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Classics: 4 Tips for Utilizing Brand to Differentiate in a Crowded Space with Andy Snyder, Rhinegeist Brewery: Show Notes & Transcript

Post | Aug 29, 2023

Welcome back to Marketing Smarts! From brand-building and marketing veterans Anne Candido and April Martini (that’s us) comes a podcast committed to cutting through all the confusing marketing BS so you can actually understand how to take action and change your business today. We deep-dive into topics most would gloss-over, infusing real-world examples from our combined 35+ years of corporate and agency experience. We tell it how it is so whether you are just starting out or have been in business awhile, you have the Marketing Smarts to immediately impact your business.

In this episode, we’re talking utilizing brand to differentiate in a crowded space with Andy Snyder. Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, and your other favorite podcast spots – follow and leave a 5-star review if you’re exercising your Marketing Smarts!

  • Episode Summary & Player
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Marketing Smarts: Classics: 4 Tips for Utilizing Brand to Differentiate in a Crowded Space with Andy Snyder, Rhinegeist Brewery

For this episode, we welcome special guest Andy Snyder, Brand Manager at Rhinegeist Brewery. He discusses brand as a key means for differentiation in a crowded category – in this case (pun intended), craft beer. Brand is THE starting place for any company to build the right emotionally-led foundation to connect with consumers. It’s those emotional connections that – when built authentically – drive consumers to choose you more often, indefinitely. This episode covers everything from differentiation to IPAs. Here’s a small sample of what you will hear in this episode:

  • How do you utilize brand to differentiate in a crowded space?
  • Why should your communication strategy be rooted in your brand character?
  • How do you make sure your Why translates into all communication channels?
  • Why should you utilize your brand purpose when evaluating competitive threats?
  • How do you use your brand as the lens to make decisions on your marketing efforts?
  • What’s involved in revisiting your brand?
  • How do you compete if there are already other strong brands in the space?
  • What do Rhinegeist and Green Day have in common?

And as always, if you need help in building your Marketing Smarts, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at:

Check out the episode, show notes, and transcript below:

Show Notes

What is Marketing Smarts?

From brand-building and marketing veterans Anne Candido and April Martini comes a podcast committed to cutting through all the confusing marketing BS so you can actually understand how to take action and change your business today. They deep-dive into topics most would gloss-over, infusing real-world examples from their combined 35+ years of corporate and agency experience. They tell it how it is so whether you are just starting out or have been in business awhile, you have the Marketing Smarts to immediately impact your business.

How do I exercise my Marketing Smarts?

Thanks for listening to Marketing Smarts. Get in touch here to become a savvier marketer. 


Please note: this transcript is not 100% accurate.

Anne Candido 0:02
This is Marketing Smarts – a podcast committed to helping you become a savvier marketing leader, no matter your level. In each episode, we will dive into a relevant topic or challenge that marketing leaders are currently facing. We will also give you practical tools and applications that will help you put what you learn into practice today. And if you miss anything, don’t worry, we put worksheets on our website that summarize the key points. Now, let’s get to it. Welcome

April Martini 0:30
to Marketing Smarts.

Anne Candido 0:31
I am Anne Candido.

April Martini 0:32
And I am April Martini and today we’re bringing back another one of our favorite classic episodes. And that is the four tips for utilizing brand to differentiate in a crowded space with our very special guests, Andy Snyder, who’s the Brand Manager at Rhinegeist Brewery. As we all know, brand is the starting place for any company to build the right emotionally led foundation to connect with consumers. And then this becomes especially important when the category is crowded and crowded is the definition of the craft beer space. And this episode, we speak to everything from using your brand not to knee jerk into a meat to strategy with the competition to using brand as the lens for every single marketing effort that you do all. We’re all talking about beer. So enjoy this episode as your first go around or your second.

Andy Snyder 1:17
Well, Hey, gals, how are y’all? Good. I know I’m happy to be here on this rainy day. Yeah, some terrible weather here. But this is classic Cincinnati. No, it is it is a pleasure to be with both of you today. And I’m excited. You’re excited to dig into this.

April Martini 1:33
All right, well, with that we will get started. So number one here for the four tips for utilizing brand to differentiate. Make sure your why translates into all communication channels you hear and and me talk all the time about the importance of why if your brand does not have a why you do not have a brand. So if you need some help with that one, please revisit our podcast episode. 4 reasons you must focus on your brand in order to build a successful business. And that is Episode 14. So check that out if you haven’t done it, but in the meantime, we will keep moving and assuming that you have your y ready, really, because it makes sense to explain why you’re in the space you’re in beyond just what you’re selling. So we were talking about beer today, right? And we’re gonna let Andy here chime in in a second. But it’s that idea that if you’re just selling fill in the blank, blank beer, whatever the case might be, if you don’t have a y the consumer will not connect with you on an emotional level. And therefore you’re completely missing the boat for that deeper brand connection. So we think it’s just hugely important to make sure that y is really solid. And the other thing it does is differentiates you from the competition in the space. And now I’m gonna let Andy talk I’m sure this will be an exciting topic for everybody out there because it’s beer, but how they differentiate themselves versus the competition for the right consumer in what is, as we all know, a very, very crowded space.

Andy Snyder 2:58
So So I guess I should say so Rhinegeist turns eight this year. Ah, so so that’s a big, it’s a big anniversary. Right? And, you know, I’ve only been there a fraction of that time. But I’ve gotten to know, there was this original five, like these five people that started writing guys together. And I would say that the Y has not changed since then.

April Martini 3:21
Right. And it just means you got it. Right.

Andy Snyder 3:23
I hope so. You know, we’ll find out more and more as we as our footprint grows, but I don’t think there was anything intentional about their why. And what I mean by that is I think they almost backed into what the y is. And to say it differently. These five people really started together to to just create great beer. And and that’s really the platform for where it began. But that’s that’s kind of blossomed, right. And it’s, I think early on begin to ask themselves Okay, to play into the word why, why do we create great beer, right? And what I have learned really is, it’s truly about bringing human beings together in the most positive way possible. It’s about that human connection, right? And whether it be at the tap room, whether it be on shelf, when you go to a Kroger or to a beer store to buy something or even when you see us on social or if you get our newsletter, every single one of those is that emotional way of connecting people and hopefully bringing a bit of what I like to say bliss to people’s day. And I’m going to talk about that in more detail. I think why it’s such an interesting concept for brands as you guys know, right? April, you’ve worked on countless brands and and you know, you worked in sort of the mothership of

Anne Candido 4:44
bigger than Oh, genius.

Andy Snyder 4:48
But in but in reality, you know, it’s like the why sometimes with why simple is right. And sometimes not stretching to do more than what you are is good thing. And I think when we think about ourselves at Rhinegeist, we’re not here to change the world. If we had that power, that’d be great, right? If beer could help change the world in a positive way, that would be an amazing thing and make people

Anne Candido 5:12
argue with you that it’s not changing the world in a positive way.

Andy Snyder 5:18
That is true. And that is true. And I guess, but what I would say is, and this is how I frame it to myself, Okay, it’s like, we’re never going to change the world. But for people who are out there changing the world, maybe they’re not changing the world, but, but they are for people around them in some capacity, whether they be parents, CEOs, whatever it is, when they’re interacting with our brand, that’s, that’s like that moment of respite. And that moment of whether it be refreshing, relaxed, relaxing, calm, whatever it is, that’s what we want to deliver with every interaction. And that is our why it’s just to empower that moment of happiness. And hopefully, when you’re drinking a Rhinegeist, beer, or in your, in the taproom, wherever you are, all of those things that cause you anxiety, or stress or whatever it might be those leave for that moment. And if we’ve done that, then we’ve executed on that why, right. And so, so that really is the sort of the why platform, that’s the probably the best way to summarize it.

Anne Candido 6:16
Yeah, and I think you made a lots of excellent points. But the one I really want to point out is, you really, really just demonstrated the difference between selling a thing and selling a impact, have a feeling. And I think the reason why Rhinegeist is turning eight this year, and it’s still around, and it’s still growing is because you guys concentrate so much on like, we’re going to sell that human interaction, the price tag again, is on the beer, like, that’s the thing that we’re selling. But what we are really selling and what people are engaging with us in, in this brand is the human interaction, and the feeling and the experience you get as a result of engage with brands. So I think that is like so critically important in being able to develop scale, and so quickly, like you guys have,

Andy Snyder 7:05
and on that note, I mean, you talk about price, right, so like our why has to hit you in the heart, because we’re asking people to spend a little bit more money when they go buy a case of Cheetos, or if they’re, I mean, I have two bottles of beer that I brought for you guys to see today. Right? One of them $17 The others $10 Crazy. And, you know, this is a this is a pint. So this is these are really expensive beers. So what I’m basically saying is, if we didn’t have that, why it’s really hard to ask people to spend the extra money to buy something. But that’s what brand is, right? It’s that perceived value. And when they start understanding the why which they do over time, it makes it makes that that little extra $3 or $4 or $5, compared to a case of, you know, something scaled domestic big brand more mass. Yeah. I mean, it makes it more appetizing. Right? And so that’s, I’m just since you brought that up, and yeah, it’s, that’s even more important, because we’re selling a premium product. So

April Martini 8:05
yep, yeah. And I think that kind of moves nicely into our next point here, which is make sure your communication strategy is rooted in your brand character. And we we’re heading in the direction of the character, we, you know, as we, as we do on these conversations flow quite nicely. We get in kind of the groove, but I think we’ve started leaning into the personality of the brand, which right after your why you’ve got to be able to articulate more of a how, yeah, and so your wife says, Okay, this is the reason we exist, but then you have to be able to manifest it into how do we communicate with our consumers. And that includes, of course, the channels you choose, and the places you choose to be or choose not to be. And all of those things, you mentioned, shelf, same thing, but you must define that brand character or personality on the heels of the brand story. And when we talk about that, we really do talk about human terms, right? So AMD did a really good job of explaining what they want their consumer to experience. Now we’ll kind of move into more what does the brand stand for, in order to deliver that, but we always like to talk about it in terms of very human characteristics. And so a brand that has defined its why then needs to lean into if it were a person, how would it be communicating? And because the Rhinegeist brand, I would say is so dimensional, it indicates that you’ve done a really nice job at doing that. Because you can feel the brand living and breathing like you said, whether you’re in the tap room, it surrounds you at the shelf. When people talk about the brand. I mean, you you you get a sense of it, like they’re talking about something that they love. And so I would just be interested to have you talked and you know, we’ve talked at length about this honestly, last week, we were chatting about the personality of Rhinegeist and what you would like consumers to say about your personality.

Andy Snyder 9:59
It’s a great Question. And I actually saw I was looking in preparing for this. And I was like, what would be a great personification of Rhinegeist? Right. And so I went back to something we talked about when we were hanging out together last week. And my boss Tracy, who runs marketing for it, she used this phrase, right? Easy, edgy, right? And I go back to that. So I was like, Well, how do I bring that to life a little bit better, so people can understand. And there’s this. I was like, What’s a person that could maybe personify it or so I didn’t pick a person, but I picked a band. Okay, awesome. And the band I picked was kind of Green Day. Okay, yeah. And I say Green Day. Because if you go back to get off on a tangent for say, you go back to punk in the early 90s, right, there was hardcore punk, which are bands like Rancid, and the Descendents. And these really, I mean, blink 182 was like that in the early days. But Green Day, they kind of started off that way. But as they grew, they had to become more approachable. And it creates an interesting challenge that we’re going to talk about, perhaps later in the show. But Green Bay is a band that’s edgy by nature, but they have a really wide audience of people listening to them. And so I thought that was a good example of that. And I think for us, you have to have a unique personality. I mean, you can’t you can’t be all things to all people number one, and you can’t try to be something that’s very general or else it’s very hard to. And I think when we go back to that phrase, easy, edgy, you know, I am going back to our brand standards document. Okay, so there’s four words, there’s four words that we use internally, and I’m really speaking

April Martini 11:37
our language right now. I love

Anne Candido 11:38
that I know. So they a masterclass, here we go. Everybody’s listening.

Andy Snyder 11:43
Yeah, I don’t even know if people internally know that we have a brand standards document, but we do. negated what we know. And all seriousness, authentic is the number one thing, right. And I think these beers were built with such an honest intent from the very start, that that has trickled down in terms of how the brand sounds. So from tone of voice to identity, that off, authenticity comes through. And when you read the descriptions on the back of Rhinegeist cans, or you read our social media, you know, we’re always putting our best foot forward. Yeah, but we’re not. We’re not going to shy away from telling the truth. And when we can’t fall short of that, and you have a beer called Truth, we do. We do. And it’s, that’s a whole different story. But in saying that, being authentic is really, really critical. And I’ll talk more about being authentic in a second because I want to go through these other three words. So the other three stoked, okay. And I say stoked, because you can, you can go read a description that Ryan Deiss writes, and you can almost hear the enthusiasm in your brain, right? So that’s important, because if we’re going to deliver happiness and connection, like we talked about with the why, well, somehow the tone of voice has to make people feel that because I can’t tell you that at shelf, you, as the consumer have to hear that in your own head. And so that that kind of enthusiasm that’s around that idea of being stoked all the time, is really, really important. Now, this word is an interesting word, okay.

April Martini 13:16
And I’m looking at that. So Steve’s is a real word,

Andy Snyder 13:19
I believe, I mean, in the urban dictionary, at least it is. But it’s like, what it really means is like your effortless was your effortlessly Cool, okay? In other words, we are not trying to be cool. We just by our nature, emanate, this kind of coolness, vibe, okay, there’s a bit of authenticity with that. Because if you’re trying to act cool, you’re not being yourself. And sometimes when I think about that, it almost sounds a little arrogant, but then I think about it more. And I’m like, this is a brand that people are going to want to identify with. And when they’re drinking Rhinegeist, they should feel that same level of coolness that we deliver, with our experiences or with our cans, or whatever it may be. And I think what offsets that a little bit is this fourth word that we use, which is geeked, okay, and being a geek and being over excited about something, in a cute way, is so approachable, and it’s also authentic, right? So it all ties together very nicely for us. And so I think, whenever we’re writing copy, whenever we’re discussing a strategy, I know I kind of was joking earlier about I don’t know if everybody knows we have a brand standards document. But the truth is, these are our anchors for everything we do. So it’s it’s always there in front of us just like any good brand steward would be so those are the four words that drive us and hopefully when when people interact with us they feel that for the most part,

Anne Candido 14:45
I also think it’s it definitely shows through and all of your marketing channels like I so enjoy your social I think my favorite social posts was the one of the guy who was it was the rapid like almost boomerang style where he was like dressing up like the beer

Andy Snyder 15:00
Uh, oh gosh, was it the dad posts where it was like choose your character? Yeah, okay.

Anne Candido 15:04
Oh my clan like okay, yeah, then it was like you’re matching. I’m like, Oh my gosh, how incredibly clever but it totally like signifies all those four words when you say those words I nod my head and say, Yes, Your brand character is coming through in your marketing channels in the way in you show up. And I think that’s so critically important because and I’m gonna say probably something a little bit blasphemous and like, I can’t wait to hear that. All disclosure, I am gluten free so I no longer drink beer, but my husband loves craft beer. And when I asked him about it, he’s like, You know what, everybody makes good beer. Yeah. So you know, and you know, the props to all the other Cincinnati breweries here. And they make all they all make good beer. But when they’re trying to decide where to go, it is all on the character. It’s like, what do I feel like today? Do I feel like going to Rhinegeist says that or do I feel like going to Mad tree or I feel like one of my traits, like, it’s a feeling it’s an experience and your brand character is so critically important to differentiate your experience from somebody else’s experience and make people feel like they want to go there, right?

Andy Snyder 16:09
Bring it bring it back to p&g for a second, right? As an analogy that so I mean, I’ve always talked about this, it’s like, and I could be wrong. But but if you look at the chemical compounds that make up of stick of deodorant from Old Spice versus Dove versus Axe, I mean, they have to be very similar in the formula they’re using, I would imagine

Anne Candido 16:31
an engineer, she worked in deodorant, so your your head like really close. So the technologies are all really good. So I will say that like Unilever makes a really good deodorant, right? And GE makes a really good deodorant. We won’t have we won’t go into a big philosophical discussion about which is better. But yes, you are correct and Boerum

Andy Snyder 16:50
heading, as you know, if you go into if you go, if you go to a shelf, where if your assumption is most everything is made in a very similar way. What’s going to separate? It’s exactly right. And and I love the Old Spice story, because they did build an experience. Yeah, I mean, and in that packaging on shelf, you know that first moment of truth haha.

Anne Candido 17:16
Well, there’s no a 00 moment of truth. I know. But I do know

Andy Snyder 17:19
that actually. But it’s storytelling comes in all shapes and sizes, right? Yes. And personality has to be expressed in all shapes and sizes. So if it’s not buttoned up at all touch points, you know, you got a problem, basically. And I think that’s what we focused on. Right. I think that’s

April Martini 17:37
a really good point, which you teed up number three, quite nicely with us your brand as the lens by which to make decisions on your marketing efforts. So you just said across all touchpoints, and that is exactly what we are talking about here. So we’ve talked about the Y, we’ve talked about the how you speak. Now we’re getting into the where and when will you do so and identifying those channels that work well for your category and for your brand, and where your consumers are, through that brand lens is really the opportunity to choose the right places to be, and to really make that impact that we’ve been talking about. So that when you stand at that shelf, like you said, end, and you’re choosing, you are remembering and feeling all the other experiences that you have had with that brand. And I mean, I will I will say, we were in Lexington this weekend, and I was wearing my Rhinegeist mask, which was a gift from Andy for me. And we did go to several breweries. And I just was amazed that just with that little Ryan, guys bug and okay, I was in the category, right, fine. And I was in a local lized. City. But I mean, it was right on and those people talked about the tap room. And it was one of the first things that everybody said, and I thought isn’t that so interesting, because they were one of the first ones, they did it in a really big way. You used all of your brand personality attributes, you draw a broad crowd, but they are all really interesting and different. And so I think that that’s an example of picking the really big bets. And then also using those experiences as a halo for all the other touch points as well, and making sure that it all works together. You know, and reference the social, you feel the personality there and those posts, you definitely feel in the top room and I’ve been spending quite a lot of time there with the end.

Andy Snyder 19:27
Yeah, I know you can come in to see me.

April Martini 19:30
But you get it outside of that and that enthusiasm for the brand and you know, even with, you know, competitors, I was in competitive spaces, you know, they can quickly identify and then talk through the lens of what they’ve experienced from the marketing effort. And I think because you’ve done all that foundational work and then not giving up and not said we’re going to be everywhere and we’re just going to, you know, challenge everybody where they are whatever you’ve been really meticulously focused on the channels that you use and why you use them for Very, very strategic.

Andy Snyder 20:02
Well, I mean, so here’s what’s interesting, because it’s like, it requires context to answer this question in a really good way, because and the reason I say that is because like the channels we were using five years ago, six years ago, weren’t necessarily the channels that we’re investing in today. Right. And so as the footprint has grown, the audience has grown. The, the diversity of that audience has has grown. Okay, so now you have a wider funnel, you’ve got, you’ve got more unique individuals, you’ve got tribes within a tribe, right? If Rhinegeist is a tribe, so

April Martini 20:38
getting word would be segmentation. Yes.

Anne Candido 20:41
I like tribes, but I like

Andy Snyder 20:41
well, you know, Seth Godin wrote a book about it. So I’m just going to rip it off from him. But there are so many unique, let’s just say, tribes within our overall audience segment. And it changes every year as we get bigger and bigger as we go into different states, as the footprint grows. And so when we started out originally, you know, it was more, I always like to call it Field of Dreams marketing, right? Do you remember that movie, and they will come, if you build it, they will come. And that’s how it all started was purely word of mouth. I mean, it really was, and it was a small brewery at the time, it was very ingrained in the craft community. But that’s not sustainable. If you want to grow, if you want to get big, and, you know, I think as we’ve grown, our content mechanisms have gotten bigger, right? We focus so much on social, and we really use that social page to deliver that same bit of bliss and kind of escape, just as you would when you come to the tap room. The tap room was the first channel, that was the original channel. And to be frank, it’s still the ultimate channel, right? If you want the full experience that the brand delivers, you’re going to the taproom. But guess what, now the footprint is big. And our Taproom is here in Cincinnati. So as we continue to grow, and as we continue to get more purposeful, and maybe even I would say aggressive with where we want to go, we’ve started to do things that we would have never done in the past. So now we’re investing in paid media. Right. And so I said I was going to talk more about authenticity. So here’s the challenge with paid media, and maybe the strays from the question a little bit, but I think it’s important to know definitely, like, take Green Day, Green Bay did not used to be this massive band when they came out with their first album, which is called Dookie. Okay, actually, I don’t know if that is their first album. It’s their biggest album. But even then, when they wrote that, and they came out with that. They were they were still a cult type of thing, right? They hadn’t, quote unquote, sold out yet. There’s a parallel in craft beer with that, okay, where when you start to grow that core craft audience, which is a very specific audience, right? Who we can’t just continue to only market to right, but that core craft audience starts to say, well, you know, Rhinegeist is getting bigger. Oh, my God, I’m starting to see advertising from Rhinegeist. They’re selling out type of thing. And that’s a hard thing to balance as a brand. Because what I said originally at the start of this podcast was the why for this brand has never changed 2013, maybe the Y has evolved, but it’s never changed. And so how do you how do you weigh staying authentic to the Y, but also wanting to grow? And I think that’s been the tightrope that we’ve been walking. However, I think we really believe in this because I think when we do our own research, and when we learn more and more about our consumers, there is permission to do more experimentation, not necessarily with media, but the types of beer and the types of skews we release. But with that broader audience, we do feel like it’s appropriate for us to continue to say, Hey, guys, we’re here, you know, and we’re gonna deliver that the way that I set up earlier to you. So we’re trying to do something channel wise, that may not come across as authentic in an authentic way, basically, if that makes sense. And it’s a challenge. It’s a challenge. But like I said, originally, the tap room was the only channel. But content and paid media have been really what’s driving us lately. And of course, the ultimate, the ultimate signal of the brand, from an experience standpoint is the can on shelf right, we can never forget about that. But that’s kind of a convoluted answer to your question, but that’s how I would think about it. I don’t

Anne Candido 24:30
think it’s convoluted at all. I think it’s good, good. I think it’s actually very smart. And I’ll tell you why. Because you pointed out something that feels very nebulous to a lot of brands as they try to scale which is how do you do it in a way that you still maintain who you are and your authenticity? And a lot of brands struggle with this as they scale. And what you have pointed out is like hey are found Dacian is so strong is so clear that wherever we go, that comes with it. And that’s what a lot of people miss when they’re trying to scale their businesses, whether they’re if they’re trying to like open a new store, or if they’re trying to, you know, go into multiple different cities, or if they’re trying to go from little like shops into like big retail is that they lose who they are for the sake of scale. And it’s usually because it’s not well defined. And so it was good. What you guys did was really smart and saying, hey, no matter where we go, this goes with us, right? I mean, in with that it’s the authenticity actually holds, because it’s like, there’s just not people in Cincinnati that appreciate right guys, there’s people all across the country appreciate right guy. So you’re not like, you’re not going like hey, a mass appealing to now a broader consumer, you’re appealing to the same consumer in a different area, because you’re coming with the same brand, right? So you’re not like changing that authenticity. And I think that’s what a lot of people miss, especially as they’re scaling the business is that they feel like that, okay, all of a sudden, I have to come something different. In order to appeal to a much more mass audience, what they don’t realize is like, no, your consumer is all over, you still need to talk to your consumer and build that relationship and build those brand love connections, because that’s who’s going to become your ambassador, you don’t have to become something different. You just have to be mindful of and be strategic about where they are, and making sure you’re still talking to them, no matter what channel you’re leveraging.

Andy Snyder 26:30
Perfect way to say it. And so two points on that point, right. So that tap room. Okay, now COVID hasn’t given me the, you know, the full exposure of what the tap room looks like. And I remember going to that tap room prior to COVID. Right? It is it’s so packed all the time. But when you go to our tap room now, okay, you’re not just going to see what you think of as the stereotype, craft brewery, consumer craft beer consumer. You know, like, last week, I’m sitting there working in the tap room, and I look over my shoulder, and it’s a dad and his son playing chess and our tap room. Sounds like eight years old. Okay. I see groups of moms coming in, I see groups of 22 year olds coming in fraternity guys sorority girls, I see people that are my grandparents age coming in. We owe it to ourselves, it’s our responsibility to make sure that we’re communicating to all these different groups. Okay, now that’s authentic in and of itself, right? That’s something you’re responsible for, you’re mindful of it, you’re mindful of it. The other thing is, as we grow, and as we pinpoint markets, we want to go to, we basically have a responsibility to advertise. Because we can’t just go into that market and Chalene ham here. Yeah, Field of Dreams is just not going to work. And a really, really competitive place, right? We just went into Chicago, right? Chicago is a really, really dense town for that. Goose Island is, is massive in Chicago, right? And then there’s just tons and tons of other breweries around Chicago, it’s a beer drinking town. It’s hard for us just to show up and expect people to buy. So we owe it to our sales team to do smart advertising in an authentic way. And that’s kind of how I would tie it in. But it’s it’s a challenge. It’s a tightrope, so

April Martini 28:13
yeah, well, and I think, you know, you’re not alienating anyone, because you are being really mindful about the subgroups that exist, and the fact that you’re going to be inclusive to all of them, because you’re assuming that they love Rhinegeist. And they love the beer, and they want to be part of the experience. Right. And so I think that while you will have those hardcore folks that, you know, might be really on the fringe, perhaps they may end up opting out. But I think what you do, it’s a fraction. And I think what you do is, you continue to invite new groups in, right, and you still maintain the right level with those groups, whether it be through the SKU proliferation,

Anne Candido 28:55
and you know, all the different things that you’re trying, like from a marketing standpoint. And I think that there’s something really awesome about seeing that diversity within the tap room, that you may not see other places. But as a leader in this space, you are very mindfully welcoming other people in like minded people like my so I think that’s the other thing that you guys have done really well, even though you have and we talk about this all the time, a different demographic. Yes, psychographic is still very much united in the same like like minded mindset. And that is so critically important because a lot of people will segment their consumer based on demographics. So then when you start seeing people like that come in, you start freaking out like, oh, no, now we have to cater to Grandma, how are we going to cater to grandma and then all of a sudden, you make a knee jerk decision to shift your brand character. And then the people who loved you for who you are don’t like what the heck just happening? Right? So you’re you’re bringing like minded people together, regardless of demographic in order to unite on a psychographic, which is again the emotion versus the fact that You know, you produce really good beer

Andy Snyder 30:01
and look at the portfolio. I mean, so first of all we do there is skew skew mageddon as my boss would say, okay, so that is that is that it’s a proliferation of stuff as, as you said. So we when we innovate, we have to be really purposeful when we innovate, but look at what we’re innovating into now. Even even what we’re coming up with these days. It’s, it’s meant to to be broad appeal, in a sense, or it’s meant to hit an audience. That’s not necessarily the hardcore craft beer drinker. We’re coming out with our first shandy in a couple of weeks, right? So historically, we would have never, we would have been IPA IPA Pale Ale all day long, right? But we have a Shandy, one of our best selling Family of Brands is Cidergeist. All right, for unique skews of cider. We have a family of fruited ales, which is one of my favorite things that we may you know, they they are heavy and fruit, they’re heavy and acidity. And on the surface, maybe it’s not something that a guy would like, they’re my favorite things to drink at the brewery. But then, of course, we have truth, like you mentioned, which is our cornerstone, IPA. So there really is something for everybody at Rhinegeist. And that’s purposeful. That’s very purposeful. So,

April Martini 31:16
yeah, well, and that that goes into kind of what we’re going to talk about next, which is really utilizing your brand purpose when you’re going to evaluate any sort of competitive threats. And, you know, and just mentioned, from a consumer standpoint, getting nervous when somebody’s not in your demographic comes in. I think this also happens in the competitive space, where if you’re not using the lens of your brand, and you’re not really confident in what you stand for, you see businesses panic when the competition does something else. So it might be like, Oh, they did a SKU we never thought of, or shoot their Taproom kind of looks like ours, or oh, they’re taprooms cooler than ours, or whatever the case might be. And then decisions are made from a knee jerk or really, you know, short sighted perspective, that, then you start getting your brand off equity, because you’re mimicking your competition instead of really bad looks like, yes, but you do have some that are doing exactly what I’m talking about. But the things you should really be thinking about, just to make sure when you’re making those decisions, as will the threat impact my brand’s ability to reach my consumers? Is it a wave, a ripple or a change in the landscape? And is my brand strong enough to ride that wave? What’s the worst case scenario of what can happen? And is this a trend that we really want to play a part in? And I think all of those really apply when you’re talking about breweries and the beer space and craft beer in particular. I mean, we were having discussion last week about how much it’s grown, I think, from 2000, to over 10,000 breweries just in this country. And so you can see how it would be really easy to get lost in chasing everybody else, or getting nervous as a leader in your space and your city, you know, of what, you know, how do we manage all of this, but I think because you’re so confident and clear in your brand, you’re using that lens anytime any new competitor comes in, or a competitor does something to weigh all the things we just talked about,

Andy Snyder 33:15
I think and we’re confident in how we got to where we are now. I mean, the one thing I told you all last week, which is a crazy stat is so they measure breweries, you know, the size of a brewery is typically based on the amount of barrels of beer they allege a new word I learned. Yeah, yeah. Okay. So there’s, there’s a watermark that’s a big milestone, which is getting to 100,000 barrels. I mean, it’s it’s sort of a big league number. And Rhinegeist was the fastest brewery in America to get to that number from zero to 100,000. So from a startup perspective, it was the fastest growing startup in the beer industry ever. That’s a mean, that’s a crazy thing to talk about. But what that did was it this might sound arrogant, but I think it’s a healthy level of arrogance. It’s, it’s given us confidence to continue doing what we do well, okay, so we have a formula down that works, and we believe in it. Okay, that’s great. That’s great and authentic. So I go back to that word. However, in a free market world, like, yeah, we’re always scared of competition for a number of different reasons. And I think about our competition. You know, but I think about in the same way, we would talk about competitive audits when we were working in an agency, right? Yeah, there’s your aspirational competitors. And then there’s kind of your real competitors, right. And I look at it in the sense that we have to play offense and defense at the same time. We have to play defense in our home market where we have a lot of breweries that are springing up, and they’re small, they’re scrappy. They’re us, you know, what, five years ago, and but we wouldn’t be weird because we kind of cheer them on. I don’t know how to explain that. I mean, this isn’t this is. This is an industry that is more about brotherly love than anything which are sisterly or sisterly love. It’s about love you guys. Right? And so all that being said is we worry about those smaller breweries are able to do things a little bit quicker experiment quicker than we are. Okay, the way that we scale the way our our manufacturing works, it’s harder to do so. And so we learn a lot from our little brewery competitors, because they’re coming out with things that maybe we’ve we just don’t have the ability to, to innovate on as quickly. I mean, urban artifact is a local one that I always look at, because I’m a huge sour fan. And they churn out some of the most interesting combinations of flavors, and I absolutely adore what they put out. So we learn a lot from kind of the defensive side. But then as we grow, and we go into bigger markets, I mentioned Goose Island, well, that’s it’s sort of an aspirational competitor to a degree, but we’re getting there quicker than then than we think. And so now we have to play offense, right, and we’re not looking at them as much from an innovation standpoint, we’re looking at them much more from a from a market share standpoint, much more functionally than we would maybe our smaller competitors. So there’s two sides of that coin is basically what I’m saying. And one is playing defense at home continuing to serve people as best we can, but also learning from those smaller breweries. And then on the flip side, it’s it’s playing offense and, you know, hopefully carving out market share in places where, you know, you have some pretty dominant competitors, you know, and if we ever go to the West Coast, that’ll be a big, big thing, right? I mean, there’s some big boys out on the West Coast, or big girls, I should say, but, but I think that’s the best way to talk about our competitive makeup, if that makes sense. And so it’s just a crazy world. And you balance all that with the fact that we all read each other on everybody pretty much plays an ice in this. And I think it all goes back to the, to the kind of craft mindset, which is, we’re all makers in this business. And artisans, crafters artists is a really cool word for it, I think it kind of takes my mind back to sort of when they used to make beer in the olden days, right, like back in Ireland or something. And, but that’s the roots of this. And so when you all rally around kind of this idea of of craft, there’s a nice common bond that that just threads through everything in this industry. This is this is an immensely competitive industry. But it’s also an immensely harmonious, harmonious. Yeah, I think that works. Harmonious industry. I mean, it really is. So it’s, that’s just, it’s unique from that standpoint, I would say.

Anne Candido 37:42
And I think it’s interesting that you consider it offense and defense, because I consider it all offense. Well, that’s a good way to think of it. Yeah. Because it’s all inspiration, right? It’s all like you’re inspired even, you call them, you know, defense being more of a functional Lake response, but actually, it’s probably a little bit more of the inspirational responses, like, Hey, what are they up to? Yeah, and what do we want to do, but it’s not like, hey, we need to squash them because they might come in and like infringe on our space on it. All. Right. And I think the that is a very offensive mentality and what it allows you offensive as in like, playing offense, offensive as in like, it’s bad. Okay, so just to clarify. But it’s, it’s very offensive, because it’s because you’re so like you said, so confident in who you guys are. And actually, everybody is so confident and hard because they believe they have a craft or a style that you need. And that’s what why the craft brewed. The craft beer industry is not a commodity, even though beer itself is a commodity. And we talk about this a lot about okay, how do you rise from like a commodity into something that’s coveted, and that becomes a brand. And this is how you you do it. And when you get into that mindset, then you can start playing more offense. Because what’s happening over here becomes data, it becomes knowledge becomes inspiration, it doesn’t become a threat. And that doesn’t mean you ignore what’s going on. It’s but it’s a healthy reaction to Hey, why did you and that’s interesting. Let me assess that through my brand. And see if that makes sense for me, and how that’s going to impact my brand overall? And ultimately, how is that going to impact the way that I interact with my consumer? Because that is ultimately what’s going to then impact my revenue, my ability to scale? So I’m interested in then like, as you assess these competitive threats, how do you guys like internalize those? And how do you if you could speak a little bit to how do you decide you want to make a pivot or not?

Andy Snyder 39:41
So sales data, we are a sales driven organization, plain and simple. I mean, we’re in manufacturing. That makes sense, right? But sales data is really the driver of basically trying to predict where that next unique SKU could come from, if that makes sense. So oh my gosh, we’re no It is saying that, you know, fruited beers are month over month or, you know, quarter over quarter having a bit of a decrease. Why is that? Well, let’s go dig into that. Okay, we learned these things. Okay, well, that means maybe instead of this, we shouldn’t be investing in something else consumers are flocking to. Arnold Palmer is an example. Consumers really like tea and lemonade. Okay, we learned that how do we how do we move into that category, but still in a way that’s unique to Rhinegeist? Right. So I would say that is going to be our biggest driver. However, to that end, those small breweries sometimes create trends that we just didn’t think about, because they’re scrappier, I mean, it I use the word scrappy when I think of those small breweries, because they just move like this. They move like this. And they’re not afraid to jump into something that doesn’t exist, that maybe doesn’t exist. So if we see some commonalities amongst smaller breweries, in terms of what what’s bubbling up in their world, that’s more than just a correlation. That’s a trend we need to think about. That’s true, we need to think about and we have the ability to enter something like that at a scale that a lot of the smaller breweries can. It’s interesting. It’s like, you’re seeing more and more big breweries coming out with things that you would have never thought seltzers are insane right now. I mean, I think is it? Oh, gosh, Pabst Blue Ribbon just came out with a salty light, or natty light. I mean, think about all this, this stuff. This is stuff that they would have never ever ventured into. But it’s hard for a big domestic beer maker to do interesting things unless they do something like that. And the craft industry is all about innovation and creativity. So that’s, that’s kind of true to the core of the craft industry. You know, I guess I would say, I guess I would say that they are learning just as much as we are, from what we used to be, if that makes sense, right? When we were smaller, we could probably pivot on a dime much more efficiently. And and I think we’re just absorbing all of that from what’s around us. And so I think that’s probably the best way to answer that question. Sales data drives a lot of it, but also what we see the more experimental breweries doing, that kind of rises, we see it trickle uphill, almost, if that makes sense. And so those are kind of the two sides of that coin, I would say where innovation comes from more or less. And so I think that does that answer your question? Yeah. And

Anne Candido 42:31
I also think, just to build on that, what real quickly is the case that KPIs that you guys use are very clear. And I love what you said, a couple points ago about the fact that achieving that 100,000 barrels, the quickest gave you the competence? Being that clear about what success looks like, is also so fundamentally critical. So the sales data, yes, because that, obviously, is what drives the business and, but also, the internal, like, just, I’ll just use your confidence of of the of what you’re doing in the program in the in the feedback you’re getting, from a more emotional standpoint to that helps to direct Hey, do we need to make a pivot or a shift? So I think the KPIs that you use are very interesting, some more internally focused or more externally focused, in order to make sure you’re clear, hey, do we need to make a write it or not. And

Andy Snyder 43:25
to jump in on that there’s another good point because there is this coveted thing in this industry, and it’s called shelf space. And like, you get two times a year where you get to reevaluate what you’re putting on the shelf. Right? resets, its reset season is what they always say. Confidence, right? You talked about confidence, and, well, we have to have the confidence to also know when we failed at something. And when when maybe that innovation wasn’t the right one, we have to have confidence enough to say, guys, we love this beer, we all love it. It’s delicious. It’s not selling, okay, we either come up with something that’s going to be a little more unique that will sell or that will fit, or we’re going to lose that shelf space. shelf space really does drive a lot of it. Now that’s part of sales data. I mean, we use IRI right. So all of that feeds into iron. But if we if, if we have any sense that we’re going to potentially lose something because of sales, that is almost like hitting the red button, you know what I mean? It’s like, okay, we got to come up with something. So that drives a lot of it, too. That’s not always the best case because that’s very reactive. Yep. You know, not everybody is going to be apple and know what the next market is going to be. I don’t know how that happens anyway, but what I’m saying is, that is an additional trigger shelf space is kind of the holy grail for us. And if it’s ever in jeopardy, then pivots happen really quickly. Well, and we’re

April Martini 44:55
gonna get to our next segment here in a minute of in the trenches. But one last thing I do want to say that I think is really important here is yes, you’re in an altruistic category where everyone believes there’s room for everyone else. But I think as a brand, you check your ego at the door. And I think a lot of companies fail when they don’t do that. So you just said, like when the hard decisions have to be made, we’re kind and human about it. But we make the hard decisions. And I do also think it’s interesting that some of these big brands are leaning into what craft breweries are doing. Because I feel like when this trend started happening, they were resisting. And it was like, no, no, they’re not going to be anything or they’re not going to compete with us or their whatever. And then meanwhile, sales start to slide which I think is why you’re seeing them now be like, Okay, I guess these guys are around to stay. Whereas I feel like the insular community of craft beer supports each other, but also does what is right for their brand consistently, the ones that stick around anyway.

Andy Snyder 45:49
Yeah. And this business is not without acquisitions, either. Yeah. Fair. I mean, you’re seeing you’re seeing AB InBev. innovate through acquisition, oftentimes, and that’s not unheard of. It’s just Yeah, it’s, yeah, it’s an easier way to do it.

Anne Candido 46:03
Yeah, I think that’s yes.

April Martini 46:06
All right. Well, our next segment for all of you that listen to us regularly is in the trenches. And this is where we give real world examples. Specific to industries today, it’ll be all through the lens of breweries and Rhinegeist. But with broader application, so anyone listening should be able to take these digest what we’re saying see it through the lens of their business and put things immediately into action. So number one, here, we’ve talked a lot about this. So I think we can reiterate some of these points. But also, I think, give some advice on if you’re not the leader, like Rhinegeist, what do you do? So it’s number one, what if there are other strong brands already in the space? How do we compete? And we would say that your why is more important than ever, in that case, and being crystal clear, like you heard and say, it’s not about the thing you’re selling, it’s not about the price itself? It’s not about those things? It is why why do you really want to exist? Why do you believe you should exist and who’s going to care about your why. And then the second thing is, we’ve talked a ton about authenticity today, I think that is hugely important. So making sure that you have the discipline not to go chase the other strong brands in the space and do a meet to strategy that you’re really kind of like pushing out those competitors, in order to uniquely get people to pay attention to you. And the same goes for your consumer. So is there a new consumer in this space? That’s best case, in the beer category? I would say there are more people being attracted to it. You heard Andy talk about how now more than ever, it’s broadening that sort of you know, psychographic mentality is bringing more people in, but the demographic the age the you know, mix up of the families coming now versus just the the hipsters as it was when when things first started, you know, who is going to be your consumer? And why do you think you’re going to either attract new ones or better serve the ones that are there? And then, really, I think it’s about having the patience to do the right things for your brand. I mean, I know Rhinegeist grew really, really quickly. Right. And I think that’s amazing. But I also think that there had to be a certain level of patience there and being clear against your goals. And you know, and talks KPIs all the time, making sure that you’re being disciplined about those goals and knowing that you can’t just snap your fingers and tomorrow, someone’s going to want to acquire you, for example. So I think you have to be really committed, you have to be clear on your why, like I said, and you have to stay committed through the process.

Andy Snyder 48:36
Absolutely. I mean, you know, always think about if you’re going to enter in it, like who’s being underserved in that industry, right, like, Okay, back to P&G x crushed this earlier, right? I mean, yes, yes, they did. They, but they did. I mean, they saw the young male is not being served right now in this space. Right. Well, easy, easy win for us, guys. I mean, they crushed that and I think, who is being most underserved? And how can how can the authenticity of the brand that you have serve them? I mean, I think, you know, Yuengling came into this space very aggressively. Okay. And I remember I mean, you see billboards on 75.

April Martini 49:17
They have a new one, they have that flight out, which looks just oh, do they try in my mind, but Yuengling flight to light beer?

Andy Snyder 49:24
They got a big billboard up. I haven’t seen it. Yeah. Okay. I have to go up 75 sometime, but 71 Oh, it’s on 70. Oh, the east side of town. Yeah, I go up the west side of town. So, where I’m going with this is, you know, I don’t necessarily know if anybody was per se underserved in Cincinnati, but they delivered a message that was very welcomed, which is this idea of legacy and family. I mean, that’s what gangland is all about, it’s all about. This started as a family truly the angling family and that’s how we continue to grow and prosper. That was a message that I think hit home really, really well. On the Cincinnati area, we’re a very tight, family oriented place. I think for us, you know, our brand is starting to if it’s not already, in a lot of markets, we have some general awareness already, when we go in, that’s a good thing, okay. And there is perceived value with the brand already, hey, they make a really good quality product, we understand sort of what they’re out to do that type of thing. Basically, what we need to do when we go into a new market is we have to, you have it written down here, you have to deliver the why that you that you have in the most compelling way possible. And sometimes that’s not easy to do with advertising. Right. But that’s, that’s a common way to do it. And I think the other way to do it, which is a more authentic way to do it is we have great partnerships and new markets that we’re going into, and oftentimes we’re going to, we’re going to build on trust. And what I mean by that is, we might partner with a brewery in XYZ market that already has a high level of trust, and therefore, were grandfathered into that endorsement or that equity, you know what I mean? So, for example, in Chicago, we have a partner who has a massively strong reputation up there. And that’s a fantastic way to enter a market because it’s almost a rubber stamp for us, right. And I think it’s okay to play off equity of your partners, if it helps you start to blossom into what your own equity is, and you start to communicate that. And Chicago is going to be an interesting case for us to look at. I haven’t seen how sales have gone since we launched. But in all honesty, I mean, we didn’t kill ourselves spending time looking at what Goose Island does, we didn’t kill ourselves spending time looking at necessarily how other brands entered. Because, yeah, I mean, we don’t you can’t stray from what we do best at the end of the day. And so I would say the combination of how you have it written here, which is delivering the why in the most unique and compelling way possible, find finding who’s most underserved. And also partnering with people who have strong equity already, which is not always easy to do. It’s easy to do in our industry, but you know, it’s probably different CPG products might not void Right, yeah. But I’m just saying those that kind of trifecta. That’s how we enter new markets. And it served us well, so far. I mean, our footprints significantly bigger than it was two years ago. So that’s how we’ll continue to prosper, I think.

Anne Candido 52:24
Yeah, and I think there’s another nuance to that, too, which is, because I when I was drinking bear loved Yingling. And you know, before only available Pennsylvania, right. Yeah. So when it came to the to Ohio, it’s like, oh, tons of excitement. Because I was already I was there and I had it. And I think it says something to you about the experience you create in Cincinnati outrank so when people are coming to visit the city, they go back home, and then all of a sudden you emerge into so you already have those brand ambassadors there. But I think it goes beyond just the craft of your beer, because I think the tap room is unique in itself, too. So I was hoping maybe you could speak a little bit at the taproom. And as some of the inspiration, I mean, you talked about maybe the artwork a little bit about how the founders have influenced and maybe the dinosaurs was was was awesome. So

Andy Snyder 53:12
partnerships are huge. The tap room is the epicenter of everything I love. Like we were talking with my boss Tracy last week, and she had the greatest way to frame this up. She’s like, she was like, we tried to basically create Willy Wonka land for adults. Right. And so like, you remember the original training the chocolate factory, and he walked in everything in that room was edible, right? Yeah. And it was just like, insane level of bliss, right. So we do crazy, crazy things in our tap room. Very crazy things. I mean, and it goes from as simple as we’re going to turn the entire tap room into a roller skating rink. Or we’re going to build the biggest crowds center for watching FC Cincinnati games if you’re not at the stadium to Hey, guys, you know, the Society Museum Center has the biggest dinosaur skeleton in the world displaying when they’d be great for the community if we brought it to Rhinegeist in our tap room, because holy smokes, our tap room is the biggest room in Cincinnati, maybe and just have people come and see it for free and build. It’s joint growth for both our partner and for us. And so you also have

Anne Candido 54:22
a beer SKU that supports it.

Andy Snyder 54:24
We do Mastodon so

Anne Candido 54:28
it’s not just random. That’s what I hear people say, Oh, random. It was like a tension and an authentic connection. It is.

Andy Snyder 54:35
And that has trickled down to a lot of the releases that we’ve been doing. I mean, there there was every vote counts, which was a pale ale that we made in collaboration with I think it was a collaboration with a number of different breweries that was all about getting the vote out this November. Right. Black is beautiful is a huge beer that was made. I think this was made on the west coast, but you know, to celebrate Black History Month and to honor that, so those initiatives almost lend themselves naturally to the craft beer space. But going back to the tap room, I mean, to your point and everything we do there is purposeful, and it’s tied to something. So you know, if we’re going to do a roller skating rink, it’s because it’s got a disco vibe to it. And we just released a skew of cider that has a really cool Disco II vibe to it and story to it. So it must tie together and I’m glad you made that point because Double Mastodon which is the one you’re talking about. It’s a very small rarity, Ron, so I don’t think about it as often. But that is true. And that coincided with that release. Yeah. And who’s to say maybe we’ll do something special for the for FC, because we’re building a growing relationship with them. I actually don’t know if we are, but that might be a good idea. Who knows. I just it all ties together and to your point. That’s the heartbeat of the whole place is that Taproom and, you know, before COVID We used to do crazy crazy things, y’all I mean, raves disco parties. We talked about the dinosaur. We also used to just give away crazy things when football tournament. Oh, yeah, we had a wiffle ball tournament when we released wiffle, which is one of my favorites skews. But you know, when we released cheetah, which is this beautiful gold can but it’s it’s meant to be approachable kind of for for your dad beer drinker, like my dad drinks Coors Light. This is the only beer I can give him from Rhinegeist. That hill that he’ll want to try until he makes his way to the others. But we gave away a golden lawnmower. Right? Just silly stuff like that. And but to your point, it all ties together, there’s a common thread that they all lace into?

April Martini 56:36
Well, and one of the I’m gonna jump ahead a little bit here in the plan. But the one of the questions is, as a leader in the space, how do we continue to use brand to stay on top. And I think that things that Andy is outlining here are hugely, hugely important to that effort. Because I think what you talk about right is innovation, but innovation with intention, and leveraging all of the assets you have in a way that works together. And so I think it’s, it could be really easy. And we see this with other other categories and clients, honestly, where there’s this mentality, you know, we’ve talked already about ego, but we’re the big guys, so we don’t really have to do much, right, we’re gonna stay the big guys. And that’s a really dangerous way to think about things. But I think you guys do a really nice job of innovating, but also sticking with a strategy that works for you. So I think people attach to it, and identify you as a leader in the space through the use of these things. But it also gets you credit, as the leader and staying on top as the leader because you continue to push your things forward. Even though you are the leader right now.

Andy Snyder 57:44
I agree. I think that’s a great way to say it. And I mean, a good example of that is if you go to if you go to the beer aisle in a store, okay, and you look at specially the craft beer aisle, okay. There is no hard and fast rule with with canned design and craft beer. Right? With that maker attitude. Some of the some of the designs in craft beer are just so crazy, right? And it’s great for the right person. It’s great. Yeah, we took a different approach. I mean, simplicity and was our key, right? And it all started with that skull drop. That skull drop was so special, because it encapsulated so many things. In a logo. I mean, we say this is our logo, this is not our brand, but that logo speaks volumes about the brand. And everything around that you guys mean, if you look at our cans, they are without question, in my mind, the most simplistic from a design standpoint, and I mean that in a positive way, right, the most simplistic from a design standpoint, in that I’ll and that cut through a lot of noise. And that’s not to say I don’t like a lot of the other crazy designs out there. I mean, one of my favorite breweries, it’s in Charleston, South Carolina is called revelry and revelry. It’s almost like, they get Salvador Dali or somebody to paint abstract art on their canvas. Beautiful, right. But think about our funnel that we talked about earlier. Right? We have to be wide enough for people to be able to approach us. And I think craft beer is hard enough to understand as a novice anyway. Like, what’s the difference between, you know, what’s the difference between a triple IPA and a pale ale? I mean, it’s it’s not an easy thing to rifle through if you’re new to it. So our can design we just feel is so approachable. And that simplicity welcomes people to come forward and learn a little bit more. We’re not We’re not over the top with our design for that very reason, I think in many ways. But you’ve also seen other breweries, not going to name names but other breweries have shifted how the look and feel of their cans are and we see some stuff out there where they’re like, you know that could that could pass for a Rhinegeist can sometimes right? We take that Honestly though, is like a huge compliment. And yeah, it stings a little bit when you first see it, but the I think there’s nothing better for our creative director than that to see because he’s like, you know, we are the leader. We are the leader and look at how that’s trickling down to other brands. But I just think, you know, to the listeners walk through the beer aisle some time, and you tell me what you think sticks out the most. And it just be interesting to hear, because craft beer is not known for simplicity and design, or simplicity and naming or simplicity and style. I mean, what’s this one that I brought in? It’s called infrared Eclipse? It’s a creek style ale with cherries, like, what is that? Right? Know what that is? If you’re not a true craft person, then your story and your design has to help people. It’s a funnel. I mean, it’s very much like a buyer journey. It’s almost a user experience case. Right? Yeah. I mean, we designed websites in a way to minimize the amount of steps from one place to the next. Yeah. And we’re doing the same thing with can design, how do we minimize the amount of steps from first seeing it on shelf to purchase and less friction is great. Right. So that’s,

April Martini 1:01:04
well, and I think, you know, you’ve mentioned this whole time about learning from others. I think there’s a lot to be learned from Rhinegeist for this very reason. So I mentioned being in Lexington and wearing my mask. And uh huh. You know, I was amazed because, you know, you guys can’t see this, but it’s a little black mask with just the what did you call it? The skull skull drop? I love it. That’s it. Right? Yeah. And I can’t tell you how many people are like, Oh, Rhinegeist. And so I think, you know, there’s lots and lots of iconic brands out there. Where when you get to that point, I think it’s it’s a milestone to be noted. I mean, I remember when like Starbucks took away Starbucks, Oh, yeah. Ups, right. And they have a similar little round. I mean, it doesn’t look the same. But you know, and the mermaid represents that brand now without any mention. And so I think you’re right, and I think it can be hugely intimidating to people, you know, entering the category. I mean, I’ll take someone like myself, right? Yeah, I know, the Rhinegeist brand. I know to buy truth for the beer drinkers in my life, because they’ll drink it. They like it. You know, it was one of the first beers My brother always loved, you know, that can rely on it. And I can rely on it, right. But when we go to some of these breweries even, you know, my, my sister’s boyfriend is one of the ones that leans really into exploring and all the different brands and whatever. I’m a brand fanatic, right, yeah, some of the ones I’ve been to I’m like, I can’t remember the name. I can’t really remember the visual, the logos are so complicated that I wouldn’t even call it a logo. from a brand perspective. The cans are so crazy that if I ever saw it again, I probably wouldn’t recognize it. So if I’m trying to walk the aisle and buy stuff that Chris likes outside of what I know, it’s not going to happen. And so I think there again, we’ve talked so much discipline today, but I think you guys do a tremendous job about being relevant, but not outrageous. And I think there’s a lot of people in the category that have leaned outrageous to the detriment of their brand. It’s amazing.

Andy Snyder 1:02:53
We’ve been able to do it too, because there’s a lot of outrageous people. I mean, it’s, you know, it’s like, April, you and I go back to working in the same agency together. We always just say like, we were the Island of Misfit Toys. We embrace that. Embrace it, we embrace the same thing at Rhinegeist. Because there are so many crazy unique people we work with. And there’s chemists, there’s accountants, there’s biologists,

Anne Candido 1:03:18
crazy accountants, okay. Seriously.

Andy Snyder 1:03:20
I mean, not not not crazy accounting practices, just crazy. But it’s, I think it’s, it speaks to the discipline of the brand. And yeah, I appreciate you saying that. I mean, that’s a perfect way to sum it up.

Anne Candido 1:03:36
Yeah. And if you guys were listening, and he gave you a masterclass on scale to so what he mentioned is so Ultra critical is that a lot of times, especially when you’re starting up, you fall in love with your brand, right? And it becomes like a very personal manifestation of what you want your brand to be. And that’s fine in the short term, because that builds, you know, the word of mouth and those sorts of things and make it kind of crazy cool. But if you want to scale, you need to think about what’s the next step out and for you, for you guys. It was like, Okay, how am I going to get to retail. And so the stuff that’s working crazy cool in a very defined space, which is in the tap room, or you know, in the local area, may not work well once on shelf once you know it’s into the scale outside of your local area. And we’ve talked about testing and learning biases. We’ve talked about all these things about like, how do you think and how do you scale your business? When you are having these these big, like, grandiose dreams of you know, becoming obviously bigger it driving revenue. So you need to think about then what’s the next step above where you’re currently at, and planning for that, which sometimes means that you have to like take a couple steps back from your brand a little bit, even though it is like your baby and think about it more strategically than just hey, like indulging your own purse. sense of satisfaction of like, well, this is what I want. This is my brand, this is how I want my brand to be, if that’s what you want to do that is totally fine. And a lot of people survive very well in that localized area and are very happy doing that. If you do have visions for scale, you need to think about okay, well, how’s this going to show up and on shop, when people are walking by you caught talked about a consumer journey? Like, how are they going to receive my brand in that space, especially if they’re not familiar, or as familiar with my brand? How’s it going to break through the clutter? All those things are super important. And that’s how you think about scale.

Andy Snyder 1:05:31
I love that. And it’s like, reminds me that y’all ever see the founder about Ray Croc, who was the who was the actor, Batman? Oh, come on. I can’t think of his name either. Gotcha. Terrible.

Anne Candido 1:05:44
I feel like a failure. Keaton, Michael.

Andy Snyder 1:05:46
Yeah, Michael Keaton, that handsome devil. Okay, so like, Michael Keaton, Michael Keaton, in that movie, when, you know, he kind of was starting to cut the McDonald brothers out of this, he changed the logo completely. And if you remember in that movie, he’s talking about the golden arches. And he’s like, it’s simple. Yeah. And that was his explanation, basically.

April Martini 1:06:09
Yeah, no, I think that’s, that’s really true. And I think that the overall experience really has, I think we’ve talked so much about it being tied together across everything. And I think what you said like the taproom, not translating you set it to the to the aisle, or if I’ve never experienced it before, what do I know about it? Or how do I even know how to investigate it? I mean, I think your brand continues to survive and thrive, because you make it far easier on a lot of different people. And like we said, the beginning while not alienating those ones that have loved you all along. And I wouldn’t say that I’ve ever heard anyone say, I don’t do Rhinegeist anymore, because I’m all the way over here, it still continues to be in their mix. And equally as important to them and kind of like a go to even for them. You know, I might experiment out here, whatever. And there’s a 5050 I’m gonna like that. Right, right. Versus like, I know, the profile, the taste profile of all the different Rhinegeist ones that I like, and I choose, and when I go to get my six pack of that, right, I know, I’m gonna love it all. As opposed to I’m being adventurous today. Yeah. Perfect way to say it. Alright, so one last one here, because I think this is we’ve touched around it, but not directly. But we haven’t revisited our brand and several years, but we’re performing well. How often should we be doing that? And Andy, I mean, we’ve talked about, you’re building an iconic nature of your brand, right? But you guys have introduced new families of skews, you’ve had you know, new cans and total sum look, you know, if you look at the original versus where you are now there is flexibility fighter guys, comedy, totally different, totally different. So, you know, my perspective on this is the brand is at the center of all the decisions you’re making. If you’re not checking relevancy all the time, you’re just crazy. But to get busy, and it gets hard to kind of balance the deeper Foundation, take the time to do that. Really think through things and make sure that you are staying relevant, versus the we need to be in the store with this new SKU because we’re doing the changeover next week. And so how do you think about keeping well, one keeping your brand at center? But also then, how do you know when it needs to change or flex?

Andy Snyder 1:08:24
So I think about it, well, I know Tracy’s gonna listen to this, I think about it every hour. But in all seriousness, I think about it constantly. I mean, Tracy, and I, my boss, who’s She’s the head of marketing around guys, you know, we have an Instagram channel together, where we are constantly sharing things from different breweries. Right, cool. So we mean, to be a good steward of a brand. And I think that’s probably the appropriate word stewardship. Every single day you think about it, you think about it in every single meeting. I mean, because every single marketing decision we make, and quite frankly, every single decision we make from the business that in some way will impact consumers. At the end of the day, the brand has to be tied to that, and checking those boxes of brand stewardship hat. I mean, it’s like, it’s like when we used to write creative briefs, we would always have a section of strategy in there. And that strategy was like, the Constitution, so to speak, between client and agency, and we would, we would reinforce that and every single week, remember, this is what we agreed on. And this is why and this is based on that the decision should potentially be made this way. Okay? So we think about it constantly. And those brand foundations that make Rhinegeist it’s my responsibility to know those in and out number one, but it’s also my responsibility to speak up if I feel that there’s something going to stray from that. And that’s when you heard phrases like brand police and all that stuff like that. Now, that being said, brands have to evolve, right? Okay. Now, what the why, which is what we talked about at the very beginning. That’s never We’re going to change. But that y can also be interpreted in a way that can create new and different things. Cidergeist was a really interesting one, we wanted cider to be positioned in its own unique place in the aisle. But originally, our cider cans looked a lot like our fruited ale cans. So there wasn’t a distinguishing factor between them. That was a gut check to us that said, Hey, we can still deliver on the promise of cider guys, which is to be fun, which is to kind of have this just really powerful happiness vibe to it, which is what cider is all about. But we did it in a way that has a new unique style to it. And therefore, it’s very, very starkly different from our fruited ale category now, and thus, what our goal or hope is, is that when we go and sit on shelf, it will be situated away from those fruited ale so that people immediately identify cider. So understanding what the consumer is thinking, are they connecting or not with something? That’s a pivot point for us? Right? Absolutely, it’s a good point for us. Because if the consumer can’t distinguish between two families of brands, well, then you got a problem under your same brand. Under our same brand, I mean, the architecture just gets bigger and bigger, right, the more and more we talked, but that’s really critical. And I think cider guys was a good example of that. Because if you go to our website, or you go to any beer aisle in Cincinnati, those cider guys can look nothing like the fruity nails cans. However, the skull drop is still the center of that design, and the tone of voice is the same. And the brand emanates the same vibe. So at the end of the day, if we feel that consumers are not connecting the dots, we have to help them and the brand has to evolve. And oftentimes, that’s just stretching the identity, or stretching the tone a little bit, right. But it still remains authentic to the core is what I want. I

April Martini 1:11:53
think you have the permission now to do that as well, because I think you have been so consistent. And you’ve done what makes sense for such a long time. That now Yes, of course, you want to address what the consumer needs, but the consumer knows you really well, right? Oh, and so that little bug, whether it be on my mask, are you sure and they identify that immediately, and then they leave, you can lean further into the category speak or something that’s uniquely different to communicate that you’re now here. But it’s because you’ve built the brand very intentionally.

Andy Snyder 1:12:26
We’ve earned that. Right. Right. Yeah. And so I mean, that’s hard to quantify. Yeah. Other than the fact that we’ve been successful for as long as we have, and people keep coming back. But you also, we talked about, you know, being content, you gotta be confident enough to know when you’ve stretched too far as well. Yes. Oh, yes. I mean, you know, that sometimes you them, sometimes that just happens. Yeah. Okay. And you got to just wave the white flag and say, like, Okay, we moved a little bit too far in this direction. Regroup, retool, we’ll try something a little bit different. And that’s okay. Yeah. So that’s what innovation is. I mean, that’s what learning is, right? Talked about test and learn. I mean, it’s harder, it’s less efficient to do test and learn with actual cans. Okay. But yes, that’s, that all plays a role.

Anne Candido 1:13:09
And I think, you know, to kind of sum up, everything that was said here, because we’ve hit on all these points is reinforcing what we always talked about, but about brand. And when you have brand new create tangible value, right, that allows you to command higher prices, especially in this market, where you have a premium product scale more quickly, because you have the confidence in which to do so and attract more customers. And really, whatever your KPIs are, they’re probably somewhere tied into that. And that’s the ability in the efficiency and the basically the power of brand. Yeah, and

Andy Snyder 1:13:44
never forget, like it all started with this group of this group of people that just really wanted to make good beer because they know good beer makes people happy. I mean, that’s never changed, and is never going to change. And we’re mature enough to keep moving that forward, even as we’ve grown from five people to we’re probably at if you include all of the manufacturing pros that we have, and with all the different shifts of people and the spring grow facility. I mean, my goodness, we’re we’re pretty close 300 People now, so it’s, but it’s never gonna change. So, yeah. All right. Well,

April Martini 1:14:16
this has been awesome, Andy, it’s been a blast, you guys say? Really fun. For all of you listening. Our third and final segment is usually a real world example of a brand who’s doing things well or not so well under the topic we’ve been talking about. So utilizing your brand to differentiate in a crowded space and we pass it off to our guests. So you’re welcome to plug Rhinegeist you’re welcome to do whatever brand you’d like through that lens. And then of course, make sure you tell people where they can find you.

Andy Snyder 1:14:44
So I’ll get to Rhinegeist and the one thing I’ll say because this is this is sort of topically relevant given the climate that we’re hopefully coming out of like soon guys, right, so I got this crash. I know I got my first vaccine the other week because apparently Rhinegeist is an essential business. So

Anne Candido 1:15:00
Hey again. But yeah, people happy. I know Drew’s

Andy Snyder 1:15:03
in there nodding his head too. He’s like, That’s sweet. Okay, so I go to Patagonia right now because we talk about this right, especially in branding world conscious consumerism. And it’s very Patagonia started off with a focus on giving back, keeping the earth first and foremost being sustainable. That’s never changed ever with them even as their they become a behemoth even when it wasn’t popular. Even know exactly, because that’s also a political lightning rod, right. But they, they put that flag out there. And as they’ve grown, they’ve continued to, to wave that flag. And if you look at the type people that that buy Patagonia, they understand that, I mean, very few, I don’t know a lot of people that buy Patagonia without knowing the brand promise and story, it’s expensive, but they can get the premium, or they can get the premium price. And I think COVID is only probably helped their brand. Okay, you know, especially as consumers, it seems like have become more and more conscious. And I think a lot of big brands late in the game are trying to get on that wagon, and that’s not going to be easy to do. I think some consumers are going to be smart enough to see through that I’m not going to name any names, but big corporations are starting to pour money into, you know, how do I want to say this community and give back type initiatives. And Patagonia has never strayed from what their initiative is. And so if you’re a Patagonia fan, that’s a brand that I always look up to just from the standpoint of seeing how something’s grown, but the core and the heart of the brand have never changed to you guys. I think so. And so here’s what I would say about Rhinegeist. Okay, as COVID winds down, we’re gonna start doing more and more fun and cool things. And as the weather gets nicer, the rooftops gonna open. And it’s warm my heart because I work out in our tap room a lot. It’s a great headspace. And each week I’m in there, it gets busier and busier, draft sales are starting to climb back up, meaning people are going back to bars. So when you feel safe, come give us a visit. And you know where we are right by friendly market 1910 Elm Street, massive building, and there’s something for everyone there, right and truly, and so there’s a lot of new things coming, you guys, we’re gonna have more recreational activities than we’ve ever had before. The one thing I shouldn’t we have our own woodworking shop, which is kind of cool, awesome. So we can build things like ping pong, tables, and shuffleboard. And we get to do all that. So I would just say, you know, come visit us and and if you’re not a brand person, then you’re then you’re probably not listening to this podcast. But what I would say is if you’re a brand person, it’s a great experience to come and see Amanda that Yeah, absolutely each time and you know what, and we did find a beer for you to drink last week, I think, didn’t we? I had the cider. The Cider. Yeah, we had zappy, which I think was gluten free. Yeah. Yeah. So that’s right. shouldn’t be here. So yeah, I should, I should have brought some savvy day. But anyway, guys, please do come see us. One of the things that we’re so focused on right now is over the Rhine gave so much to us when we started. And Cincinnati gave so much to us when we started, even though we have gotten bigger and bigger and bigger and bigger. This place is our home. And so giving back to this place is a huge thing in the next year. Especially because we know this entire everybody has been struggling to stay sane. And so if some beer and some good vibes can help that. We want you to come see us so awesome.

April Martini 1:18:29
Well again, it’s been great, Andy, thank you so much.

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