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Many people like to scope out the landscape before laying down cash for a product or service. It’s human nature. We enjoy the confirmation that we’re making a good decision. The same applies to places we visit including nanobreweries. Nearly 30 percent of potential customers search for reviews before buying. That puts a lot of pressure on a startup business like a nanobrewery. Let’s tap into what has worked to allow them to succeed.
What Is a Nanobrewery?
The concept of a nanobrewery isn’t new. Many popular businesses such as Pike in Washington took this path to dip their toes into the waters before taking the proverbial plunge. It’s a sound strategy. Startups have risks. Fortunately, the odds are in favor of the would-be brewer in this industry.
Only 24 percent of microbreweries and 48.5 percent of brewpubs that opened the doors since 1980 have failed. Those odds are better than businesses and restaurants as a whole. The craft brewer industry has seen double-digit growth from 2012 through 2017 with forecasts that these trends will continue in the near future.
A nanobrewery produces a very small yield that is much less than the 15,000 or more barrels that a microbrewery will have. Therein lies its advantages and market. It allows an entrepreneur to test the market with a minimal investment. It’s a natural segue for the serious home brewer to get into the brewing business.
These establishments may produce batches of three barrels or less at a time which leaves lots of room for experimentation and minimal financial risks. There are about 300 nanobreweries in the nation with more popping up every day.
The Nanobrewery Difference
National and even regional brands have a glaring disadvantage over nanobreweries and even microbreweries—a lack of connection with their consumers. Don’t get us started about Budweiser’s America beer fail. A nanobrewery has the golden opportunity to create those relationships with the locals and create brand loyalty in a way the others can’t match. That is the kind of marketing strategy that will cement your place in the beer-drinking world.
If a mass-produced brand introduces a new product, they have to rely on advertising dollars to get the word out to consumers. Nanobreweries with their boutique brews have an in despite their low production numbers. Their beers are the type of product that microbrew clubs love to feature, especially if they’ve already been recognized among experts in reviews or have received awards.
Production and Freshness
Part of this advantage lies in production. Nanobreweries are free to experiment with styles, ingredients, and fermentation methods. They can match their product to their consumer base. They can use their feedback to home in on the characteristics that will create the ideal product and foster their brand loyalty.
Their other ace in the back pocket concerns freshness. What can beat beer bottled directly from the cask? Seriously? That is the optimum of peak flavor. Outsider brands suffer from the time spent shipping and the risks of transport. For the beer connoisseur, that is nirvana. Products with a wide distribution can’t touch it despite any efforts at pasteurizing or other processing methods. The local breweries clearly have this hand.
The Ingredient Difference
A nanobrewery can explore the possibilities that specialty ingredients like grains and hops can lend to a brew. It’s an excellent opportunity for the artisan farmer to work with local brewers to develop products that can benefit both enterprises. It’s often a risky venture on both sides of the equation. But it’s also a chance to create something truly special that will benefit both parties in the long run.
Breweries in the United States use six billion pounds of grain each year. The industry isn’t blind to the possibilities with malt, barley, and beer flavor. It’s worth noting that the wealth spreads far beyond the brewery’s business.
What You Should Look for in a Nanobrewery Review
It’s essential to remember when scanning nanobreweries reviews that some of the strikes against a particular establishment are beyond the business’s control. State and local regulations vary widely across the country. Some areas may prohibit Sunday sales or off-sale purchases. So, you might not be able to take a growler or a six-pack home with you. It’s not the nanobrewery’s fault.
There are several things you can check to give you a better idea of what makes a brewery tick including:
- Its selection of beers
- Information that it shares about them
- Its community involvement
- Tasting room options
Brewers may approach this aspect in several ways. They may have a particular focus simply because they prefer certain styles. It may be part of their brand. Finding a niche is an excellent business strategy considering that the average beer enthusiast will visit 3.5 breweries near their home.
Others will have a wider range of beers to appeal to a greater consumer base. Some breweries may be following market trends. IPAs, for example, saw a 15.2 increase in sales from 2016 to 2017. And, of course, you can’t ignore the elephant in the room. These are small operations that only produce limited quantities.
The beer connoisseur likes to know the facts about what they’re drinking. We always appreciate it when a brewer shares details like International Bitterness Units (IBUs) and the specific ingredients to help us learn more about the styles. It’s not like it’s the secret recipe for Kentucky Fried Chicken. A description of the appearance, aromas, and tastes is helpful for all experience levels.
A nanobrewery or even a microbrewery has a huge advantage when it comes to connecting with their consumer base. And it’s always pleasant to read about them supporting other local businesses including artists and farmers. It’s a great way for them to build a following.For the beer drinker, it helps ensure that the brews contain the freshest ingredients too.
Snacking while drinking beer is a given. However, it isn’t always an option with nanobreweries. It’s another area where local laws and regulations come into play. But it’s also a matter of investment. While running a brewery carries less financial risks, opening a restaurant is another story. Remember, the people who run these businesses are often hobbyists who are testing the waters of the industry.
Many opt for different approaches. They may reach out to other businesses to develop partnerships to offer their products on-site. They may contract food trucks to carry out that end of things. Others will encourage patrons to bring their own food. All are excellent ways to create a more pleasant consumer experience.
Tasting Room Options
Offering on-sale purchases is the only option for some businesses. Having a tap room is a fantastic way to increase sales and fuel consumer loyalty. In fact, the success rate of this model exceeds that of brewpubs. While drinking beer and hanging out is fun, a nanobrewery needs to consider other ways to grow their following.
Events and Entertainment
Even small establishments have tapped into the potential of offering music or other forms of entertainment. It is the proverbial win-win situation. A nanobrewery can act as a venue for local talent that can foster consumer loyalty. The acts benefit from the exposure, and the business reaps the profits from serving thirsty patrons.
With about 6,000 breweries in operation, a nanobrewery may have a hard time distinguishing itself from the competition. One way that established businesses look for an edge is by vying for awards at local, regional, and national competitions. It’s an excellent way to make them stand out from the crowd.
However, it’s a long path for the nanobrewery trying to make a name for itself, especially in the early days. While larger microbreweries may have a slew of awards, the smaller operations may not have any. That’s why it’s essential not to judge a new business by this one criterion. It takes time and money to put a brewery on that circuit.
You may find that some breweries start on a smaller scale with local competitions like state fairs or regional contests. It’s a good stepping stone for establishing cred among your peers. But not all businesses want to go this route. Some are happy with indulging their favorite hobby with friends and supporters.
Putting It All Together
When reading nanobreweries reviews, look to the basics of beer selection and the unique qualities a business brings to the table. After all, the foundation of these establishments is to hone their craft so that they can offer something that is truly noteworthy. The awards and recognition will come down the road.
In the meantime, the best nanobreweries will focus on the advantages they have in a growing marketplace. That means establishing themselves in the community and building solid relationships with consumers and other businesses. Those are the hallmarks of a brewery that will stand the test of time. These are the things you should look for when reading the reviews.