Last week one of our former colleagues sent us an email singing the praises of an ‘experience’ she had gifted to her father. It was an experience close to my heart, brewing beer. She had organised for her father to attend a micro brewery in Melbourne to concoct his own brew of beer. This ‘beer’ experience took place at Barleycorn Brewers where the ingredients, equipment and recipes for different styles of beers are available to participants to become a master brewer for a morning. After crafting their brew and allowing it to ferment for a couple of weeks, each amateur brewer gets to return and bottle their 6 slabs of beer. And if you have a branding streak running through you, there is the opportunity to have your own labels created to stick on your beer.
Barleycorn Brewers have created a business truly in sync with the desire for many consumers to seek out experiences over purely ‘things’. In this case you get the ‘things’ and the experience. When was the last time you went to the bottle shop, purchased a slab of your favourite beer and then emailed people like our experience gifting former colleague) describing the experience. Precisely, you haven’t, unless the experience went horribly wrong, as there is nothing memorable about the experience. However, when we are selecting gifts for our loved ones, more and more we are seeking to find unique experiences that we can gift them, because most people seem to have already maxed out in the physical thing department – but there is always a space for new experiences.
In the context of experience creating we also love the work of Coopers, Australia’s largest locally owned brewery (having said good bye to Foster’s when SAB Miller acquired last year). They have been quietly moving down a some what counter intuitive route and building a strong ‘home brewing’ division. I say counter intuitive because for so long home brewing has been seen as a minor competitive annoyance – a role for other fringe players, not the REAL beer brewers. With a more embracing paradigm Coopers has built a home brewing division worth $30million a year (total business $200m). It has recognised the desire for consumers to lace their consuming with personal experiences, and it has sought to provide them with the quality ingredients to make it a rewarding one.
They have recently expanded their horizons by acquiring a majority stake in US home brewing outfit, Mr Beer. The north America home brew market has grown to a $100 million a year industry and continues to keep growing at 20% per year. Coopers have a growing segment in which to play, and they have the know how to improve the quality of beer that Mr Beer’s customers are producing.
Coopers are great brand stewards, and this exercise is a brilliant example of working to unlock a growing trend amongst consumers to add experiential dimensions to their lives. It begs the question, what are you doing for your customers from an experiential perspective?
Thankyou to Barleycorn Brewers for providing images