Product Development

Our top three Brewery Business focus points for 2018

I never really liked making New Year’s resolutions as too often the good intentions just did not seem to last. Equally I found that I was setting unrealistic targets. In the period over the Christmas to New Year’s break I found that I was way too optimistic on my abilities to effect change!


Over the years, what I found worked best was to actually to think about two or three key areas of the business that I would try to improve over the year. No specific numbers attached to the objectives, because that can trip you up, but a view that hopefully if I paid attention to these areas over the year by the fact that I spent a bit extra management time on them they would improve.

This year the three areas we will be pushing our various brewery clients to think about are;

1.     Productivity

2.     Quality of Product and range

3.     Structure and discipline in Sales

Why these three?

1. Productivity generally equals profit, which at the end of the day is what you need to make to stay in business! There are too many stories going round these days about breweries not making enough money.

2. Quality of product and range is what you will need if you want to keep or grow your business against all the other brewery competitors coming into your market place.

3. Structure & discipline in Sales because good sales efforts are a combination of;

·      Science in analysing your market place

·      Discipline in working and holding your team to the plan, updating it where necessary.


Too often this is simply seen as making the brewery work more efficiently. But the truth is that correctly done, it should look at the whole business and how it is utilising all of its assets. There is no point focusing on just one area, you need to think it through on a holistic basis.
Correctly done it will provide;

·      increased profitability through less waste and more focus

·      More direction as to the future and thus fewer abortive ventures

·      A more dynamic team working better together

·      A greater amount of information on which to base your plans.

Productivity improvement needs to focus on a combination of all of the above elements.

Productivity improvement needs to focus on a combination of all of the above elements.

Quality of Product & Range

I haven’t yet met a brewery that did not make the BEST beer.

We are always surprised at how few breweries do tastings and competitor comparisons. But in a period where competition is constantly increasing and knocking on the same doors as you are, a key aspect of the business is to;

·      Create the right product range that allows you to sell the volume you are interested in – Yes, have some esoteric beers but 80% of the business is still in 4-4.5% ABV Pale ales.

·      Focus on quality – check your consistency of brew sheets over time, look to constantly improve the taste, mouth feel, aroma etc of the beers you produce. Go back 6 months to review temperature, hops, malt etc.

·      Check the water to ensure it is consistent over time.

·      Look at new yeasts, flavourings etc.

·      Decide on the number of beers in the range. We have clients doing very healthy turnover who effectively only have 7 beers in the range but they come in - cask, keg, keykeg & can, others may have 15 at any one time but produce 30 different beers over the year. Set out your stall and ensure it is quality driven – easier with 7 than 30!

Structure & discipline in Sales

A good clear Sales plan that identifies your sales on a monthly basis is essential. It should then be broken down by channel. This is a living document and should be kept updated.

Sales should be reviewed at the end of the month and after the first week of the new month. It is too late to start reviewing the months sales, 3 weeks into the month and expect to achieve any significant results just in the last week, if it is going wrong, you need to adjust ASAP.

A solid session discussing sales and where any shortfall might be made up is critical to achieve the plan or even signal an increase in the plan. Sales managers are inherently optimistic people who will always have a reason why the promised MEGA sale just did not happen, but don’t worry it will be there next month! The only way to manage the sales patter is to do the detail.

 In fact business is all about the detail.

Helping you with “The detail” is where The Business of Drinks comes in.

 The Business of Drinks works with breweries and other drinks companies across the UK.  Business owners who use our services find they are more focused, have a clearer vision of where they want to get to and achieve more.

David Martin