Dialogue | The bald man who initiated the “Jumping East Lake” movement is going to talk about beer seriously today

By orchioo Sep30,2022

Unconsciously, the concept of craft brewing has penetrated into our daily lives. With the help of self media and KOL, drinking craft brewing seems to have become a part of the lifestyle of young people nowadays.
In the eyes of a thousand people, there are a thousand Hamlets, and the understanding of the word “craft” alone can generate countless versions. However, there are many limitations in personal views. Therefore, we have been preparing a dialogue column. Interviewees include brand founders, beer sommelier, bar owners, importers, consumers, and official account managers, hoping to bring different dimensions of thinking to everyone through different perspectives.https://forum.stoneitech.com/
The interviewee in this issue is the bald head of the Eighteen Fine Brewing Manager.
Q1: Hello bald head teacher, please briefly introduce to the readers the next eighteen craft brewing!
Shiba is a craft brewing brand that advocates for youthfulness. We hope everyone will always be eighteen, and of course, when you reach the age of eighteen, remember to come and taste our wine.
We were one of the first batch of factories in China to produce craft liquor. We started building taverns in 2010, and then we started brewing in 2012. By 2013, we had our own independent production line. At present, in addition to offline channels, we are also cultivating online channels.
Q2: If you use three words to describe the brand tone of Shi Ba, what do you think it is?
Diversity, breakthrough, and rebellion.
Q3: How to understand “rebellion”?
For example, we have launched a social IPA that does not accept criticism. The design, wine name, and flavor are all very prominent, which is very close to the expression style that young people pay attention to personality nowadays.
(Author’s note: The design of this wine is very simple, with a blurry font design. The label “Do not accept criticism” is followed by three eye-catching exclamation points, which can easily trigger the desire to take photos and share on social media platforms.)
Q4: As far as I know, Shiba Craft has also been making some localized innovations?
yes. We are a brand from Wuhan, known as the “City of Hundred Lakes”, with 166 lakes of all sizes. It can be understood that locals born and raised here have outdoor leisure, love stories, and dining and entertainment centered around the lakes.
The lake carries the lifestyle of the Wuhan people and is also a landmark of Wuhan. Therefore, last year we boldly carried out a brand reshaping, closely focusing on the three key words of lake, bubble, and flow visually. We integrated the brewing method, flavor, and raw materials of craft brewing into the spiritual core conveyed by the brand, specifically showcasing the new logo of Shiba through the beer brewing process of crushed malt, boiling, fermentation, and bubble rise, I think this is a reinterpretation of localization.
Q5: How do we establish barriers in product development? Could you please introduce it to readers based on the current product line?
In fact, the barrier I understand is brand power. Consumers accept, love, and are willing to pay for products, and the barrier is gradually accumulated.
In terms of products, we have been constantly innovating and releasing new products every year, and we have also been creating a good brand for our corresponding main products. For example, it’s like ‘Jumping East Lake’, and we hold corresponding activities every year; For example, regarding ‘not accepting criticism’, as this wine itself is a social IPA and has social attributes on the product packaging side, we will design hats, T-shirts, coasters and other peripheral products around this product to leverage its influence and create a cultural identity.
Other examples include various IP co branding, such as Vans, Randomment, Attempt, etc. We have done too many such co branding.
Q6: The impact of the epidemic on many offline physical stores is not small. Have your sales been greatly affected by the epidemic in the past two years?
The impact is indeed there, but our overall sales have not decreased significantly, only by about five points, with a slight increase in physical stores.
Q7: What are the biggest difficulties or crises encountered in entrepreneurship over the years?
For us, the difficulties in the early stages of entrepreneurship are the most significant.
The supply chain in the early stage is the biggest challenge. There was no supply chain for hops, malt, or domestically produced equipment, and at that time, the future felt dark and could only be explored bit by bit, searching for light while doing so. However, with the rise of more and more domestic craft brewing, more and more importers are willing to pay attention to these sectors, and these difficulties are gradually overcome.
In addition, it is also difficult to obtain relevant documents in the early stages. In recent years, thanks to some document revisions by the National Development and Reform Commission, some small-scale manufacturing industries have also been allowed to establish factories, so this issue has been successfully resolved. Watching more and more people choose craft beer as the track, I am sincerely happy.
Q8: Price increase is a high-frequency term in the beer industry. The issues often discussed together with price increases include the development and upgrading of the beer industry, which not only involves raw materials, but also supply chain issues such as equipment and packaging. Do you think beer manufacturers should make any adjustments and optimizations to address these links?
This can be combined with the brand barriers we discussed earlier. If everyone recognizes your brand, with the price increase in the supply chain, a strong brand itself has bargaining power and can also make reasonable adjustments. I believe consumers can accept it. In addition, with the increase of scale, the marginal cost will also decrease. I think we need to balance the two.
In addition, for craft beer, we deliberately choose some high-quality raw materials, which will increase consumer viscosity. Therefore, when making new products, our bargaining power on the product side is relatively good.
Q9: Nowadays, many brands like to play cross-border games. Do you have any plans or have you expanded your business scope to some extent?
We are quite good at playing cross-border games. I will give two examples: the “color” of Women’s Day on March 8th mainly revolves around women’s topics, conveying the attitude of “beer girls” towards life; The animal protection plan is a public welfare activity planned by us, and all profits are donated to relevant organizations dedicated to the rescue of stray animals.
Special Plan for “Her Colors” in Eighteen Fine Brewing
Special Plan for “Her Colors” in Eighteen Fine Brewing
Photo source: official account @ 18 tavern
In addition to the two examples I just shared with you, many of our employees at Shiba Brewery have spontaneously become content producers, using alcohol as a medium, giving us a more diverse way of expression. From this perspective, we are more like a content dissemination company.
I would like to share two interesting plans. Our marketing department head, Pau, created a program called “Quandian”. Pau and the sales director, Liu Chang, specifically selected stalls with local cultural characteristics. They ate fried skewers on the roadside and paired them with Shiba craft to introduce catering and beer culture in a natural way.
Pau and Liu Chang’s’ whole point ‘
Pau and Liu Chang’s’ whole point ‘
Photo source: official account @ 18 tavern
The other is our winemaker Jiang Qi, who is very active on the platform of Tiktok and Xiaohongshu. He does some neutral drinks or shop inspection, and communicates and shares with everyone from a professional perspective, which is very interesting.
Evaluation and Sharing of Winemaker Jiang Qi
Evaluation and Sharing of Winemaker Jiang Qi
Image source: Xiaohongshu @ What does Jiang Qi drink today
Q10: In recent years, domestic craft brewing has also continuously won various awards internationally. Do you think domestic craft brewing has fully integrated with international standards?
We still have a long way to go in terms of some defined products. For example, for a style like Lambik, it is best to use local yeast, which is not easy to replicate in other places.
However, there are also some types of beer that can be made fresher and tastier in China, which is an undeniable fact.
Q11: Since we talked about style, where do you think the future development direction of domestic craft brewing is?
I have also discussed this issue with the winemaker, and we believe that domestic craft brewing may return to some more traditional styles in the next year or two.
Q12: What is a more traditional style?
I think it’s classic styles that are cleaner, easier to drink, and closer to public aesthetics, such as Pearson, British bitter beer, and so on.
Shiba Craft is now brewing some more flavorful lagers, mainly in German style, including some bok é s. We are not obsessed with brewing the popular sour beer, cloudy IPA, heavy Shitao, or fruity or flavored beer. I think the interesting aspect of craft brewing is not how to break through scale, but how to make the world more diverse.
Speaking of the diversity of craft brewing, let me say a few more words. In fact, when it comes to craft brewing, people always associate this concept with “better beer”, but I think it’s not entirely the case. The core of craft brewing actually represents a more diverse world, rather than simply distinguishing between good and bad. If the style of craft brewing is too neat and uniform, it’s a very unpleasant thing. From this perspective, I don’t think that the lager that represents “industrial beer” in everyone’s mouth is a bad beer. In fact, lager represents advanced technology and is worth re understanding.
Q13: What do you think of domestic craft brewing? What are the advantages and disadvantages of domestic craft brewing?
In recent years, domestic craft brewing has continuously won awards internationally. In fact, everyone can see the progress in our brewing technology and liquor quality. I won’t say much about these. Another advantage we have is the dividend brought by our population base, which many other countries do not have.
After discussing the advantages, I would like to talk about the disadvantages. The so-called disadvantages are actually more of a pain point in the industry and also a difficult problem for domestic craft brewing to overcome. From a policy perspective, imported beer has zero tariffs, imported raw material tariffs are high, and the overall scale of domestic craft brewing is there, which results in our profits being lower than imported craft brewing.
Another aspect is reflected in consumer cognition. Most consumers have a stereotype that domestic products should be cheaper than imported ones, but since we mainly rely on imports for raw materials and bear high taxes and fees, the price cannot be said to be much lower than imported ones. In a sense, by constantly selecting products to participate in awards abroad, we are actually telling consumers that domestic craft brewing is not inferior to imported ones, and some products are even better than imported ones.
I admit that many industries initially lagged behind foreign countries, which is the reason for the formation of the idea of “import is better than domestic”. However, since the reform and opening up, many industries have developed rapidly, such as air conditioning, refrigerators, and mobile phones, which have continuously refreshed their inherent prejudices and demonstrated the cohesion of domestic brands; However, the beer industry needs more time to completely reverse consumer stereotypes.
Q14: How do you view the industry’s 2023?
Opportunities and challenges coexist.
At present, the main channel for domestic craft brewing to gain recognition is still in bars, so I think doing a good job in offline channels will be an opportunity.
Of course, I also see more and more emerging brand names, and more and more winemakers constantly innovating. At the same time, the market size is also expanding, but the growth rate of the number of bars is far from keeping up with the growth rate of craft breweries. For many lightweight distilleries, crises may often arise here. I hope these distilleries can break the cognitive barriers with consumers through online, catering, or supermarket channels, allowing more people to have access to their products. Branding is a long-term task, and I hope everyone can persevere.

By orchioo

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