So apparently there’s more to craft brewing than just really, really liking beer
Let’s be honest… What guy out there wouldn’t want his own brewery? Imagine having a delicious amber ale crafted specifically to your palate, literally on tap at your favourite pub. Maybe the label would even have your face on it, Paul Newman salad dressing stylez. That would be cool. You could even open your own beer hall. They’d probably name the club sandwich you like on the menu after you. Jim’s Club Sanger. “That’s the Jim who invented the beer!” they’d coo. Anything’s possible right. Well… yes. But like anything worth doing, it ain’t easy. Just ask Pat and Dave over at Quiet Deeds.
Quiet Deeds is the new kid on the block, so to speak, if that block was the Australian craft beer sector. Created in Melbourne, brewed in NSW, the tasty Pale Ale is the golden child of Pat Ale (apt name) and Dave Milstein. The two high school buds and ex-engineers pursued their love of business and alcohol and created Red Island Group, a premium beverage distribution company. And whilst they have brought such liquid treasures such as Rekorderlig and Quilmes beer to our shores, they were yet to embark on brewing their own creation… until now.
While soon to expand to a range of brews, the Quiet Deeds Pale Ale is their first beer invention. Made with four different malts, with the addition of Australian cascade and amarillo hops, the result is a cleansing and refreshing drop with a lingering bitter finish. Ahhhh… It’s good. Real good. So we thought who better to ask for advice than these lads in regards to starting our own beer brand. So here it is…. 10 tips for starting your own beer brand, according to Pat and Dave.
1. DO YOUR HOMEWORK
Dave: “We started (Red Island Group) not having any background in alcohol. We did importing courses. We got an understanding of the terminology and how it worked and we worked out how to start a company. Every step we just did a lot of research. That’s what we’ve always done.”
2. TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS
Pat: “When we were thinking of launching Rekordileg to the market in 2010, the initial feedback we got back was negative. [Bars said] it was too sweet, the packaging wasn’t right. But we knew from seeing how the market was behaving that it had potential, so we took the risk. As soon as it got into consumers’ hands it just went mental. We couldn’t keep up with demand.”
3. WORK WITH PEOPLE WHO KNOW THEIR SH*T
Pat: “As importers we had to learn how to make our own product. We knew how to sell, market and distribute alcohol but we had never made the product ourselves. That’s why we decided to collaborate with a master brewer.”
Dave: “Brewing is a lot like cooking and requires a lot of chemistry… Cultivating the yeast and the way the fermentation works and all of the science and biology behind it, it’s pretty advanced stuff.”
4. GROW SLOWLY BUT SMARTLY
Dave: “Word of mouth is very, very powerful. At the beginning it’s all about seeding, selecting specific venues, building the brand.”
Pat: “It’s important to seek out relevant brand ambassadors and early adopters.”
5. KNOW YOUR MARKET
Pat: “The Quiet Deeds market is 22+. It’s for people who like beer but are only just beginning to explore the craft segment. We’re their entry to that market.”
6. BREWERIES ARE SUPER EXPENSIVE
Dave: “Investing in a brewery is a complicated thing as they all come in different sizes and shapes. If you don’t get it right. If it’s too small it won’t not produce enough product, you’ll never make your money back.”
7. FOCUS ON YOUR BRAND AND DISTRO FIRST
Dave: “Everyone wants to have a brewery. But focus on the brand positioning and distro before the brewery part.”
Pat: “Once you reach a certain demand, then start plans to open a brewery.”
8. BE SPECIFIC
Pat: “Spend a lot of time on how you want your beer to look, taste, the colour, the alcohol content, how you want it positioned. When creating Quiet Deeds, we even had ideas of what hops we wanted to use, as certain kinds of hops delivered different flavours and bitterness levels.”
9. KNOW WHEN YOU’VE GOT IT RIGHT
Pat: “To be honest, the first batch (of Quiet Deeds Pale Ale) is what we ran with.”
Dave: “We did another batch because we felt we should, but we went with the first one. The first one was right on.”
10. LOVE YOUR WORK
Pat: “The best part of my job is growing the brand. I love introducing new products to the Australian market and walking down the street and seeing people enjoy them.”
So there you have it. 10 tips to starting your very own beer brand. The Pale Ale will be joined by several other different varieties later this year. There’s even talk of the opening of a Red Island Brewing Co not far off, so stay tuned.