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This special business-focused edition of the podcast is brought to you interruption-free by the transformational beverage-industry technologists at Encompass.
As we head into 2024, the brewing industry is facing serious headwinds that have limited growth for many breweries and accelerated the closure of others. Consumer patterns are changing, product preferences continue to evolve, drinking occasions shift as our rhythms of work and life find different beats, and the playbook on which many businesses relied on no longer produces the same results. However, necessity has always been the mother of invention for craft brewers, and today’s challenges feel a bit familiar to those who experienced a similar contraction in the late ’90s or massive price increases due to the hop shortage of the late ’00s.
To explore how brewers are facing these challenges head-on today—and working to “future-proof” their breweries—we tapped three industry pros to share their viewpoints—Patrick Tickle, CEO of Encompass, Cole Hackbarth, VP of brewing operations for Cincinnati’s Rhinegeist, and Dave Thibodeau, president and cofounder of Ska Brewing in Durango, Colorado. Through the conversation, they discuss:
- major challenges for breweries today, such as increasing COGS, lower consumer-pricing thresholds, and the diminishing returns from innovation
- strategizing around today’s generational shift in drinkers
- developing organic and authentic innovation within the beer space
- differences between craft beer and flavored malt beverage (FMB) consumers
- focusing innovation around brand strengths rather than untested categories
- supporting innovation while maintaining profitability through blended margins
- the increasing impact of cash flow on business decision making
- changing hospitality habits developed by customers during the pandemic
- managing labor costs through cross-training and active owner-operators
This special industry spotlight episode is brought to you by:
The Encompass digital platform is designed to connect everyone across the supply chain, from producers to distributors and retailers, so that you have clear real-time visibility into your brewing business with powerful analytics to support your decision making. Collaborate to maximize sales, minimize empty shelves, and eliminate product waste. Visit Encompasstech.com to learn more about how they can help future-proof your business with modern technology.