Author Topic: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth  (Read 9173 times)

Online Joe Sr.

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Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
« Reply #60 on: December 15, 2012, 08:04:54 AM »
See it's gradual. You make gradual changes you your recipe when you DON'T want your consumers to notice. If you are doing it to pull in new customers you make the keystone "bitter beer face" ad campaign. I stick by my hypothesis that these changes are driven exclusivly by profit margins and not by quality concerns.

I am not saying that small artisinal brewers are doing it purely for the love of the thing but I am saying that the standards a company chooses to hold itself to has a lot to do with the end quality of their products. And the big boys in the industry choose to hold themselves to standards that seem more driven by profit motive than by taste.

I understand the point that customers don't necessarily ask for something, but if the products of the large conglomerates didn't meet a need, then people wouldn't buy them. No one asked for an iPod, but did Apple manipulate people into thinking they wanted one, or did they provide a product that met a need? It seems like you're saying that the big brewers are manipulating drinkers into drinking less flavorful beer (or did I misinterpret?), but I don't think they would have as much of the market as they do without meeting some kind of need.

The price of rice and corn are higher than malt, as pointed out by both August Schell and Stone Brewing's Mitch Steele in a recent interview on Basic Brewing Radio. That shoots a gaping hole through the "profit motive".

Companies (including brewers, regardless of their size) have a right to look for ways to make more money. You and I and everyone else have the right and the ability to choose or not choose their products.

I agree.  I fail to see how a gradual change indicates that there's been some nefarious long term plot by the big brewers to trick their customers into drinking something they wouldn't otherwise like.

Rather, I would bet it reflects a gradual change in consumer preferences.

Just because the big brewers are big doesn't mean they don't need to respond to the market.  US car makers learned that back in the 70s.
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Offline gymrat

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Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
« Reply #61 on: December 15, 2012, 08:18:12 AM »
According to this they did mess with the recipe, they messed with it on purpose, they messed with recipes of some of the smaller beer companies they own, and they don't care what the customers think. They intend to buy more beer companies and mess with those too. All in the name of pleasing the stock holders.

http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2012-10-25/the-plot-to-destroy-americas-beer#p1
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Offline nateo

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Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
« Reply #62 on: December 15, 2012, 09:08:00 AM »
I remember hearing Charlie Bamforth tell a story from his Bass days. One of the Bass breweries was having problems with an off-flavor (maybe diacetyl), and they sent him up to "fix" it. After Charlie solved the problem, all of their vendors were sending back their Bass orders, because customers got used to, and demanded, the off-flavored beer.

If people really think the beer sucks, they should stop buying it. People vote with their wallets.

As CEO of a company, you have a legal obligation (fiduciary duty) to your stockholders. You're legally obligated to make your company more profitable. Some states allow corporations to voluntarily consider more factors (triple bottom line) in their governance, like how your decisions affect employees, vendors, suppliers, etc, but in most places, you have a legal duty to your stockholders, and no duty to anyone else.
« Last Edit: December 15, 2012, 09:22:53 AM by nateo »
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Offline The Professor

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Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
« Reply #63 on: December 15, 2012, 09:20:56 AM »
good for Schells, what an asinine list from the BA

I agree.  The response from Schell's is spot on. 
The BA editorial was just laughable.
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Offline gymrat

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Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
« Reply #64 on: December 15, 2012, 11:25:57 AM »
I remember hearing Charlie Bamforth tell a story from his Bass days. One of the Bass breweries was having problems with an off-flavor (maybe diacetyl), and they sent him up to "fix" it. After Charlie solved the problem, all of their vendors were sending back their Bass orders, because customers got used to, and demanded, the off-flavored beer.

If people really think the beer sucks, they should stop buying it. People vote with their wallets.

As CEO of a company, you have a legal obligation (fiduciary duty) to your stockholders. You're legally obligated to make your company more profitable. Some states allow corporations to voluntarily consider more factors (triple bottom line) in their governance, like how your decisions affect employees, vendors, suppliers, etc, but in most places, you have a legal duty to your stockholders, and no duty to anyone else.

All the more reason for me to stick with American owned smaller breweries. I won't buy anything from InBev or African Brewing Company.
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Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
« Reply #65 on: December 15, 2012, 12:52:40 PM »
See it's gradual. You make gradual changes you your recipe when you DON'T want your consumers to notice. If you are doing it to pull in new customers you make the keystone "bitter beer face" ad campaign. I stick by my hypothesis that these changes are driven exclusivly by profit margins and not by quality concerns.

I am not saying that small artisinal brewers are doing it purely for the love of the thing but I am saying that the standards a company chooses to hold itself to has a lot to do with the end quality of their products. And the big boys in the industry choose to hold themselves to standards that seem more driven by profit motive than by taste.

I understand the point that customers don't necessarily ask for something, but if the products of the large conglomerates didn't meet a need, then people wouldn't buy them. No one asked for an iPod, but did Apple manipulate people into thinking they wanted one, or did they provide a product that met a need? It seems like you're saying that the big brewers are manipulating drinkers into drinking less flavorful beer (or did I misinterpret?), but I don't think they would have as much of the market as they do without meeting some kind of need.

The price of rice and corn are higher than malt, as pointed out by both August Schell and Stone Brewing's Mitch Steele in a recent interview on Basic Brewing Radio. That shoots a gaping hole through the "profit motive".

Companies (including brewers, regardless of their size) have a right to look for ways to make more money. You and I and everyone else have the right and the ability to choose or not choose their products.

I agree.  I fail to see how a gradual change indicates that there's been some nefarious long term plot by the big brewers to trick their customers into drinking something they wouldn't otherwise like.

Rather, I would bet it reflects a gradual change in consumer preferences.

Just because the big brewers are big doesn't mean they don't need to respond to the market.  US car makers learned that back in the 70s.

It's really not all that hard to make someone want something they didn't want before. happens all the time. Advertisers get paid a LOT of money to make people want something they didn't want before. However it's not black and white. Coke tried hard with 'New Coke' and failed. The people responsible for the campaign were sacked.

just because rice and corn are more expensive than malt RIGHT NOW doesn't mean that it was always or will always be true.

How many people taste beer, or coffee, or spicy food for the first time and love it right away? more often than not people continue to try things they don't really like because people they see and respect around them seem to be enjoying it.

Sure they could stop buying bud if they didn't like it but they DO like it. I am just questioning WHY they like it. There is always an argument that 'if people didn't like it they wouldn't do it that way' but if I can make a product and convince lots of people they like it then I can keep making that product.
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Offline nateo

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Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
« Reply #66 on: December 15, 2012, 01:09:47 PM »
Sure they could stop buying bud if they didn't like it but they DO like it. I am just questioning WHY they like it. There is always an argument that 'if people didn't like it they wouldn't do it that way' but if I can make a product and convince lots of people they like it then I can keep making that product.

It sounds arrogant and condescending to say "You like what you like because you're brainwashed, while I like what I like because I have good taste."

I'm sure a lot of Bud drinkers think we're all pretentious suckers for paying $20 for one bottle of an infected, sour beer that's sat around in barrels for a year.
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Offline narvin

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Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
« Reply #67 on: December 15, 2012, 01:43:44 PM »
Sure they could stop buying bud if they didn't like it but they DO like it. I am just questioning WHY they like it. There is always an argument that 'if people didn't like it they wouldn't do it that way' but if I can make a product and convince lots of people they like it then I can keep making that product.

It sounds arrogant and condescending to say "You like what you like because you're brainwashed, while I like what I like because I have good taste."

I'm sure a lot of Bud drinkers think we're all pretentious suckers for paying $20 for one bottle of an infected, sour beer that's sat around in barrels for a year.

I don't think it's crazy to say that part of the popularity of big brands is due to advertising, much of which is completely unrelated to the actual product.  "Chew this gum.  It will give you a sense of identity and a peer group to belong to that, as a insecure young person, you probably lack". 

But, the other part of the equation is that most things which are intended for mass consumption are created through a finely tuned process involving research, focus groups, and making the most middle of the road, formulaic thing possible.  Which works great for making a useful widget to sell, but not so great when making art or craft.  Really, when in history did the world's best craftsmen ever send out a survey asking how people would like their products made?  The thing is, most people don't need craftsmanship for everything.  They're satisfied with a product if it isn't one of their main interests.

Now, judging whether a brewery is a "craft brewery" by number of barrels produced seems misguided, but there is a grain of truth here.  The more beer you brew, the more you have to appeal to people outside the enthusiast group to people who aren't necessarily interested in craftsmanship.  Luckily, the growing interest in beer and education about beer styles and history has increased the base of people looking for interesting and diverse beers, so it's definitely possible for craft breweries to be larger now.
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Offline weithman5

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Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
« Reply #68 on: December 15, 2012, 01:49:01 PM »
if i owned a brewery or started one, i would think i would want it to be like schell's family owned, and i like the look of their product line.  i have only had one beer on their list and it was good.  i wish i could get hold of a few more
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Offline mabrungard

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Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
« Reply #69 on: December 15, 2012, 02:07:23 PM »
This is snowballing into a disaster.  What was Charlie thinking when they crafted this message?  I assume this was a directive or sentiment from the BA board, but they need to be more 'crafty' with their message.  All I can see is a gunshot hole through a Size 10. 

Brewery size is not a criterion for 'craft' brewing. 
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Offline nateo

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Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
« Reply #70 on: December 15, 2012, 02:23:17 PM »
I don't think it's crazy to say that part of the popularity of big brands is due to advertising, much of which is completely unrelated to the actual product.  "Chew this gum.  It will give you a sense of identity and a peer group to belong to that, as a insecure young person, you probably lack". 

Wait, is your gum analogy talking about mass-market beer, or the kind of person who defines their life around their 'small-batch/authentic/artisanal/hand-made/craft' beer? Craft brewers use marketing too (except the monks at Westy).
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Offline BrewingRover

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Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
« Reply #71 on: December 15, 2012, 05:06:11 PM »
I have access to some market research databases at work and I really wish I could share the Mintel Report on Craft Beer from last month (doing so would violate the terms and conditions and could get me fired).

They found that price is a huge factor in consumer behavior and is still driving the market. Imports are maintaining share due to their being perceived as better value for money than craft. I think that's where breweries aren't telling their story: the beer costs more because of its premium ingredients. (including the adjuncts  ;D )
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Offline narvin

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Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
« Reply #72 on: December 15, 2012, 05:35:53 PM »
I don't think it's crazy to say that part of the popularity of big brands is due to advertising, much of which is completely unrelated to the actual product.  "Chew this gum.  It will give you a sense of identity and a peer group to belong to that, as a insecure young person, you probably lack". 

Wait, is your gum analogy talking about mass-market beer, or the kind of person who defines their life around their 'small-batch/authentic/artisanal/hand-made/craft' beer? Craft brewers use marketing too (except the monks at Westy).

I see most craft brewing advertisements as being about beer, not about making you a better skateboarder, manly man, or fantasy football player.  There is a culture of artisinal/trendy/extreme beer drinkers that is exploited by some craft beer ads, but most of this exists naturally and is driving the ads, not the other way around.  Whether you find these people annoying or pretentious is an unrelated factor.
« Last Edit: December 15, 2012, 05:40:12 PM by narvin »
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Offline nateo

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Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
« Reply #73 on: December 15, 2012, 06:27:51 PM »
Narvin - Marketing is more than just ads. Marketing involves any messages (intentional or unintentional, explicit or implicit) between you and your customers. Descriptions of beers, and "about us" sections on breweries' websites is what I was mainly thinking of, but even the "buzz" around a brand is just as much a form of marketing as a super bowl ad.
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Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
« Reply #74 on: December 15, 2012, 06:58:13 PM »
Sure they could stop buying bud if they didn't like it but they DO like it. I am just questioning WHY they like it. There is always an argument that 'if people didn't like it they wouldn't do it that way' but if I can make a product and convince lots of people they like it then I can keep making that product.

It sounds arrogant and condescending to say "You like what you like because you're brainwashed, while I like what I like because I have good taste."

I'm sure a lot of Bud drinkers think we're all pretentious suckers for paying $20 for one bottle of an infected, sour beer that's sat around in barrels for a year.

When did I say I like what I like because I have good taste? I'm just as susceptable to suggestion as the next guy.
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