I heard rumors about a new trend in the brewing world over on Twitter - a totally online brewery. Working my extensive network of industry connections, I was able to have a short e-mail interview with the owner/brewer of the new project, Mr. Arthur Devlin. It's not the best piece of Q & A I have ever done, but I wanted to post the conversation and be the first to break the details, so forgive me. Since Mr. Devlin was replying to me on his phone, I have taken the liberty of correcting his spelling.
Here now, is Art Devlin.
JP: Art, thanks for taking the time to answer some questions for my readers.
AD: Sure thing.
JP: I know you don't have much time, so let's get into it. Tell me about this new brewery.
AD: Well it's something that will, for sure, revolutionize the brewing world. And I can't tell you too much about it for just that reason. But essentially, I'll be running the entire process from home. From my couch.
JP: How do you mean?
AD: Pretty much just that - I'll be able to mash, run off, boil, and pitch yeast right from my couch via the internet.
JP: Now, why bring this approach to beer, when so many craft beer drinkers are focusing on beers made "By Hand" or at the very least "locally" or with local ingredients?
AD: Because it makes sense to me. It's the perfect blend of tech and innovation, is it not? While most brewers are trying to figure out enzyme reactions, or how to turn the mash around and get another batch going, I'm focused on eliminating the hard work altogether.
JP: Are you concerned at all about any possible backlash in the brewing community?
AD: The brewing community will accept the way I am doing this for a few reasons, but mainly because they will hate it. People talk the loudest about things they hate. Most beer drinkers these days ARE indeed looking for a "hands-on" approach to brewing as if it matters at all. If I dump my grains in by hand or if my silo opens up and the grain is metered by a valve makes no difference to the final product. So I think people will drink my beers more often simply to see if they can find a flavor implication that nullifies my process.
JP: I've heard rumors about your packaging design. Can you get into that at all?
AD: Sure, I think I can let the cat out on this one. Our product will be released in unique 9oz. plastic packages that are shaped like a mustache. The back label is removable and has a small application of Spirit Gum that enables the drinker to actually wear the package on their upper lip. They will come in a 6-pack we are calling "A Pack of 'Stache". We think the mustache is a greatly under used and modernly effective form of marketing that we are aggressively pursuing.
JP: Can that kind of focused marketing work in the long run?
AD: With the low over-head I have by working from home, we expect to have recovered our equipment costs in 7 batches.
JP: And the package costs?
AD: Well, our beer will sell for $49.95 each, so we will have paid for the entire 50,000 run of these things in about 5 months. Everything after that is pure profit.
JP: Not to be rude - because you have been kind enough to grant me this interview, but ... that seems a bit high to me.
AD: And it is. But our studies show that if you have a solid gimmick and a high price-point, the sky is the limit. Today's beer drinker will accept a low-quality product if the gimmick it's surrounded by is a unique one. Think "Blue Mountains". Think "Dead Squirrel". Think "Quad IPA". Think "Limited Special Release".
JP: It's not all that common to hear someone in marketing speak so candidly about their process. Are you afraid that the consumer won't even give you a chance based on what you've just told me?
AD: LOL - no. This won't even be remembered when the product comes out. With the 24-hour news cycle these days, there will be something else coming down the pipe that will effectively shake the keys in front of the face of the public, distracting them. I have to run now, it's my turn to see the doctor.
So that's it, that's my interview. Personally I think the thing is a huge sham and almost insulting to beer drinkers. But the guy seems to have a grasp on marketing, I'll give him that.