In the past, mass-market domestic beer options were popular among nearly all drinking adults. This led to the rise of the numerous beer empires that are featured in Superbowl commercials and advertisements at sporting events across America. While the popularity of mass-market beer may have seemed like a fact of life, the times are changing.
Millennials are often scrutinized for their quirky behaviors in the economy, but they may be triggering a golden age for craft beer. Instead of mass-market domestic beer, craft beers are among the favorite alcoholic beverages of young people across the globe. Massive corporate beer companies like Budweiser and Miller Brewing Company are losing popularity while micro breweries are enjoying greater profits.
Industry experts have not been able to determine the factor that is driving increased demand for craft beer. Perhaps the rise in cosmopolitan culture across the globe has caused people to have a greater appreciation for diverse flavors. Regardless of the reasons, it is clear that mass-market domestic beer companies are losing customers to craft breweries and wineries. By 2020, 20 percent of beer sales will be from craft beer. This may not seem like a large figure, but it is quite impressive. Since most producers of craft beer have relatively small operations when compared to mass-market producers, consumers must be purchasing from a wide variety of small breweries. In the United States, Devil’s Backbone and Hardywood are among the most popular craft breweries.
In the past, beer did not attract connoisseurs like wine does. Today, the growing appreciation of beer diversity and brewing methods is attracting sophisticated consumers. Across the globe, dedicated enthusiasts regularly try new lagers, coffee stouts, India pale ales, and other varieties of beer as they search for the perfect beverage.
Craft Breweries Test Their Might At Beer Championships
The depth of beer diversity has encouraged breweries to compete with some creative beer options. From bourbon barrel stouts to Vienna-style lagers, numerous beer styles are featured in competitions across the globe. One of the most prestigious competitions is the U.S. Open Beer Championship.
The U.S. Open Beer Championship allows hundreds of breweries from across the globe to compete with their top-selling beverages. Many North American breweries are featured in this intense competition. Competitions are based on beer categories.
In the 2017 competition, Canada impressed judges with a wide variety of high-quality beers. Canadian breweries won 24 medals. 20 of these medals were earned by breweries in Canada’s Ontario province. This is not a surprising feat since Ontario has developed a reputation for unique hipster vibes and a cosmopolitan culture. The leading brewery in the championship was Cameron’s Brewing.
Cameron’s Brewing featured three competitive craft beers. The most popular beer among the judges and participants was the One-Eyed Grouse. The One-Eyed Grouse earned the gold medal for the bitter beer category. The brewery’s Captain’s Log lager also earned the silver medal for the American lager category.
Numerous Canadian breweries won medals in the other beer categories. Some of these categories are brown ale, foreign stout, oatmeal stout, old ale, and German Kolsch. Canadian brew-masters demonstrated their prowess by winning over 12 awards in other categories.
In addition to the most popular breweries, Steamworks also impressed judges with a variety of their top-selling craft beers. Steamworks is a long-standing craft beer in the Canadian beer scene. The brewery is led by Eli Gershkovitch, a brewmaster, and innovator who aims to revolutionize Canadian beer.
Building a Craft Beer Empire
While Eli Gershkovitch is the CEO of Steamworks, he seems to be an unconventional businessman. Gershkovitch lacks the haughty persona of many stereotypical leaders of Fortune 500 companies. Instead, he approaches life with the kind of attitude that one may expect from a calm working-class man. Eli Gershkovitch is casual, and he appreciates freedom. His desire to control his own life may have been the stimulus that prompted him to build his own brewing empire.
Competitors should not be fooled by the calm and collected personality of Mr. Gershkovitch. The man is a master of business. According to Eli Gershkovitch, his motto is “you grow to meet demand, or demand will shrink to meet you”. This a tried and tested motto that is backed by economics. This saying has caused Eli Gershokovitch to create a business model that focuses on innovation and improvement. He believes that stagnant companies will eventually be surpassed by robust new companies. This belief is correct.
Competition in the Canadian brewing industry is reaching all-time heights. Each year, dozens of new microbreweries are found in Ontario, British Columbia, and other major population centers. Many of these breweries will likely fail within their first few years of existence, but some will shake the market with innovative ideas. To stay competitive, Eli Gershokovitch must counter these innovations with his own ideas. He has vowed that his company will stand the test of time by remaining competitive.
Steamworks uses a combination of traditional and innovative business methods to defeat opportunistic competitors. First, he competes on the grounds of quality, price, and quantity. By providing consumers with great craft beers at low prices, the company can maximize its output. This allows Steamworks to keep its revenue afloat on short-run timelines. However, long-run success depends on serving consumer demands for as long as possible. It is nearly impossible to predict consumer preferences with complete certainty, so Steamworks competes via culture.
In 1995, Steamworks was founded as a small pub in Gastown, Vancouver. To transform the humble brewery into a staple of Vancouver’s culture, Eli Gershkovitch decided to expand his pub over time. This strategy stays true to his “expand to meet demand” mantra. When the Steamworks pub first opened in 1995, it had 184 seats. Today, the pub has 754 seats. The large size of the brewery has attracted tourists to the area, but locals also visit the pub on a regular basis.
In addition to the initial pub, Steamworks opened several bars and restaurants in Vancouver. All of these locations serve Steamworks craft beers. This increased the popularity of the Steamworks brand. Steamworks ingrained its brand in the culture of Vancouver. It is clear that reinvestment and expansion is the key to building a craft beer empire.
More Than a Business
To Eli Gershkovitch, the Steamworks brewery is more than a beer company; it is his source of freedom. When he started his company, Gershkovitch promised himself that he would not give up freedom and control for profits (LinkedIn). Eli Gershkovitch is the sole-owner of the company, and he does not bother with shareholders. Gershkovitch uses his profits to expand his collection of classic cars. He is truly a remarkable man who values the fine aspects of life.