They Brew it, I sell it, You Drink it... and so do I..

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Thoughts For Tomorrow

I've been thinking a lot recently about how people go about buying beer and the habits that can form among people in their shopping trips. Over the eight or so years I've been working at Beer Ritz there's one thing I can be sure of. People do not have the same tastes. Many factors lead to this of course. Some choose by preference of taste, some by style of beer, a few by allergy restrictions. Others buy by what they might think is a good beer and what isn't - by appearance of said product.

It's an untold truth that with, like most shoppers, some who come to ours will buy with their eyes rather than experience. This is fine at the end of the day.. it means the beers they choose have done a great job with their marketing to get you to buy.. but does that beer fit the customer's bill? Do you trust the name that much? Do you like they brewery that much to say they'd never make a bad beer?

Is there a reason why I bought a beer from a well know Huddersfield brewery when there was eight other different breweries on tap last week in the pub? Even when I hadn't had the beer in question before..? I didn't even think about it, I saw the badge and went straight for it... It does make me wonder why sometimes.

What would sell more? A big champers-style cork and caged 75cl bottle, wrapped in paper and put in a wooden box, or the very same beer sold in a milk carton...? What if the milk carton (of which the beer tasted the same) costed a full £10 cheaper?? Customer behavior can be a fascinating thing.. I've heard on more than one occasion when I've pointed out a good beer; "I'm not buying from them again.. I had a really bad one last week." People can be very loyal when it comes to beer, but there will always be people who can be extremely fickle.

If style and design are such a powerful force behind selling beer how come one of the "top ten beers in the world" has no label... just a brown bottle... or is that a design in itself??

This variation of consumerism is a good thing for us mind.. With such a verity of products we can always be sure that we'll have something for everyone.

One last thing to think about though. Say there was a brewery you knew... It's quite a famous one, you all know it. Say they were going to have a complete re-brand and shake up in the brewery.. They were going to increase production and start selling to supermarkets. Let's say they were going to add this and that to make it taste exactly the same from the new mega-brewery. Propose I bought an old and new version of the beer and yes, they were identical in every aspect...

What if said beer looked like this?

What now? Would you still be loyal?


  1. I don't buy beer in clear bottles, and much less at supermarkets, so I guess I'd stop buying it to drink home and would only buy it on tap.

    Now, if this brewery avoided such a massive cock-up bottle-wise, I would still buy it; if the beer is still good, why not?

    As for the rest. If I came across the same beer in a different packaging, but with a significant price difference between them, provided the cheaper packaging isn't, say, a clear bottle, I'd buy the cheaper. I don't buy bottles or labels, I buy beer.

  2. Trust can be eroded very quickly, but then, on the other hand, Boak and I keep trying Young's Bitter even though it's been rubbish for quite a while, simply because the pump-clip triggers fond memories of a decade ago.

    I'm now thinking about my gut reaction to fancy 750ml bottles. It used to be 'Ooh, lovely posh beer!' but I think it might now be 'Groan... another beer that's trying too hard.' Some of our most disappointing beer experiences have been over-packaged, over-priced 'presentation' beers.

  3. Sadly, it seems "youngs" are currently replacing the old pump clips for, yes, something that looks like its from a smaller, newer brewery...

  4. When I was at cotteridge wines last week (and I think in general when I'm faced with a lot of beer) i will generally look for brewers I like to see what new things they have, followed by brewers others have been talking about, followed by "ooh, that looks interesting"...

    Also I definitely go for the tetrapak, mainly for the novelty value though ;)

  5. If I saw Orval in my local supermarket I'd buy it every week, thoght obviously usual concerns about clear bottles applies.

  6. Where did you get the clear bottled orval photo from?