What do I want from my local brewery business? Or any craft brewery for that matter? I want a handful of things but today I want to talk about being LOCAL. I want that local flavor and I don’t mean the beer flavor. I’m looking for something that makes it organic and indigenous to the town or region. I’m not saying it is wrong to distribute and look for customers outside your local area but be special to those in your backyard. We craft beer fans appreciate that and when we are visiting a new town and a new brewery we love to see the locals enjoying their “hometown” brewery. That’s a sign that there is good beer and the local people want to be there.
So what does it mean to have that local flair? First there is décor. I’ll put in a plug for my brother-in-law’s brewery The People’s Brewery in Lafayette Indiana, peoplesbrew.com. I will fully disclose that I am a small owner in the brewery so yes I’m biased. However, I think this is a great example. When they built the bar for their tasting room they solicited random pieces of wood from the local community and crafted them together to form a beautiful bar. The bar is built with a piece of wood provided by numerous individuals. It doesn’t get any more local than that.
Second are labels reflecting the brewery’s local roots. There are really too many great examples since most craft breweries are great at this. However I’ll point out one of my favorites, Steelhead Pale Ale from the Mad River Brewery in Blue Lake CA. The label is of a spectacular steelhead trout jumping out of the river and the Mad River is known for great fishing. It just fits and it tells a part of the local story. Next of course are the beer names. One of my favorite examples of a great “local” name is: Moose Drool brown ale from the Big Sky Brewing in Missoula MT. They have some other great names too like Trout Slayer wheat and Slow Elk Oatmeal Stout. But honestly there are thousands out there. What are yours?
I really enjoy that local touch and association and to me those things make it special for the local crowd and memorable for visitors. Am I right? I don’t know about you but when I’m in a new town I’m always looking for the local brewery, particularly the smaller towns as I find it is a great way to get a taste of the local culture.