There is a general love-in in blogworld today for Kelly Ryan of Thornbridge Brewery who has made the decision to return down-under to his homeland, New Zealand. The respect that the beer blogging world has for Kelly and his efforts to bring us good tasty beer as well as his clear passion, knowledge and skill is immense and he truly deserves this slap on the back to say farewell.
The inspiration for this post came from Jeff Cioletti, the editor of Beverage World magazine and the full editorial of the July edition can be seen here. I am just going to lift a few passages to illustrate the point that one of the unique selling points of craft and cask ale is its passion.
Jeff writes : "You don't need me to reiterate the obvious: craft beer's volume and dollar gains as the rest of the beer market declines, evolving consumer tastes, affordable luxury, etc. That's not news .......
What I believe is under-reported is the emotional component, the passion.
Craft beers don’t have consumers, they have fans. That’s one of their key distinguishing factors...... And they can be quite the passionate lot.
The passion of its fan-base is one of the visible elements that's been putting wind in craft beer’s sails (and sales), but it's actually rooted in the passion of the people behind the brands, many of whom left other stable careers to do what they truly love. And the fans feed off of that.
In this new era of engagement, consumers are looking for brands that are not only about the finished product, but the types of people behind it. Increasingly they don't want to buy from companies that see the product as just another widget or something that was created to fulfill someone's MBA requirements.
They want to put their hearts and souls behind brands created by individuals who put their own hearts and souls into, whether it's a craft beer, an organic ready-to-drink tea, an artisanal soda with its own unique story or what have you.
Passion begets passion and is the key ingredient in converting consumers to fans."
Kelly, you have played a major part in converting consumers of Thornbridge beers into fans. We have enjoyed your company, your enthusiasm, your knowledge and most of all your beers. We wish you well in the future and very much hope to get to try the juices of your heart, soul and passion in the future. Cheers !