New Year's Resolution: Crafting a Healthy Business
JANUARY 2016 | oregon beer growler 21
business is brewing
New Year’s Resolutions: Crafting a Healthy Business
Business is brewing
Business is Brewing is
written by B.I.N.G.
Members meet the third
Wednesday of each month.
Info at: bingoregon.
By Sam Holloway, Ph.D.
For the Oregon Beer Growler
amous strategy professor, Dr. Robert Grant
begins his book, “Contemporary Strategy
Analysis” with a simple statement: Strategy is
about winning. I like to add to his simple statement
the following corollary: You get to decide what
Don’t let Megabrew – the moniker for the soon
to be joined AB InBev and SABMiller – define for you
what winning means. Those companies are run
by bankers, not brewers. Those companies blindly
pursue profits and would rather cut employees, use
cheaper ingredients and shave costs than make
investments in peoples’ happiness. Is that how you
define winning? Megabrew wants you to think that
way, and with their size and increasing ownership
of distribution, it would be easy for us to throw up
our hands and succumb to their mindset. That’s the
lazy response to an important problem. The lazy
business mindset is Megabrew’s candy and craft
Crafting a healthy business is so much more
about your mindset than it is a specific lesson or
strategic tactic that I could write about here. If you
can’t figure out how to change your mindset, that’s
normal. It’s scary to make changes, especially
if you are doing well currently. But that’s what
Megabrew wants you to do – enjoy the good times
and don’t plan for when things get hard.
When I teach strategy, I always ask my students
to start at the same place: Start with a hard look at
how you define winning. Then, consider the assets
(human, financial, physical, emotional, spiritual)
that you need to acquire or create in order to win.
If you don’t have those assets, figure out how to
acquire them. Build them, buy them, borrow them,
collaborate with another brewery — treat your
business as thoughtfully and carefully as you treat
your beer and you will find a solution. Buy another
brewery owner a beer and compare financial
reports and marketing tactics with the same
openness and care that you share beer recipes.
Decide what winning means to you and pursue it
passionately. And remember one important thing –
strategy is really hard to get right.
Even though I have a Ph.D. in strategic
management and have studied craft breweries for
years, I still can’t figure this out alone. In 2010, I
started asking brewery owners to describe to me
how they envisioned winning and what strategies
Ph.D., is an Associate
Professor of Strategy
at the University of
Portland and President of
worked for them. I asked my MBA students and other
professors for help. Together with these brewers,
students and professors, we rewrote strategy and built
craftingastrategy.com (CAS). We reinvented winning for
craft breweries according to our values and goals, not
Megabrew’s blind pursuit of profits. Slowly, over the
past 20 months, we have grown CAS’ core curriculum
to include more than 50 white papers, 25 instructional
videos, 25 podcasts and several case studies. But it’s
the contributions made directly by brewery owners
that really stand out: forum comments, blogs and
meetups in places like Portland, Seattle, San Jose,
Calif., San Diego, and Berlin.
The conversations we are having within CAS are
helping us develop the right conversation to sustain
craft beer’s renaissance. Each CAS member brings
a different perspective to what it means to win
and it’s this ongoing debate that is truly inspiring.
We partner with industry groups like B.I.N.G. and
publications like the Oregon Beer Growler to help get
the word out. But, in the end, it is up to you to make
an investment in your own business mindset. Don’t
fall for the kryptonite that you have no power and
are helpless to make change. We need to fight the
lazy business mindset and continuously reinvent
winning. Together, we can.
lovers are collecting and storing beer, artistic
labels could add to their experience. Besides,
when you pay $15 or $20 for a 22-ounce bottle of
beer, wouldn’t it be nice to also have something
intriguing to look at on the label?
For a look at Ron Pomeroy’s “Beer Colors,” go
to beercolors.net. There will be a reception for a
display of Ron Pomeroy’s work from 7-9 p.m. Jan.
16 at Frame Central, 6639 SW Macadam, Portland.
You can also participate in Oregon Beer Growler’s
Perfect Pints tasting for the February issue at the
same location that afternoon.
BEERCOLORS, From Page 17
Ron Pomeroy, who’s a retired lawyer, has done some
1,200 pieces using about 150 beers. He uses high-res-
olution giclee printing to make the colors pop.