It was crazy this past week as in our home area we received a small blanket of snow which essentially shut down Eastern North Carolina for an entire week. Hopefully everybody was able to stay warm, not risk getting into an accident by venturing out on the icy roads and had a beer cache to imbibe on. I think we dodge a bullet with this snow storm coming just days after we hosted the 4th Annual Jolly Skull Beer Fest.
Speaking of which, thanks to the thousands of beer fans that attended the 4th Annual Jolly Skull Beer Fest in Greenville, NC on the 25th. The turnout was our biggest one yet and the response was amazing. It is truly awesome to see how much the craft beer scene has grown in ENC and it is only through you that has become possible.
Retailers in ENC have taken notice as you see more of them increase their craft beer selection on tap, more beer events being held throughout the year, and more bottle shops/beer bars opening up. I don’t believe there has been a better time to be a beer enthusiast in ENC.
When I’m at a festival I find it interesting how it looks like just a big crowd ebbing and flowing around all the beer vendors trying their liquid goodness. But if you are able to look from a wider perspective, you’ll actually see people in groups the majority of the time. Sometimes these groups are no more than two people and other times it six, seven or even bigger than that. It always makes me smile because the main focal point that brought them all together this crowd of groups is beer.
Recently we were up in Virginia talking with different distributors as we are thinking about entering that market in the near future. When you meet with distributors it is like a dance or more specifically, an interview that is going both ways. Both entities are trying to get a feel to see if the other is the right fit to embark on a business venture. These meetings involve talking about each other’s respective companies, sampling our product, touring the distributor’s facilities, etc.
With so many breweries coming on line, distributors are being more selective with who they bring into their portfolio. Many are realizing (on both sides) that besides making great beer, there needs to be a story or understanding why the brewery does what it does. I’m not talking about a simple mission statement but something more detailed that gets to the heart and soul of the company, like its ethos.
I’m not an expert in sociology but I find it kind of ironic that people in general want or I would argue, need to be part of a group or some kind of societal hierarchy that is bigger than just themselves. For the most part, nobody wants to be an outcast. Simultaneously, when you look closer, nobody wants to be exactly like everybody else. There always seems to be a need for some level of individuality bubbling to the surface. Talk about a paradox. It reminds me of the old U.S. Army slogan that was used for the first half of the last decade where they touted of being an Army of One. I believe they were smart to change it as that slogan was counterintuitive like a household divided on itself. It just doesn’t work.
To truly understand Beer Army and what makes it so special, I think you have to understand what makes Beer Army unique and I think it is the people who identify themselves with it. Why do people align themselves with us especially when they haven’t had our beer, attended any of our beer festivals or patronized our beer bar or bottle shop? After all, we have seen our stickers and people wearing our shirts in other parts of the country (and outside of the U.S.). Where we are not active as a company per se.
I believe the simple truth is the two words that make up the company… Beer and Army. Both words are straight forward and to the point just like the company. Not to mention everybody knows what those two words mean. While it is obviously a priority for us to promote our beer, we don’t do so exclusively and we support all brands to include macros. Hence our mantra of… If you drink beer, you are in the Beer Army!
I also think a big part of it is that we have shown that nothing is impossible. By every measurement in business we should not have achieved the success we have had as a company in such a short period of time with such limited assets. I look at us as the quintessential underdog and how can you not root for the underdog? More importantly than all of that, it is because of you why we have been able to achieve what we have accomplished. Together we are one army of beer drinkers. Put in another way… we are an army of one. How ironic!