Fortes Fortuna Adiuvat: Turning Pro Part 18

By success I don’t mean the place stays open and you are able to pay everyone minimum wage. I want to know what separates the modestly successful from the wildly successful. As much as it pains me to say it, I’m not certain beer quality is the differentiator. Yes, a certain high level of quality is needed to be wildly successful, but there are high quality beers being made from some less successful breweries. Heck, I’m sure there were breweries making some great beers that couldn’t make it financially and folded.

I know some folks think marketing separates the wildly successful from the less successful. Again, I really doubt that is the reason. Yes, clever marketing can help build a brand. It can get people to try your beer versus another. Yes, it certainly helps, but is it the key to success? I don’t think Sierra Nevada ever did any sort of “marketing campaign” to build their brand, but I would still put them in the wildly successful category.

Sierra Nevada is known more for their early pioneering, long term dedication to quality, and hard work. So, would that be the key differentiator between wildly and modestly successful breweries? Hard work? No.
Like the other factors it certainly helps, but there are plenty of hard working brewers focused on quality with good marketing ideas that are most likely never going to make the jump to wildly successful.

Like so many other questions in this industry, I don’t have the answer. I have some thoughts, but no answers. I don’t even know for certain if Heretic will be even slightly successful. I think success comes with all of the above, but wild success requires one more ingredient, boldness. There is a reason the Latin proverb “fortes fortuna adiuvat” (fortune favors the bold) is so oft repeated. It is because it is true. In a competitive, challenging market like craft beer, boldness is a necessary ingredient in success.

Today, the new generation of craft beer consumer is not looking for the same old stuff. They want the new and the extraordinary, so it is important to be bold in exploring new ideas and ingredients. Boldness in
market strategy also helps. While you don’t want to overreach, you don’t want to let timidity restrict you to your local area either. Go forth and take advantage of the new media opportunities, new packaging, and new markets.

Of course, whenever I say “bold” some people think I mean aggressive. Aggressiveness is often associated with how you interact with others, either to get them out of your way or to make them follow you.
Boldness, on the other hand, is all about you. Boldness is you overcoming your fears and limitations. Boldness is about you thinking in new ways. Boldness may be stepping off the path that you have been following each day or maybe it is just running ahead much faster on that path. Boldness is being creative and adventurous.

Does taking a bolder approach guarantee success? Of course not. In fact it could result in a quicker demise, but that is OK in my book. It is better to shine brightly for a brief period than not to shine at all.

Issue: MyBlog