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Know When to Hold ‘Em…
By: Janet Kalandranis
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And know when to fold ‘em. As a small-business owner or an entrepreneur starting out, this can be one of the most important lessons to learn. It’s understanding what you have at the time and assessing the risk of moving forward. This doesn’t just apply to staying in business or giving up, but also the many decisions involved in making the business and venture successful. Brands must understand the options they have and which route produces a more positive outcome — and sometimes this is the less popular option.

Craft brewers are known for just that: the craft of brewing beer. Much of the charm that is associated with these brands has to do with the homegrown nature of how they came to be. A beer enthusiast starting out as a home brewer and eventually growing into a brand. There’s an appeal in the idea that this is an independent company that focuses on the beer and the customer. The product isn’t mainstream and it grows little by little. That’s the way craft brewers work.

That is, unless the brand is Shmaltz Brewing, the one that did things differently and yet still sees success. Owner Jeremy Cowen has never brewed a single bottle, yet his craft beer is expected to bring in $3 million in revenue this year. So how did he do it? How did he create a craft brand without actually performing the art of brewing? Cowan was smart. He took a look at the cards and made the most financially responsible decision to get the beer brand off the ground. Instead of taking on a challenge where he had little experience and even less money to support it, Cowan contracted with Olde Saratoga to brew his beer. It was less expensive and provided more expertise along with a wider distribution channel. And yes, it’s still a craft beer.

Cowan plans to open his own brewery this fall, but that’s simply a marketing move. This brand may be taking a different road to success, but the strategy is still calculated. All the cards are on the table, the hand is being analyzed, and then the best decision is made...whether that’s to hold ‘em or fold ‘em.

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About the Author
Janet Kalandranis is here to give you all the little brand thoughts that run through her head with a little dash of spice. Find her online here.
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