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Stay Nimble

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  • Stay Nimble

    I know a lot of places are hurting out there. I'm in the Detroit area, some breweries have chosen to just close their doors until this blows over and take the financial hit, some are squeaking by with to-go sales and delivery. My employer is lucky, very low overhead, very small start up costs, very dedicated mug club members who are mostly still employed and working from home. We've managed to stay afloat so far, that primarily may be thanks to the fact that we had a couple of new releases and a couple small batch seltzers ready to release for St. Patty's Day. We were able to space those out a bit and can them individually to for limited release, seemed to generate a fair amount of interest and add-on sales. We ran out of cans for the past week and saw a sales dip, hoping our shipment will be here today. Our first week of the crisis the taproom could still be open as long as only 5-10 people were in the building, the second week we had to move to curb-side and delivery only, with no cans and no new releases, so it's hard to tell specifically if there is one cause for the sales dip or if it's all those factors.

    But we are being flexible and moving forward, and learning a lot about our customer base in the process. We did two small batch seltzers, only 10 gallons, that we canned up. The first one sold out in an hour. We released the second one 2 days later, that sold out in 10 minutes, and so much positive feedback not only for flavor but for having lo-cal/gluten free/keto friendly options other than wine. We have 10 taps currently, and as long as we're able we will probably move to 8 taps for beer, one for seltzer and one for cider. Keeping diversity not only in styles and flavors but types of alcohol seems to keep our patrons engaged. We have a home brew system we can use to do more small batches, we've also found a use for those amoretti syrups everyone gets and no one wants. We had a raspberry syrup pump that a few people liked a squirt of in our chocolate porter. We're going to release a small batch of that, and consider what in our line up may be a candidate to modify their flavor profile.

    We are also positioned to work with a local distillery to provide them with sugar wash to use for sanitizer. We're lucky they are right down the street and could use the help, so that has opened up some options for us in terms of collaboration and finding new funding sources that aren't loans or grants.

    Social media has been a big part of it too. Keeping customers engaged with some of the new stuff we're able to put out. Constantly thanking them for their support is a must, especially for us and our industry. They choose craft beer. They could go get a 30 pack of High Life for much cheaper, but they come to us, so acknowledging that choice is important. Looking for some other new options for engagement, like trying to host a virtual taproom cocktail or happy hour with Zoom for some of the regulars to be able to talk to each other and break the isolation a bit.

    Pretty much I'm throwing everything at the wall to see what sticks, so far customers have been appreciative and continue to support us. Hopefully all y'all stay safe and healthy, and good luck in your endeavors.