Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Craft Beer as a cutting edge industry.

Given craft beer's roots in ancient brewing arts, and brewers pride in rejecting modern methods its not the first place one would look when searching for a cutting edge industry. However i mean cutting edge marketing practices. Notice how you never see a billboard advertising Dogfish Head, or Stone, or Smutty nose, etc etc. Yet these breweries thrive. The reason they do so well is the Internet. Sites like, and have thriving communities of forum members who all share a common love for craft beer. Its this large group that drives the sales for these beers.
Take Beeradvocate, of which i am a proud member, they hold some of the biggest, and best beer festivals in the nation, and nearly all of the people who attend learn about it through the 'net.
Three Floyd's Brewing and Surly, both have beers, Dark Lord and Darkness, respectively, that are only sold one day a year. Thousands of people show up, to buy one beer, and where do they hear about it, the Internet.
Brouwerij Westvleteren, a Belgian monastery, brews what many consider to be the finest beer on the planet Trappist Westvleteren 12. Its not even sold outside the brewery with the exception of one small pub nearby. In order to get one you have to go to Belguim and by it, or "bootleg" it through a mail order site and pay almost a hundred bones a bottle after shipping. Very obscure beer, but at the top of most "best beer in the world" lists. The only reason this is possible is due to the inter net.
Beer geeks as we tend to refer to ourselves are generally tech savvy, and gravitate to the Internet. This has put the craft brew industry in a very good positionto capitalize on this, and they have with a vengeance. Stone brewing, came to Jacksonville mostly because people heard about their beer, and tried it while on trips to California and other places and then bugged the local distributors until they brought it here.
I know of no other industry so driven by the Internet, which is amazing considering most craft beer is bought at bars and bottle shops, there is very little actual Internet commerce going on. I mean i know a few people trying it in other industries Gary Vaynerchuk is doing a helluve job in the wine world but he is in the minority. I would suggest anyone trying to survie in a niche market take note.

1 comment:

  1. That's actually pretty cool. Like you said, the average person wouldn't equate beer with IT. I wonder what other niches are out there that the net is bringing together.