Leveraging Small Batch Standard's Expertise, Fernson Brewing Company Obtain Big Wins in the Taproom and a New Financial Outlook
The overall goal was obviously to sell more beer, but he also gave us a lot of pointers on how we should go about doing that with bigger releases and trying to develop key partnerships to create stories around beer releases."
Fernson Brewing Company is a leading South Dakota craft brewery dedicated to creating a craft beer culture in Sioux Falls.
They’re regularly featured in Brewbound, Siouxland News, and Sioux City Journal for their unique branding, creative beer releases, and involvement in the local community.
✘ Disillusioned as a company
✘ Lack of data-driven decision making throughout the business
✘ Unclear on next steps to sell more beer profitably
A Market Trailblazer Struggling to Break Through
Despite brewing incredible beer with the region’s first production-level craft brewery on the back of a strong, cohesive brand, the business ran into its fair share of growing pains.
From scaling up their facility, to navigating distribution, to managing their team and culture, Co-Founders Derek Fernholz and Blake Thompson witnessed first-hand the challenges that come along with forging an untrodden path in an untapped market.
After some initial discussion, Blake and Derek asked Small Batch Standard to visit Fernson for a 2-day, on-site Brewery Benchmarks Assessment to meet with the team, evaluate their performance, and develop a customized plan of action.
An Immersive, Personal, On-Site Assessment
First, as with everything at SBS, the process started with the numbers. Chris and team initiated an intake from the Fernson team, collecting information on their finances, taproom, operations, distribution, and leadership team, as well as specific issues and opportunities faced in their local Sioux Falls market.
By evaluating Fernson’s numbers against Small Batch Standard’s benchmarks and data set distilled from their work with 100+ craft breweries, Chris was able to establish a baseline evaluation to work with well before stepping foot into the brewery. This meant that by the time Chris showed up for the on-site visit, he could dig into the intangibles: the people, the beer, and the experience.
After two full days with the team, diagnosing, walking through, and experiencing the location and liquid in person, Chris delivered the assessment: a global review of all aspects of the business, the nitty-gritty in the financials delivered as a standalone Excel model, and a complete set of highly specific, actionable recommendations.
Big Wins and A New Financial Outlook
As the Fernson team headed into 2020, at Chris’s urging, Blake and Derek dove head-first into a can release partnership recommendation, and teamed up with a local ice cream shop to create a new IPA release: one that turned out to be a big hit in the taproom.
This success came on the back of just one recommendation— and there were plenty more. But what Blake and Derek love most is not just the wins, but bringing on an entirely new way of thinking about their business.
In the end, that’s been the biggest win of all. And as a result, Fernson will likely end up in the best financial position they’ve ever been at the end of the year.
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