How Lean Startup Principles are Helping Us Brew Better

Batch 2 of our Cut & Run IPA. Damn different than batch 1, in a good way :)

Batch 2 of our Cut & Run IPA. Damn different than batch 1, in a good way :)

Yes, we building our craft brewery with the lean startup methodology, and it's working! 

We're not perfect, but we try hard, really flippin' hard. When lengthy debates amongst ourselves result in the crystal clear ambiguity of opinions; it's time to branch out and further test our assumptions. By using the lean startup methodology—build, measure, learn—we are transforming our business and rapidly improving our beer quality. .

2 examples of lean startup principles in action

Example 1: We will enter the market with a lineup of experimental lagers

They're delicious, novel and limitedly crafted. Therefore, our uniqueness will differentiate Humble Sea from competitors. 

In theory, this is a splendid idea. However, after brewing a variety of lagers for events, our limited production facility could not produce enough to keep up with demand. Lagers require twice the time of ales (6+ weeks vs. 2-3 weeks), and optimizing our production on a tiny 1 barrel system is our priority. Translation: we killed our brewers by making them work twice as hard to produce lagers instead of ales on batch 1 of our production.

Result: Experimental lagers are a huge part of our identity, but until we scale to our 10 bbl system, they will be crafted for limited release only.

Example 2: IPAs are a fad of the past; the market is shifting.  

Sources covering the greater beer scene suggest that Saisons, Sours, and lagers add variety, and will steer demand away from IPAs. With IPAs still dominating 70% of the craft beer market, and Taylor personally being in a position to monitor sales at local taprooms, the numbers indicate a prevailing demand for IPAs. It's common for customers to sit down at the bar and ask for "the best IPA on the menu." 

Result: The Westcoast IPA plays a pivotal role in California's craft beer market. Therefore, we've taken feedback and constructed a new and improved IPA, one we love to drink. 

It's our goal to create products full of depth, complexity, and personality. To do so, we took a solid IPA recipe, distributed samples, and welcomed criticism. Using the feedback loop, subtle recipe tweaks have given way to a beer layered with character: an aromatic nose, a juicy and drinkable body with a smooth and delicious finish. Our new Cut & Run IPA is like poetry in a glass. 

Is it the perfect IPA? No, but we will not stop until it is.

In conclusion, we know one thing is certain; we are an evolving brewery that's looking to progress through feedback and criticism. We welcome it. It's our objective to separate ourselves from mediocrity and push towards becoming the best brewery possible. 

P.S. Get your asses to these events: 

  1. Keg Release Party with Ventana Surfboads & Supplies, March 26th
  2. Cosmic Hosts: The Art of Tasting, April 1st
  3. The Nexties, April 8th 
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