Brewer’s Exchange: Francesca’s Blog Part 3

Francesa has been a busy woman! This past week, she spent time with our Logistics and Sales teams, learning how we forecast sales and plan for materials, and what the world looks like for our beer when it leaves the brewery. Her adventures have taken her to Odell where she learned more about how they store & use hop cones, to Avery to learn more about the barrel program, and to Falling Rock where she met two team members that penned Italy Beer Country! Her latest food samplings have included fried pickles and chicken wings, and a pancetta er – bacon flight in Denver. Read more about her time with the Tetris masters and her 12 account visit in Denver!

Learning about Logistics & Sales

At any moment, a brewery is immersed in rigid order and total chaos.

While for a brewer, order and discipline within the kettles and tanks are the ONLY rule, the one that allows for good, consistent beer to be made… What’s happening AROUND the kettles and tanks, well, that’s the aforementioned chaos.

Several processes are happening at the same time: cleaning, brewing, packaging, dry-hopping, sanitizing… Tools, information, materials, people are moved around constantly, and it’s hard at times to find that exact thing (or co-worker!) you are looking for.

Here at Left Hand, the answer to this classic needle-in-the-haystack problem is called Pete: he is the Tetris champion in charge of the management of warehouses where ingredients, tools and finished beer are stocked.

Pete works by one “simple” rule: “The right thing, at the right time, in the right place, the right quantity and the right condition”. God knows how he can keep track of everything, but well, he does.

The Five R’s named by Pete are what keeps a brewery secretly running. My idea is that they apply not only to work inside the brewery, but to sales and the craft beer market in general: what’s a better commercial strategy than delivering the right beer, at the right time and place, in the right quantity and – especially – in the right condition?

This is easier said than done, but a good scheduling and knowledge of the market make it possible to find viable solutions to distribute the beer in ideal conditions, to the right places, with a good timing; so that it can reach a widespread audience at its full potential.

Both in the USA and Europe beer corporations, empty in contents and soul, seek new sources of revenue by acquiring craft breweries; in order to fill the said “voids” which are in their nature. Nick, my guide among Left Hand’s customers in Denver, told me that he feels this is an opportunity – rather than a threat – for craft products. “Why?” – I asked. “So any regular Joe can enter any bar, order both beers, taste the difference… And never come back!” was his reply.

As you may have noticed in the past blogs, one of the things I tried to do most during my time in the USA has been finding for every field I explored a silver thread which links members of the craft movement worldwide. So I wanted to understand more in depth the situation of the market, and when I asked how can the American craft brewers stand out in an industry which day after day grows more difficult to decode for the average drinker, and why does he think a huge number of breweries go craft notwithstanding the hard work and possible hardships… Nick smiled, picked a bottle and showed it to me; his finger pointing to the wording “RIGHTEOUSLY INDEPENDENT”.

So is written on every label at Left Hand. So we want our beer to be. So we, the brewers and craft drinkers, feel. All of us.

Read Blog 1 and Blog 2.