags for your next Instagram masterpiece (or whatever you were just doing before you got here.)
But if this does sound relevant to your situation, we have some exciting stuff to show you.
Is This You?
You might very well be in the top 5% of all craft brewers in the nation in terms of quality beer.
But amazing beer is by no means a guaranteed ticket to amazing profits.
If you make great beer, but have (ahem) a little room to grow in the profitability department, this group will have up to 50 people you may want to meet who have all agreed to be there to help you learn, improve, and make profitable changes on the business side of running your brewery.
Our resident brewery operations expert Jim Lueders (of BrewConsult and Wildwood Brewing, 30+ brewery start-ups, etc.) said,
“Every brewery owner needs this stuff, whether they know it or not. It’s multifaceted and extremely valuable.”
Here’s What This Group Is All About
We want to personally invite you to this “CBO” CLOSED DOOR online mastermind group. We plan to end up with around 50 of the nation’s leading craft brewery owners, investors, and managers.
The Best Part? It’s FREE. There is no charge to join. We are selective, because we want the group to be amazing. But we want this to be all value for our members, so it’s free.
Ask Yourself – What’s Your Vision For Your Brewery?
If you have no interest in selling more beer, growing your taproom sales, or working to find better ways to secure a profitable future for your brewery, that’s ok. You’re done here. No need to do anything else. You can stop reading right now, and I hope you enjoy the rest of your day.
But if being a part of something like this sounds interesting to you, here are the details about the group.
(Warning: Foul language alert! Sorry about it.)
CRAFT BREWERY OWNERS GROUP
Sounds like a bunch of hype, doesn’t it?
It might be hype. The data does show the craft beer industry is swinging back around to historic numbers once again.
We just topped 5000 breweries this year in the US.
The last time the number was that high was in the 1870s.
Between now and then?
A massive dip, down to a relative handful of breweries left in the US.
This was triggered first by Prohibition, and then by hostile consolidation of the macro breweries.
But now craft beer has caught back up. Beer drinkers’ tastes have changed. They want to drink quality craft beer, made by a local brewer.
Back in the day, every town had a brewery. How else would they have gotten beer to the people?
To me, rather than representing a “brewery bubble”, the number of independent craft breweries finally seems healthy again.
This is encouraging.
But they are still saying a growing number of breweries are struggling.
Craft breweries losing money. Even failing.
I can’t say I haven’t heard stories validating this.
Even where I live in Montana, where we have 6.5 breweries per capita, here’s what has proven to be true: Some breweries with serious craft beer gravitas are struggling financially.
Immaculate beer will no longer cut it on its own.
We’ve been seeing breweries with truly world-class beer failing financially.
Amazing, very high quality beer, yet the brewery is losing money.
Even if the beer they make is a balanced, sophisticated work of art? That’s not enough.
Even if their brewery was built with the owner’s own two hands, and is a masterpiece of efficiency and production? Nope, not enough.
Even if the owner’s vision for the future is ambitious, elegant, and sustainable? Still not enough.
The problem is, through no fault of the brewery owners…
Many craft brewery markets are now over-saturated.
The taproom isn’t as busy as it should be.
The shelves their beer sits on are beyond cluttered with noisy craft beer competition.
Their distributors have let them down. (Possibly even sabotaged them.)
Their foot traffic has dwindled….
Sam Calagione, Founder of Dogfish Head, had this to say about the craft beer industry:
“True craft brewers are brewers first, business people second.”
To me, this is noble. (I know some truly bonafide master brewers, and I respect the hell out of them.)
It’s just that it’s also a major fucking problem for an independent craft brewery. Especially if you’re in a crowded market like many breweries I’ve spoken to lately.
We’re Fighting The Good Fight
I couldn’t just sit back and let this continue to happen to these master brewers I respect so much. I had to do something.
So I started a group of rogue operators called CBO (Craft Brewery Owners), and we’re here to throw a wrench in the gears of the nasty competitive forces sinking local breweries.
“The mission of this group is to prevent pesky business and marketing matters from sinking otherwise badass independent craft breweries.”
We’re Working to Help Independent Craft Breweries Stay in Business
See, you might make insane beer. So good it’s become your baby.
You might have a stunning tap room. The best hang in your hood.
And you might love what you do. This is your dream life, to run this brewery.
But none of that matters if your beer isn’t reaching enough customers to make your brewery profitable.
What DOES matter? Two things. More on that below.
What’s in it for you?
You get access to:
- A comprehensive and customizable brewery marketing master plan. It looks like this. (See image.)
2. Training from experienced marketing experts with fresh, proven tactics and ideas.
3. The power of a mastermind group. If you’ve ever experienced the mind-blowing value of a high-level mastermind group, nothing more needs to be said. If you haven’t yet? Get excited. Get very excited.
4. Webinars, videos, educational articles, stories, case studies, examples, deals, collaborations, mind maps, strategies, tactics, and so much more.
What’s in it for us?
1. I run a marketing agency for craft breweries (StoryBrewing.com) and have another brand (GrowthShop.co) for other client industries. I offer marketing products and services, but only do business with companies who want to hire me. There are no paid products or services inside CBO, however there are sponsorships from StoryBrewing.com from time to time.
2. Jim Lueders consults with breweries and brewery startups to improve brewhouse efficiency and quality, among other things. As a resident expert, Jim will do some trainings inside the group. It will always be obvious that anyone who wants to hire him can do so at any time, but the group activities will not be salesy about it.
3. We get satisfaction from helping people and making a difference, we love the craft beer industry, and we love collecting and connecting a diverse and exciting group of people to try to make awesome things happen as often as possible.
Sound ok to you?
Now, before we go further, let’s STOP for a minute.
This is not a casual group. This is for craft brewery owners who want to make a real difference.
In CBO, we are working to provide craft brewery owners with solutions to some very serious problems. Here are a few examples of some recent issues we’ve seen craft breweries facing:
- Declining tap-room sales. How to turn this around.
- Distribution problems: Addressing the elephant in the room of whether distribution will actually be profitable, and whether there might be a conflict of interest at play.
- The common mistake of following a brewery business plan that depended on profitable distribution, foiled by an over-saturated local craft beer supply. (Worsened by the influx of new breweries since 2012, no less.)
- Lackluster performance from sales reps, depended on by the brewery owner to sell beer.
- Anti-competitive legal restrictions.
- Deep pockets roadblocking law changes the people want.
- Cooperation between distributors and their larger customers.
- Losing store and draft accounts, even with a big distribution contract.
- Old beer being distributed to store accounts, which harms the brand.
- And much, much more.
We Will Not Simply Rest On Our Laurels and Watch This Happen to More of Our Brewery Friends
We launched the Craft Brewery Owners (CBO) group to fight to give craft brewery owners pragmatic solutions to these and many other problems.
This might or might not be up your alley.
Gut Check Time: We’re looking for a very select handful of top brewery owners to join us in the group.
You might be one of the very best in terms of brewing chops, and there’s a good sign of that if you’ve been directed to this page.
But, is your brand where you want it to be? Are enough people connected to the story behind what you do? Is demand for your beer increasing? Is your taproom full enough? Do you have bulletproof marketing?
Who Are the People Behind the CBO?
I’m Seth Holdren, I’m the guy who started the group. We also have founding members and resident experts like Jim Lueders of BrewConsult, and Jessica Holdren (my wife) PLA, APA who is a site analysis expert and passionate student of marketing craft beer to women and fostering a family-friendly environment in the tap room.
I’ve already told you the story about why we started this group. (To combat the nasty forces working to sink my favorite craft beer brands, and all that.)
My expertise and experience are in the field of marketing.
I’ve spent the past 10 years hammering out marketing campaigns for brands.
I have case studies like tripling the revenue of an entertainment company in Nashville on Music Row in under two years. I’ve worked with some exciting brands, and frankly some really boring ones. And believe me, once you’ve tripled revenue for one of the less interesting brands, you’ve honed in on some major keys to marketing success working in a scrappy environment. You can use these keys to unlock serious profits when you’re doing the marketing for something that’s actually worth selling. (Like great craft beer, for example.)
But I no longer engage my skill-set in thriftless marketing campaigns. Now I only work on building campaigns for brands that align with my ideals and my personal opinion of what really matters.
The events that led up to the starting of this group caused my world to change dramatically.
Here’s what happened.
Although it proved to be incredibly beneficial to learn through trial and error about the keys to helping even uninspiring companies increase profits, last year everything changed for me.
The marketing company I run is called Growth Shop. As I was going about my normal business working to help brands grow, I found myself in a series of meetings with some of the most interesting people I have ever met.
There I was sitting across the table from some folks who REALLY didn’t deserve to go out of business.
Some of them had serious tragedies unfolding with their breweries, on the business side of things.
Some of these people were icons, renaissance men and women. Some I would even call unicorns of craft brewing. I’m talking about some TRUE master brewers here.
In terms of brewing world-class beer, these brewery owners were doing EVERYTHING so right.
Some of them had breweries who were critical successes, in terms of beer quality.
These were no boring brands. These were beautiful businesses that were TRULY WORTHY of succeeding.
But they were failing financially.
Perfect beer was not enough.
Things were looking grim.
The writing was on the wall.
These situations were clear. Either we turn things around fast, or it would all be over but the crying.
And believe me, if you tasted some of these beers, you too would have come close to tears at the thought of these breweries failing.
So I went to work on a master plan to turn it all around.
The key elements of those master plans became the foundation of this group.
The select few brewery owners who are members of this group get intimate access to this comprehensive brewery marketing master plan.
CBO members also get the advantage of the experience of others who have implemented or are in the process of implementing the plan for their own brewery.
If you want to grow your brewery, you will love seeing such a comprehensive, powerful, truly unique action plan. It’s all laid out for you at a glance, and it gives you the power to go DEEP implementing innovative brewery marketing tactics. It’s all inside the CBO group.
More on that in a minute. But first, let’s catch up with the only two factors that matter if you want to get your beer to reach enough customers to make your brewery more profitable.
There are two ways to make craft beer reach customers profitably:
2. Getting the story of your brand out there. (It’s the dreaded “M” word.)
Let’s break it down.
1. Luck: Some breweries started at the right time, in the right place, and got lucky.
For a while there, any new brewery could be one of the first in its chosen city. This meant customers flocked in your direction without any extra effort on your part, and the money flowed.
And any new brewery could simply send it’s beer to all the local store accounts, get stocked on the shelves, and sell out.
There was more demand for craft beer than there was product.
Not so anymore.
Now there are too many beers for the shelves.
The walk-in traffic has more choices…sometimes even two or three breweries right next door downtown.
And the key draft accounts are fighting off the eager breweries who want their kegs hooked up to the house taps.
Luck has dried up.
2. The Story of Your Brand (aka. marketing): Only a tiny sliver of breweries have amazing marketing.
But it’s fucking RARE.
A punk intern from the local U and a too-eager hipster bartender do not a marketing team make.
You need a master plan.
Not a moldy, old-school marketing plan implemented by a distractable marketing amateur. Marketing has CHANGED. DRAMATICALLY. The marketing plan must be FORWARD-THINKING.
Or worse yet, not someone with outdated marketing experience handling new marketing strategies. I’ll take an eager, curious amateur over someone clinging to outdated models any day of the week.
Not a silly social media manager posting in ineffective spurts on social media. This is marketing, and it effects the bottom line. We do not play games or delegate our marketing to the birthday party planning committee.
A bold, ballsy marketing game plan is REQUIRED.
A plan with NEW ideas.
A plan loaded with tactics proven to work RIGHT NOW.
This is the next thing we’re covering inside the CBO group.
Are you a good fit to join us?
Here’s who this is for.
1. You own, manage, or do marketing for an independent craft brewery.
2. Your brewery is actively trying to grow (or you plan to.)
3. You have a desire to focus on intelligent growth strategies.
4. Competition has increased in your area, and you want to differentiate your brand from the rest with the goal of increasing demand for your brand (along with increasing your profits.)
5. You are willing to cooperate and learn from other brewery owners and experts outside of your area, so you can figure out what works best right now.
6. You will work as part of the group to hold yourself accountable in working toward your goals, and be supportive of other members to do the same.
If you can say, “Hell Yes” to all 6 of these points, you might be a good fit to join us.
Who this isn’t for:
1. People who have a negative attitude about collaboration, intelligent growth, technology, profitability, marketing, or growth.
2. People who are not focused on making improvements to secure the future of their brewery.
3. People who are not an owner, manager, or key player for an independent craft brewery.
Our current cap limit is 1% of craft brewery owners in the US.
Right now membership is geographically exclusive. This means there can only be one craft brewery member in each geographical market. (Usually this means each metro area, ie. each city.)
So, if we already have a member in your city, unfortunately you will not be able to join. (Although if your city’s spot is full, you can talk to Seth to get on a waiting list to join if new spots open up.)
BREWERY OWNER’S GROUP TOPICS – UPCOMING MODULE
GOAL: To work toward securing the future of your brewery.
I. Freedom to get your beer to your customers without depending on:
a. A distributor’s…let’s just say “issues”
b. A sales team
c. Fickle demand
d. Shelf space changes
e. Walk-in traffic
f. Changes in beverage and alcohol laws
II. Achieving a comfortable profit margin you can depend on.
a. Eliminating uncontrollable and unpredictable fluctuations in revenue.
b. Knowing where to focus your efforts to achieve results.
c. Knowing what areas you can safely drop, so you can stop wasting time and resources there.
III. Earn the recognition you deserve:
a. In the industry
b. With craft beer drinkers
c. With the public in your city and state
d. With other local businesses
e. With other craftsmen
f. With your family and friends
g. With your competitors
IV. Leave a legacy by bringing your full vision into a reality
a. To leave a positive legacy in your city
b. To create jobs in a satisfying and rewarding way that adds value to your entire region
c. To develop a remarkable place and an atmosphere people will remember and come back to again and again
d. To associate your brand and your name with making a difference in people’s lives
1. How would you measure success in these areas?
2. What will it take to reach these goals? (Run the numbers.)
3. What are the action steps required to reach these goals?
Discussion: Are we in a “Brewery Bubble”? And if what some experts say is true, is it about to burst? (“Craft Beer’s Looming Crisis” – Lew Bryson) And if so, what can we do to secure a profitable future for our brewery on the other side.
The Brew Doctor’s Masterclass
Understanding Your Brewhouse Yield
With Jim Lueders
-BrewConsult & Wildwood Brewing
-Trained at Doemens Academy in Munich
-30+ brewery start-ups
1. Why brewhouse yield matters
2. How to calculate your brewhouse yield
3. How yield inefficiencies eat into brewery profits
BONUS FUNTIME: Bad IPA – There’s lots of bad IPA out there. Learn what signals inferior quality in an IPA, and what to do to fix it.
How To Join
If you become a member of the group in time for this next module, you get to attend these web events live, or “video master class” style.
This is just a taste of the process involved in the group and as a part of our brewery marketing system we’ve created. If any of these areas resonate with you, here’s how to join:
Click “Learn How To Join” below, and follow the quick and easy application process.
If you received this invitation and you’re a good fit for the group, we welcome you with open arms.
Although it’s not the fault of the brewery owner that this craft beer wave has reached a tipping point, there’s a lot to get serious about. There is good news, and plenty an individual brewery can do to remain profitable and secure a bright future in the industry. And that’s what this group is all about.
PS. If you have interest in the CBO Mastermind Group mentioned above, and there is still an opening in your region, I would encourage you to take the next step soon before the spot for your area is taken. It’s an easy application process (less than 5 minutes), and we’ll quickly determine whether we have a mutual good fit there.
One of our first topics is “Power Shift: How to get your beer to more customers without being at the mercy of a distributor.”
To learn how you can join us in the CBO group, tap or click the button below.