Homebrewers Association | AHA Forum

General Category => General Homebrew Discussion => Topic started by: Mike V. Sardina on December 13, 2013, 08:58:42 PM

Title: Commercial Breweries Supporting the Homebrew Community
Post by: Mike V. Sardina on December 13, 2013, 08:58:42 PM
I recently attended a homebrew seminar event that was held at a commercial brewery, here in San Diego, California.  To me, the event had both positive and negative aspects...

On a positive note: the brewery opened its doors to the homebrew community, and the instructor (an employee of the brewery) provided some fantastic knowledge about the homebrewing process, about beer ingredients, and about homebrew in general.  In addition, the class featured a discussion that compared brewing on the homebrew-level with brewing on the commercial-level -- this discussion provided a unique and direct comparative look at homebrewing versus commercial brewing, and it was educational for both the beginner and more-seasoned brewers in attendance.

On the negative note: the seminar was focused quite a bit on featuring the commercial brewery's beer, its brand, and its history.  There was almost as much of brewery-specific content that was presented as there was material about homebrewing.  Also, there was a certain level of disingenuity involved in the presentation -- for example, it was clear that the batch of wort involved in the seminar would be dumped down the drain, and that the beer would never actually be fermented. It seemed odd to not actually finish the batch of beer...

Any way - this leads me to ask: are you interested in seeing more commercial brewery's taking an active role in providing homebrew education or in supporting the homebrew community?  What types of actions would you like to see a commercial brewery take, for example, offering classes, offering ingredients (extra hops/barely/etc.), or offering wort to homebrewers?

Any input would be appreciated.  Hoping to start a conversation about the topic.

Cheers.

Mike
Title: Re: Commercial Breweries Supporting the Homebrew Community
Post by: duboman on December 13, 2013, 09:09:52 PM
While I do think its odd they would produce and dump wort I think the positives outweigh what you perceive as negative.

Of course they are going to toot their own horn, they're a business and are trying to promote brand awareness. I think the fact they are offering classes and reaching out to the home brew community is a feather in their cap.

I know of several commercial breweries that do this. They also will Provide insight to their recipes and ingredients and some have started contests involving the use of their wort to produce home brewed beer and then judged with the winner getting to brew up a batch on their system! Some will also provide yeast upon request.

I know when I inquired with boulevard about two of their beers they actually gave me the recipe! I got to correspond directly with one of the head brewers and he answered all my questions in detail.

Since most commercial breweries started as home brewing set ups and may still run small batch systems for employee use I think anything they do to reach out and support the home brewers is a positive.
Title: Re: Commercial Breweries Supporting the Homebrew Community
Post by: morticaixavier on December 13, 2013, 09:11:10 PM
I think any brewery that does something like that is, at least in part, doing it for the marketing value. That being said, it's still cool and I might be willing to deal with 10-20% marketing if there was enough good information mixed in. After all we watch TV and movies even with adds before, during, and after the feature.

I'm not a big fan of wastefulness but that might just be an awareness thing, 5 gallons of wort is spillage in a big enough brewery.

I think a lot of pro brewers are very supportive of homebrewers. Because they often used to be homebrewers and/or because they know that homebrewers don't ONLY drink homebrew.
Title: Re: Commercial Breweries Supporting the Homebrew Community
Post by: ynotbrusum on December 13, 2013, 09:25:55 PM
They probably can't produce and give away unfermented wort, but what a draw - if they did a free raffle to see who can take home the 5 gallon sample of wort!  As much as the marketing was a part of the presentation, they missed their chance at really getting at least one convert.

Also MSardina - welcome to the forum of the best hobby on earth.  There are so many really intelligent, pragmatic and sometimes kinda far out and weird (in a good way) people that post here.  You will enjoy being a regular.

Cheers and may your obsession be long lived.
Title: Re: Commercial Breweries Supporting the Homebrew Community
Post by: pepperford on December 14, 2013, 05:26:55 AM
I don't mind the brewery putting a "buy our beer" in the middle of a beer talk. They are donating time, space, a talking head, and beer for nothing. Squeeze them for as much info as they are willing to give, and say thanks. As long as your group can get a good bit of information I don't see a problem. If things go well, maybe next time you can get free second runnings from their next barley wine/imperial stout brew.
Title: Re: Commercial Breweries Supporting the Homebrew Community
Post by: Mike V. Sardina on December 15, 2013, 12:40:50 AM
Thank you 'ynotbrusum' for the warm welcome to the forums...I am a long-time reader, first time poster, so I appreciate the kind words.

Based on these responses, it sounds as though this type of outreach from a commercial brewery would be generally well-received and would be valued by the homebrew community.  I work at a commercial brewery, and we are looking to potentially develop and implement an outreach program that would meet the needs and the interests of local homebrewers, all while promoting homebrew and craft beer across the board. 

From what I am hearing, it might make the most sense for our brewery to build-off of what this other commercial brewery was doing, but perhaps make a few changes:

(1) limit or eliminate the wastefulness aspect of the event, by perhaps donating the wort or actually fermenting the batch.

(2) limit the sales-pitch aspect of the presentation as much as possible, but still promote our brewery and provide relevant and interesting information about our beers.

(3) incorporate a recipe formulation component into the presentation, with a discussion of scaling recipes and maybe even covering a homebrew recipe version of one of our commercial beers.

Thanks again for all the input and support.  I would, of course, welcome any additional feedback or comments.

Cheers.

Mike
Title: Re: Commercial Breweries Supporting the Homebrew Community
Post by: HoosierBrew on December 15, 2013, 01:04:41 AM
I don't mind the brewery putting a "buy our beer" in the middle of a beer talk. They are donating time, space, a talking head, and beer for nothing. Squeeze them for as much info as they are willing to give, and say thanks. As long as your group can get a good bit of information I don't see a problem. If things go well, maybe next time you can get free second runnings from their next barley wine/imperial stout brew.

+1.  I put a high value on the breweries that "get it" in terms of being connected to homebrewers and homebrewing .  If I participate in activities that a brewery such as this organizes chances are good that I at very least like their beers already, so the inherent marketing wouldn't be an issue. Welcome Mike !
Title: Re: Commercial Breweries Supporting the Homebrew Community
Post by: hopfenundmalz on December 15, 2013, 02:03:13 AM
State regulations for the wort being dumped???

Bells does a hombrew expo each year, which has local and national suppliers at booths (stirstarter and Blichmann for examples). They also do a homebrew competition. You get wort, hop it, ferment it, and enter bottles in their homebrew competition.
First prize includes brewing the recipe on the pilot system downtown at the Cafe.
http://bellsbeer.com/homebrewing/


Title: Re: Commercial Breweries Supporting the Homebrew Community
Post by: HoosierBrew on December 15, 2013, 02:13:27 AM
State regulations for the wort being dumped.

Bells does a hombrew expo each year, which has local and national suppliers at booths (stirstarter and Blichmann for examples). They also do a homebrew competition. You get wort, hop it, ferment it, and enter bottles in their homebrew competition.
First prize includes brewing the recipe on the pilot system downtown at the Cafe.
http://bellsbeer.com/homebrewing/




I wish a brewery down here would do something like that.  I'd really enjoy that. A brewery as great as Bell's doing it makes it that much better !
Title: Re: Commercial Breweries Supporting the Homebrew Community
Post by: yugamrap on December 15, 2013, 04:21:57 AM
Most of the commercial brewers in our area (Cleveland, OH) are very supportive of our club and its activities.  They help sponsor our events and other craft brewing events.  They come to our meetings and share information about brewing, their special projects and, to some extent, tell us about their plans.

Several of our club's members are professional brewers and regularly attend our meetings and events.  They host some of our events - including our annual club competition - and some help with judging and other event needs.  I'd say that our club has a great relationship with our local, and some regional, commercial and craft brewers.  It is, by necessity, a two-way street.  We learn from them and they help us get our "beer geek" on and, in exchange, they promote their products, events and pubs to a captive audience of craft beer enthusiasts.  I think that's a good thing!
 
Title: Re: Commercial Breweries Supporting the Homebrew Community
Post by: hopfenundmalz on December 15, 2013, 02:35:47 PM
State regulations for the wort being dumped.

Bells does a hombrew expo each year, which has local and national suppliers at booths (stirstarter and Blichmann for examples). They also do a homebrew competition. You get wort, hop it, ferment it, and enter bottles in their homebrew competition.
First prize includes brewing the recipe on the pilot system downtown at the Cafe.
http://bellsbeer.com/homebrewing/




I wish a brewery down here would do something like that.  I'd really enjoy that. A brewery as great as Bell's doing it makes it that much better !
Larry Bell remembers his roots.  He started homebrewing, had a homebrewshop before the brewery, and still sells homebrew supplies at the General Store.
Title: Re: Commercial Breweries Supporting the Homebrew Community
Post by: majorvices on December 15, 2013, 04:04:08 PM
I own a commercial brewery and have worked directly with some local homebrewers. Obviously one of the main reasons I do this is to promote our brand, in addition to love of beer and enjoyment of being around fellow brewers. So there's no reason why you would expect a brewery to open its doors, take time out of its busy schedule, and not do a little self promotion. It is business, after all.
Title: Re: Commercial Breweries Supporting the Homebrew Community
Post by: Mike V. Sardina on December 15, 2013, 08:20:44 PM
Thanks for the comment 'majorvices.' 

Do you feel that your direct work with local homebrewers, on behalf of your commercial brewery, has been beneficial for both sides (that is, both the homebrewers and the commercial brewery benefit from the interaction)?

Cheers.

Mike
Title: Re: Commercial Breweries Supporting the Homebrew Community
Post by: HoosierBrew on December 15, 2013, 08:31:14 PM
What types of actions would you like to see a commercial brewery take, for example, offering classes, offering ingredients (extra hops/barely/etc.), or offering wort to homebrewers?

To finish answering your post - any or all the above would be great.  It would benefit the brewery in terms of PR/ brand recognition and share in the camaraderie with local homebrewers. A win-win.
Title: Re: Commercial Breweries Supporting the Homebrew Community
Post by: Thirsty_Monk on December 18, 2013, 02:32:17 AM
We do pay tax on fermented beer that leave brewery not on how much wort we made.
Title: Re: Commercial Breweries Supporting the Homebrew Community
Post by: boulderbrewer on December 19, 2013, 05:46:54 PM
Our brewery interacts with the local clubs, we host their meetings when they ask. We help out when we can. We host the AHA events, Big Brew and Teach Home Brewing. I have enlisted help from the clubs to help out at other events such as beerfests. So it is definitely a two way street.


Side note: Thirsty_Monk your missing one beer from your on tap list. ;)
Title: Re: Commercial Breweries Supporting the Homebrew Community
Post by: ajbrenneis on December 22, 2013, 06:16:43 AM
Our club is lucky to hold our monthly meetings at a local brewery. The owner and brewers are great and extremely supportive of our club and members. Once in a while they will even post on our facebook page when they are brewing an experimental batch on the pilot system and invite any of us that can come out and participate! In return they get devoted customers and maybe even ideas for that next great beer!