“The Beer Diaries” is not only a business model, but an ethical model. A way of being and working that promotes values that make for interesting lives. That’s why it’s an excellent example of what services mean in a world of the direct economy.
Several weeks ago, Obama became the first president to write a line of code. It wasn’t his first nod to the leaders of the coming change. His first contact with the direct economy was through beer. A self-declared fan of this drink, the president bought a beer-making kit, and assigned his cook and part of his domestic team to begin to experiment with home recipes. After several attempts, the White House proudly announced the creation of two beers and made their recipes public.
Homebrews and start-up microbreweries have been taking hold in the market, and also expanding as an industrial business model of a new kind: small scale, linked to the surroundings, with value added in design and brand-name positioning.
More than a million people produce beer at home in the US. By 2020, artisanal beer will reach 20% of the US market. The microbrew revolution has already crossed the line from hobby to a new sector that, in 2013, created a hundred thousand jobs. This fact, this industry is beginning to make it viable to launch services for microbreweries and artisan producers.
From video games to beer
In 2012, the founders of Bioware, one of the largest videogame companies, announced their departure from the company. Both said they had lost their passion and enthusiasm. They made it clear that they would maintain a link with the business but would dedicate themselves completely to the launch of new projects. One of them, Ray Muzyka, devoted himself to support for social businesses in education and of health.
The other, Greg Zeschuk, who was fascinated by artisanal beer and the microbrewery movement, created “The Beer Diaries.” His objective: create value for the brewers and their products with a model of direct economy services.
Sense and sensibility
The Beer Diaries is an online television channel dedicated to artisanal beer, which is continuously searching for new beers, and with each new episode, they expand their map of manufacturers, kinds, and favorite brands. The brewers gain publicity, and the show’s producers discover new flavors. They also publish guides and reviews, promote consumption, and put together live events. If you like their show, you can pay to enjoy it live. They are a communications agency of a new kind, but also an audio-visual producer and product marketing business.
The user trusts their knowledge and selections. It is a buying guide in a market where new sellers continue to join and in which the product identity itself (small batches for local consumption) makes it difficult for the new brands make themselves known. The producers have a themed channel of communication, whose audience is their future customers.
Criteria, not ranking
In their business model, the accent is on their knowledge of the product and their ability to bring it to the consumer via the Internet. Their niche, for now, is beer, but what makes their viewers loyal is the criterion of selection.
That’s where the strength of their business and their unique contribution reside. Criteria based on ranking, like like Robert Parker’s wine rating system, serves to promote homogeneity at the expense of culture, and increasing demand at the expense of complexity. In other words, Parker-style ranking depends on the irresponsibility of the consumer and promotes an industry of impossible scale and impoverishing standards.
In contrast, to publicize, map, share knowledge, organize parties, and to value the diversity and culture of the product encourages the industry without promoting its concentration or devaluing the meaning that is created at small scales. The model is staked on reinforcing the ability of the brewers to tell their story and on valuing consumers’ responsibility.
And it’s profitable. “The Beer Diaries” is not only a business model, but an ethical model. A way of being and working that promotes the values of an nearby industry. That’s why it’s an excellent example of what services mean in a world of the direct economy.