Good Beer Week, Day 3
Wednesday 17 May
In an Uber on the way to The Royston, taking a street that seemed to be packed with endless speed bumps, I realised that perhaps I was a little dusty from the night before. When I got to The Royston in Richmond, I was delighted to find Feral’s Biggie Juice on tap – a beer I’d not managed to try back home in Perth – and I asked the bartender, Ed, to recommend good food for a slight hangover.
That’s when cheeseburger spring rolls entered my life and all the right in the world again!
MARKETING : MAKE YOUR BRAND TALK
In the late afternoon I headed to Beer Deluxe at Federation Square, otherwise known during Good Beer Week, as the Trade Hub. The hub has been hosting great talks and panel discussions and the opportunity to learn from some of the industries finest.
I attended panel called Marketing : Make Your Brand Talk hosted by Luke Robertson of Ale of a Time, a podcaster and journalist. The panel consisted of Lawrence from Colonial Brewing, Danielle from Two Birds Brewing and Steve from The Honey Bar and Chunky Media.
It was a great panel and discussion topic that potentially could have gone for hours if time permitted.
Steve from Melbourne’s The Honey Bar and co-founder of Chunky Media, recommended that if you don’t have much budget for social media, the best approach is to pick one channel and focus on it.
“Dive into something that’s the best reflection of what your brand can be,” Steve said and was quick to point out this isn’t always Instagram.
“Facebook controls the world,” Steve noted about social media advertising, stressing that there can be much benefit from taking the time to learn about Facebook advertising.
Lawrence from Colonial Brewing discussed their approach to social media by using different channels for the different aspects of their business that encompasses two breweries plus several venues across Western Australia and Victoria. Whilst Facebook is used for the venues and the brewery, Instagram is for their overall brand communications so there is lot of forward planning and coordination when it comes to social media.
“We have to be nimble and smart,”
Lawrence, Colonial Brewing
Danielle from Two Birds Brewing discussed the importance of making sure your social media is authentic and personal. “It’s important to have a legitimate voice,” Danielle said.
“We are fortunate enough to have a story that people like to tell,”
Danielle, Two Birds Brewing
“People care about individuals,”
Steve, The Honey Bar
On the topic of dealing with negative comments on social media, Steve, Lawrence and Danielle agreed it’s best to take the conversation out of the public comment section, not to avoid, but to speak directly to that person. The fact that the complaint was made, Lawrence says, can be positive if it means that person wants to engage in conversation with you. Steve agrees and believes they will appreciate that, as the brewer/owner responding to the complaint, they’ll appreciate you’ve have taken the time to acknowledge and reply.
Whatever you do, all three agree, is do not hit back.
“Don’t reply to a direct hit with a direct hit back,”
Danielle, Two Birds Brewing
As a woman in the beer industry, Danielle is often asked about this topic and also the branding of Two Birds which she actually credits to someone else.
“We didn’t come up with the name. Someone else did and we paid them,” Danielle laughed. They loved it and the reference to her and Jayne, the co-founder and brewer, as the ‘two birds’.
‘Believe it or not, not everyone gets it,” Danielle said to a pretty surprised audience.
The brand isn’t, and never was planned, to be about targeting women, instead they see themselves as a “gender friendly brand” and much more about the brand being a direct reflection of her and Jayne’s personalities.
When asked about advice for a brands personality and brand plan, the panel had some great tips.
“Try not to be everything to everybody,” Danielle said. “Focus on one thing.”
Lawrence added however that you still need to have some flexibility, such as the opportunity Colonial recently had to get involved with the Essendon Football Club.
“You need to be fluid,” Steve echoed reminding the audience that a business plan is not a business reality until it actually happens.
“The market will tell you who you are,”
Steve, The Honey Bar
Whilst planning is important, Steve reminded people to pay attention to data. Whilst your brand plan might include a particular target audience, you may get data telling you another group are the people getting into your brand. You need to listen to what the data is telling you.
When it comes to making time for journalists and bloggers, Danielle admits that it isn’t always easy to find the time around everything else involved in running a brewery. “It can be frustrating but it is worth investing in,” Danielle said, “and we’ve noticed a dip in sales when we have shied away from PR.”
“There are always interesting stories coming from the brewery,”
Lawrence, Colonial Brewing
BREWERS & CHEWERS AT THE LOCAL TAPHOUSE
This, to me, is a staple on the Good Beer Week calendar. It’s a beer dinner that combines speed dating with a meet the brewer event and it’s held at one of the most iconic beer venues in the country, The Local Taphouse in St Kilda.
Over appetizer, entrée, main and dessert, eight brewers take a seat at a table each, giving you the chance to chat before the bell rings and they’re up and off to the next table and you get another brewer to talk to!
The evening was expertly MC’d, as always, by Pete “Prof Pilsner” Mitcham who also made sure to get each brewer on the microphone for a short interview throughout the night.
Adrian describes the Double Barrel Ale as his “home coming beer”, the beer that, no matter where he drinks it, always makes him feel at home.
The Double Barrel Ale was the first beer they ever released, an English Pale Ale that is partially fermented in their oak barrel brewing system and then blended with beer fermented in stainless, Adrian estimates the approximate blend being 25/75 respectively.
You can follow Adrian on Twitter here.
During his interview with Pete “Prof Pilsner”, Adrian turned the interview into more of a speech and encouraged drinkers to speak up if they see any Firestone Walker older than 60 days and he also encouraged drinkers not to forget about their local brewers, saying “you should drink your local beer.”
Served on nitro, Black Cab is a beautiful roasty stout with a light body, black coffee and dry finish.
“Great beers have personality and character,”
John Keeling, Fuller’s
John strongly believes that in order to have great beers you need to employ people with personality and character too; boring and dull people will result in boring a dull flavour.
This beer is named after brewer and co-founder Renn’s great grandfather Arthur. An easy drinking porter with a smokiness that’s in balance with the beer instead of totally dominating it.
The Big Mouth Session IPA was beautifully citrusy and lime pithy with a crisp bitterness and the recipe is one that Stu made as a home brewer.
I think it’s also worth nothing the t-shirt that Stu choose for the dinner knowing that Joel (Dutch Trading Co and formerly Cellarbrations Carlisle) would be at the dinner and who had organised these t-shirts back in 2013.
The passionfruit IPA does what it says on the label with lovely passionfruit flavours and soft malts in support.
Ryan told us about the new two barrel pilot system being installed back home whilst he was in Australia. Previously experimental batches were brewed at their Bend brewpub but Ryan is looking forward to using this new system instead.
The Wild Beer Co beer that was served was the Wild Goose Chase Farmhouse Ale, Andrew described this beer has an introductory sour beer. It was a beautiful farmhouse ale and made using their apple yeast culture. Andrew said the culture came from one of their employees who had a small orchard, they collected it and put it into fresh wort and were really happy with the results.
In addition to this apple yeast culture, the brewery uses many others including a house ale yeast, a Saison and Brettanomyces mix, a grape culture, a sourdough culture and a mix lacto and Brettanomyces strain.
Having had a few beers and being fans of Bruce Willis movie, The Fifth Element, we asked Dave early about the name Akasha which refers to the ‘fifth element’ and they have indeed made a beer referencing the movie – the Korben D IIPA.
The guys from Spanish brewery Naparbier, Juan Rodrigues and Sven Bosch, were very interesting to chat with and hence the lack of photos.
Brewer Juan was a home brewery for ten years before starting at Naparbier. Sven, CEO of the brewery, wasn’t shy in proclaiming Juan was one of the best brewers in Europe.
Located near Pamplona, Naparbier exports half of their beer. Their home country of Spain is still largely “wine country” but is now home to around 600 breweries.
Congratulations to Steve, Guy and the whole Local Taphouse team on another great event!