One of the main issues in the craft beer industry is the pricing. The issue comes from the side of the mainstream beer drinkers who are already alarmed at paying R25 for a regular pint. Craft beer is a completely different industry to commercial beer, an industry fuelled by a passion to create something better. There is absolutely nothing wrong with regular beer, but we can agree that the depth of flavours in craft beer is something truly special and that is why we drink them.
You cannot compare the price of craft beer to that of mass produced beer, because that’s like comparing the price of Nando’s to that of The Tasting Room in Franschhoek. They are two entirely different experiences.
You don’t drink craft beer to get drunk, you drink it for the taste. So you’re maybe going to have two or three beers in an evening.
You don’t simply start a craft brewery to make money, as the knowledge and resources needed to open a craft brewery are not for the faint of heart. You’re not paying R30 for a beer because the brewery is greedy, you’re paying this because of the quality of the ingredients and the time that goes into making a great beer. And making small amounts of anything is always going to cost more than mass producing it.
I am a huge fan of craft products and love brand history. The fact that I can go to a beer festival in South Africa and be poured a pint by the brewers themselves means the world to me, and I’ll happily pay a bit extra for this experience. Chatting to the people behind the beer in your hand is a unique experience, something so rare in today’s world. We’re used to sales and marketing teams driving messages, and then promotional teams delivering products to us. For me, some of the price of a craft beer is offset in my mind due to the fact that I can chat to the brewers about their beer and there is a real human spirit and passion behind the bottle or pint in my hand. This is obviously not always the case as I don’t exclusively drink beer at beer festivals or markets where the brewers are on hand. Yet I do appreciate the real people behind the beers. If you are interested in the value of brand history, a good piece to read is ‘How To Sell A $1 Snow Globe For $59: The Real ROI Of Brand Storytelling’ I realise this does not apply to the craft beer industry as they are not pricing their products based on their brand history, but from a personal point of view I love knowing that there are real people behind my beer, and a further portion of the price of a craft beer is in my mind, offset by knowing the brand history.
Some pricing does still put me off a bit, for example I was at the Cape Town Festival Of Beer and paid R30 for a BrewDog Punk IPA, and then bought one at Banana Jam and it was R45. I realise Banana Jam need to make money on it, but I think this should have been factored in at CTFOB. It should just have been R45 at Cape Town Festival Of Beer in the first place.
So those are the points I take into account when buying craft beer, and I also know that the pricing of these products is true.
‘I became a brew master purely because I am money driven’ Said no brew master, ever.