Monthly Archives: March 2012

Boston Pizza Owner Invests in Dead Frog

CBC’s television series The Big Decision featured Aldergrove’s own Dead Frog Brewery in yesterday’s episode.  The Big Decision is a recently created business oriented reality series where successful business people assess the investment potential of a struggling company (can they turn things around?).  If you missed the show yesterday you can view the episode on-line here.

Apparently Dead Frog Brewery has been struggling financially and was in need of an estimated $500,000 to expand brewery capacity and properly grow their business.  Jim Treliving, a successful Canadian businessman, saw potential in Dead Frog and decided the brewery was an investment worthy of his time and money.

Jim’s intent with Dead Frog is quite clear according to yesterday’s episode- grow the business and sell to a major.  This is a relatively common exit strategy in the business world, but will this corporate vision be good news for British Columbia’s craft beer scene?

Dead Frog has never been at the forefront of the local craft beer movement.  Instead of targeting beer geeks (and also passionate product evangelists) with hoppy IPA’s and other bold creations, Dead Frog has focused on light beer with their pepper lime lager and mandarin orange amber ale.  Dead Frog does offer a number of beer fanatic friendly drinks in 650 ml bottles, but the quality and consistency of these offerings have always been lacking and appear to be an afterthought.

Bud Light Lime is a very successful product, but Bud Light Lime drinkers do not drink craft beer.  Dead Frog is offering a product that competes directly with Bud Light Lime.  Budweiser can produce a light lime flavoured lager at a much lower cost than Dead Frog and they can also properly support their products with international distribution and a multi-million dollar marketing budget.  Dead Frog may offer a better quality and more natural product, but Dead Frog has never really had a chance.  I hope Jim sees this and makes a change.  Make great beer that beer drinker’s drink – simple.

The craft beer market segment has been growing for quite some time.  Big beer companies know this and want in on the action.  These industry giants lack the entrepreneurial spirit and passion for beer that only a craft brewery has.  Macro brewers like to invest in (or buyout) successful craft breweries to help increase sales and possibly add some much needed passion into a stale industry.

Jim’s strategy is to turn Dead Frog into a successful business – can’t argue with this strategy.  Dead Frog will need to post impressive numbers year over year (double digit growth) in order to attract attention from a major brewer.  Dead Frog needs to sell more beer.

Do craft beer drinkers buy light lime lager?  Not really.  I believe Dead Frog has no choice but to take a step back  and realign their product strategy with market demands.  Doing so will give Dead Frog the best chance at success.

The more successful craft breweries British Columbia can support the better, but in order to survive breweries must offer a world class product.



Why I Love Good Beer: a Drinkers Manifesto

Five years ago I was given a gift that changed my life.  A packet of basil seeds and a copy of Jamie Oliver’s Jamie at Home (a book built around cooking with seasonal ingredients).  Never before did I think that I could grow my own food or that the three meals I consume each day had anything to do with the season.   Not that I didn’t understand where food came from, I had just never given it much thought beyond farmer – grocer – plate.

Growing food and cooking with the seasons connected me to the world in a way I had previously never known.  I felt as if I was part of a secret club centuries old.  I was joining a group of people that know how to survive, who own their lives and love living.

Food is far more than fuel for the day.  Food connects tough times and need to abundance and celebration.  Food forces us to slow down.  It connects us with the world and with our friends and families.

Anyone who has worked a vegetable garden understands Thanksgiving as an important celebration.  After months of hard work the earth produces an abundance of food – often times more food than can be stored over the winter.  After toiling all summer, Thanksgiving is a time to stop and celebrate life.  When blessed with abundance, feast, be generous and joyful.  Life is something to be Thankful for and is worthy of celebration.

After watching the basil seeds grow into fragrant basil leaves, my life changed.  I see the world in a new way – the world is set up in a way where an individual can contribute to the outcome of their life.  We can grow things: whether its food, ideas, businesses or friendships – we can make a difference in our lives.  I began making beer and drinking better beer, I explored new foods and learned about how food culture continues to shape the world.  I am now a passionate eater and life long beer fanatic.  Dinner is a daily celebration in my house.  Life is worth living well.

I started writing this blog with Chris because I thought it would be fun, and it is.  My goal was to get free beer, which was quickly achieved.  This blog is about far more than free beer.  The craft beer renaissance is important and I want to be a part of it.  It was not long ago that beer was brewed by individuals in houses and was a vital food staple.  We no longer need beer as a mainstay in our diet, but the culture that surrounds beer cannot be lost.

Mass marketing and mass production has changed beer culture.  It has successfully disconnected beer from the field and replaced it with a factory.  Craft beer is changing this.  Good beer is an important part of the world’s ever-changing food culture.  Good food, and with it good beer, can changes lives.

Life should never be unappreciated nor should it be taken too seriously.  The same rings true with beer.  This is why I love good beer.