Insightful opinions and timely responses to the most important business issues facing the craft beer industry. Crafting A Strategy members have access to additional blog content from our founders and from industry experts in marketing, financial modeling, economics, and business strategy.


My Journey to Understand Craft Distilleries

Sam Holloway, Ph.D. - Crafting A Strategy

In January of 2014, I was asked to go to San Francisco and give a talk about the beer industry to University of Portland Alumni. We had a great venue at the law offices of Nixon Peabody, and a great host in UP Alum Greg Schopf. My University had figured out that if they serve beer and have a professor come talk about beer, a good crowd usually showed up. Plus, it happened to be the same night as the men’s basketball game against our rivals from Spokane, Gonzaga University. It was a great night, we had about 50 guests, talked a little beer business strategy, and the Pilots upset Gonzaga for a crucial home victory.

I’ll never forget that night because it was the first night a craft distillery approached me and asked if CRAFTINGASTRATEGY.COM applied to craft distilleries, too. A super nice guy from St. George Spirits (famous for Hangar One Vodka) approached me after my talk and invited me to come across the Bay to Alameda and take a tour. While I wasn’t able to take him up on his generous offer, it did start me on a path of discovery. I am still learning about distilleries, but I am continuing to think craft distilleries and craft breweries are quite similar when it comes to strategy.

My first validation that craft distillers could benefit from the same strategic thinking as craft brewers came when I met a spirits expert during a trip to Europe in June 2014. My family visited longtime friends, Victor and Jenny ten Wolde and their three lovely daughters. Victor is a commercial & marketing professional who has worked in the spirits industry for 15 years. He has had the honor to work on brands like Ketel One vodka, Johnnie Walker, Remy Martin, Campari, and the Diageo Classic Malt whisky portfolio (portfolio includes Lagavulin, Talisker and Oban among others), both in global business development and local marketing roles. The companies he has worked for range from relatively small family owned distilleries to globally operating industry leaders. Victor’s expertise includes strategy (portfolio, brand, pricing and distribution), financial analysis and plan execution.

Victor and I sat in his living room, drinking beers during an amazing World Cup Game where Holland scored five goals in a match against defending champion, Spain. Victor and his neighbors were screaming the whole night, in disbelief and joy at their national team. We didn’t know just how special of a tournament Holland would have, but we did get a chance to talk about the business of craft alcohol manufacturers. Victor, to his credit, was a bit skeptical at first. Like me, he didn’t want to give any advice unless he was sure he was right. As we talked, perhaps by about the third goal of the match by Holland, we realized many of these craft entrepreneurs share the same qualities. You can hear Victor and I recount this realization in a podcast by clicking here. Mind you, we waited a few weeks to record this, so we could sober up and so Victor could immerse himself in the CRAFTINGASTRATEGY.COM learning community. After his review of the website, Victor called me and was energized to help. We came up with the podcast idea because I wanted our member’s to hear the passion in Victor’s voice, and also the quiet confidence with which he gives advice about branding, strategy, sales and distribution. It confirmed my hunch that craft distilleries can benefit from our strategic wisdom.

Inspired by my conversations with Victor, I approached another contact in the craft distillery game, Lenny Gotter of Eastside Distilling in Portland, Oregon. I knew of Lenny from two sources, as a consumer of his great products like Below Deck Rum and Burnside Bourbon, and also from an international rum expert and friend of Lenny’s, Roger Patteson. Roger also happens to be the lucky guy who married my sister-in-law, Erica. Small world, indeed!!


I sat down with Lenny last week and discussed his successes and big plans for growth. We met in his new facility; a huge 41,000 square foot building that is going to completely change the game on distillery row in SE Portland, Oregon.


Credit: Portland Business Journal

With Lenny’s passion and expertise, I see a bright future for Eastside Distilling, his employees, and all of us who love his products. When I showed Lenny the CRAFTINGASTRATEGY.COM website, his eyes lit up. He said his growing distillery needed a common curriculum for professional development. I told Lenny how our current members were using the website, the podcasts, and the core curriculum to give employees the business sense and wisdom that Lenny has spent years learning on his own. I am proud to welcome Lenny and his employees to the CAS learning community. I am proud to welcome my new brother-in-law and rum expert, Roger Patteson into the CAS community. Their joining is another strong indication that craft breweries and distilleries may have even more in common.

As I continue to explore for links between the two business models, it is great to have distillery owners and experts in our learning community, sharing their challenges and wisdom with each other and with our craft brewery owners. We’ve got some great momentum, and our global community is making a difference in neighborhoods all over the world, one craft beer business, and (now) one craft distillery business at a time.



Community-Based Entrepreneurship: A Paradigm Shift

Sam Holloway, Ph.D. - Crafting A Strategy

Several years ago, Helder Sebastiao and I wrote a paper about a paradigm shift in entrepreneurial thinking. Business models were replacing technologies as the primary source of value creation. Entrepreneurship was becoming less about algorithms and software and more about individual people, their hopes and their dreams. Entrepreneurs were beginning to make business model choices based upon their own values, beliefs and skills. Entrepreneurs were letting their personal values and personal goals influence the business model, instead of simply making the business model fit into what they thought could make them the most money.

We didn’t get everything right, but a lot of other scholars started thinking about business models at about the same time. There was a paradigm shift in how to create value, enabled by the Internet and IT infrastructures that could connect previously unconnected parties. In my own world of the craft beer industry, the brewpub business model disrupted an entire industry, allowing brewing entrepreneurs to become their own distributor and retailer, and keep more of the profits for themselves. By thinking strategically about how to organize a beer company differently, and changing the laws within their state, craft brewing entrepreneurs disrupted the three-tiered system and generated incredible wealth for them and for society. Imagine a world without Hefeweizen from the Widmer Bros. Imagine a world without IPA, certainly society has benefitted from this disruptive business model. What about traditional investors? Do they benefit from craft beer businesses the same way they do from a technology startup?

Keep Portland Weird


A couple of days ago I spoke with a colleague who advises new companies and consults on merger and acquisition (M&A) activity. He made a statement that got me thinking. He said he was considering getting out of the M&A game because there was no deal flow in a city like Portland. I remarked that in my world of craft brewing, most of the businesses were lifestyle businesses and the founders were genuinely happy to stay small and make a living – but many of these same entrepreneurs were uninterested in making a killing. They had neither the goals nor the business skills to turn their small craft brewery into an investable business. As my colleague sat back in his chair, we mused of a new paradigm in entrepreneurship: the non-scalable business model.

Portland, Oregon has historically been labeled a city that lacks a critical mass of scalable ideas. Businesses that start here seem to leave when the opportunity to scale requires access to traditional forms of venture funding. For example, Jive Software left Portland for Silicon Valley, suggesting that executive talent is lacking within this city. Many groups in the software industry are trying to change this, including the Software Association of Oregon and their Portland 100 initiative. Why are we so obsessed with one kind of business model – technology/software companies – and one type of investment capital, private equity?

Private investors seemed to shrug their shoulders at Portland, dismissing it as a small-time city that will never be a hotbed for traditional and scalable businesses. This was always seen as a weakness in Portland. But I think it might be Portland’s core strength. Portland is weird; entrepreneurship here is different. Why isn’t this celebrated more?


A New Paradigm is Making Investors Confused and Uncomfortable

Why are craft breweries making the large breweries and traditional investors so uncomfortable? We’ve recently heard from the MolsonCoors CEO that craft breweries are ‘massively overvalued’. We have responded to this by suggesting the business models and operating margins between Molson and a typical craft brewer are so different, it doesn’t make sense to compare them. So then, why are we still doing it?

Most craft breweries aren’t good targets for professional investors – at least not in the beginning. Professional investors ignore these non-scalable businesses because they do not provide a clear path to wealth generation. However, a traditional investor only really cares about financial wealth and he makes investments into businesses that can scale and produce financial returns. What about societal wealth? What about civic wealth? What if we redefine entrepreneurship to be about communities; where the societal benefit scales and the individual financial gain is more modest? My friend and colleague, Mike Russo writes about this phenomenon in his book, Companies on a Mission. But Mike writes mostly about individual companies, not an entire industry of mission-driven, non-scalable companies.

Collectively, Portland’s 50+ breweries and other industry stakeholders contribute billions of dollars to Portland’s economy. These companies provide jobs, pay taxes, and give neighborhoods a hugely valuable asset – a place to celebrate and congregate. Neighborhood breweries may be the new cathedrals of consumption, and they can charge high prices for a great product. Consumers don’t seem to mind paying over $5 for a beer, because the values represented by these local, hard working entrepreneurs align with their own personal values. We even have non-profit breweries in Portland, trying to capitalize on the values-based utility that breweries provide society. Keep Portland Weird – Your Damn Right We Should!

Paradigm Shift in Entrepreneurship


Business schools are teaching entrepreneurship differently. Business plan competitions are being replaced by business model competitions. Business plans are no longer the starting point for entrepreneurs, but rather reserved for a later time in the venture’s development (after the business model and market opportunity are better understood). Steve Blank’s Lean LaunchPad approach, which focuses on business models and eschews business plans, is sweeping the nation and changing how people think. The times they are a changin’ – and professional investors are left with nowhere to put their money. Maybe this is OK. Debt financing and banks may be the investment vehicle for communities like Portland. Craft brewery businesses can use debt instruments until their business model and the market provide enough evidence suggesting that scale is possible. Widmer Bros. Brewing grew this way, and eventually went public in a more traditional, scalable fashion once the market validated their business model. More recently, Ninkasi Brewing Company of Eugene, Oregon, perhaps the fastest growing craft brewery in American history, has ignored M&A and private equity in favor of debt . They recently invested over $20 million in themselves, using banks just like any other small business. Ninkasi is certainly scalable, they are enjoying a fast rise as America’s IPA, but they are still doing things differently. Keep it weird, Craft Beer!

I love the craft beer community and the businesses within it. These entrepreneurs aren’t weird, they just have different values. Community, society, and personal well-being trump profitability, scale, and traditional investment logic... Sounds pretty good to me.



Congratulations Postdoc Brewing

Sam Holloway, Ph.D. - Crafting A Strategy

One of the most rewarding things I get to do is tour a brewing facility of a Crafting A Strategy member. First, these members often become friends and walking with them through the ups and downs of planning a brewery, forming their entity, finding the money, and keeping one’s sanity (most of the time) is an extremely emotional, frustrating and rewarding journey. I was fortunate enough to get a tour of CAS member and longtime friend, Tom Schmidlin’s new facilty a couple of weeks ago. Postdoc Brewing has taken a major step forward and I was inspired by the humble pride Tom exhibited as he showed us around.

It also means there is more work to do! While Tom is focused on permits, construction, logo, brand design, fund raising, keg acquisition, and all the many other things that go into opening a brewery, by visiting Tom and taking him out to lunch, I am reminded of the intense pressure and responsibility that brewery owners assume to make their dreams come true. As Tom and I sat over lunch, our co-founder and VP of Marketing and Operations, Joe Belcher joined us along with our newest team member, Caleb Hilger. Caleb is interning with us as he pursues a degree in Entrepreneurship and Innovation Management from the University of Portland. Caleb is also a home brewer, so he definitely fits the mold of CAS and its customers.

As we talked with Tom, something became very clear to Joe, Caleb, and me. We need to have more conversations like this with our members in their place of business. These meetings are certainly about celebrating our members’ accomplishments, but they give us a chance to offer direct advice to a member and provide this advice in real-time. Inspired by this meeting with Tom, I would like to announce a weekly newsletter and podcast that will be coming to our members shortly. Additionally, we will be visiting three West Coast (USA) cities this fall to meet with CAS members and their craft beer friends to answer questions and give advice on a myriad of topics. Stay tuned! We want to capture these conversations and share them with others, so that anyone opening a brewery or restaurant can share in the excitement, frustration, sorrow and joy that come with starting up a brewery or restaurant. The emotion that comes from face to face interactions is important to share, as important as the wisdom we provide. Direct conversations are also a way for Joe, Mark, Caleb and me to find out new content that the website should feature, and that is important as the rules change from state to state and year to year.

I can’t wait to see this space populated with shiny new fermenters!

Future home of Post Doc’s Tasting Room

Below is an example of the value of face time with our members, pulled from our conversation with Tom:

Tom has a great location near Microsoft’s campus in Redmond, Washington that is also across the street from a large Whole Foods store. I asked Tom if he had thought about packaging his beer and sending cans or bottles over to Whole Foods. He said the thought had crossed his mind, but he had a lot of other things to accomplish first. We laughed, offered cheers, and clinked glasses. But I continued, talking about an innovative program Whole Foods developed to support local entrepreneurs like Tom: the Local Forager Program. Every Whole Foods store has the authority to stock about 8% of their items from local suppliers, even if that supplier cannot make enough product to supply another store. If sales go well, Whole Foods will offer that entrepreneur a microloan to allow them to scale production and serve multiple stores. It is a wonderful program that I only just heard about when Whole Foods’ CEO, Walter Robb III visited my classroom to speak to University of Portland Students last spring. Mr. Robb brought with him the local forager for the Pacific NW, Denise Breyley. Denise spoke so passionately about her personal commitment to help entrepreneurs whose values and beliefs align with hers and with Whole Foods’, that I wanted to share this program with Tom and with the craft beer world. Thanks to Denise and to Whole Foods for putting local first!!

Thanks, Tom for bringing Joe, Caleb, and I into your new brewery location. Thanks for inspiring us by following your dreams. I cannot wait to celebrate your opening and drink Postdoc Brewing’s beers in your tasting room and at your first Whole Foods tasting. Cheers!



Are Craft Breweries Overpriced?

Mark Meckler, Ph.D. - Crafting A Strategy

It's a Matter of Perspectives

The CEO of Molson Coors Brewing Company (TAP) recently commented that North American craft breweries are way overpriced [1]. What did he mean by that? For his perspective, click the link and read the article. For my perspective, read below and I will explain the rest of the story.

First, some props to Molson Coors. This is a great company – Molson’s brands are legendary in Eastern Canada and Northeastern United States. Many New York and New Englanders (like me) grew up with Molson Golden as our aspirational beer, not Heineken. Coors held status as well. It was hard to get. I remember stories from my older friends as they drove many miles to get their hands on this great beer from the Rocky Mountains and brought it back from trips across the country. Molson Coors is a company with a great history that knows what it is doing. So when the CEO speaks, it is certainly not out of ignorance.

Large breweries have a financial model that has developed over the years. In general, they expect much higher operating margins and they design beers and supply chains to help them achieve this. According to Yahoo! Finance, Molson Coors’ operating margin was 12.33% last year and AB/In-Bev’s was a whopping 32.2%. As a comparison, the average operating margin for small, independent craft breweries was 2% in 2013 [2]. Large, clear beer breweries achieve these margins through economies of scale – a term that suggests the more of a particular product you make, the lower the cost per unit gets. They achieve these economies through bulk purchasing, automated processes, large continuous batch production, heat pasteurization, and years of learning to perfect their processes and eliminate waste. At the same time they have large advertising and promotion budgets that help them keep prices up. They are very profitable operations. They are able to keep costs down and prices up.

Wall Street (the stock market) has come to expect these margins from these kinds of companies. If a large brewery – Molson Coors for example, were to report in a quarterly statement that margins were 10%, the share price would drop like a rock, and the major shareholders (mutual fund managers, investment banks, retirement funds) would scream for the CEO and the rest of the top management team to get things back on track immediately. These top managers are under constant, tremendous pressure to keep margins up and keep sales volumes up.

The vast majority of Craft breweries do not have the cost advantages that come with economies of scale or from using ingredients designed to control costs and increase shelf life. Craft breweries require high quality ingredients that enhance flavor, character and spirits; which mean the critical inputs are expensive. Furthermore, the fermentation processes change significantly with the style of beer being produced. A small batch of triple dry hopped IPA, hand bottled and labeled, and delivered in a Sprinter van does not meet the operating margin criteria for Molson Coors. This helps explain why craft breweries are able to keep the prices up, but they cannot keep the costs down like the large, clear beer firms.

Value is defined differently for Small, Independent Craft Breweries – So it should be measured differently, too

Everybody seems to know these critical differences between craft beers and the large, industrial beers produced by Molson Coors and others. However, no one seems to talk about how these fundamentally different products and very different business models affect company values. This leads to statements from the Molson Coors CEO that craft companies are overvalued --- compared to the clear beer business model, he’s right. Craft breweries cannot come close to the operating margins of Molson Coors, and until they do, their value should be measured on different metrics than those that Wall Street uses to value Molson Coors. Let’s look at one of the largest, most successful craft breweries as a comparison.

Craft Brew Alliance (BREW), a partnership of five different craft breweries had operating margins of 3.43% in 2013. Industry financial analysts trashed the low margins and they especially “blamed” Widmer Brewing, the most “craft beer style” brand in the CBA portfolio. They pointed out that Widmer’s beer had the lowest margins in the portfolio. So, the best microbrew of the bunch, with the most flavor and character has the lowest margins. Why, because the ingredients and the process are more expensive. It’s basic math, really. The Widmers are not complaining, nor are their customers. But because BREW is publicly traded, their numbers are trashed compared to Molson Coors despite the fact they have a fundamentally different product that is much more expensive to make and has a much shorter shelf life, which increases distribution costs.

How Does All Of This Explain Molson Coors CEO’s Comments?

If we assume Craft Brew Alliance is among the most efficient and large craft breweries in the world, then they ought to be able to achieve some economies of scale. If we take a smaller craft brewery, like Green Flash, Ninkasi, or even your favorite local brewery, why would Swinburn say they are overvalued? To a beer conglomerate CEO like Peter Swinburn, purchasing a brewery with only 3.43% margins (or less) and only a small local market is not a viable purchase unless: (a) it was compensated by huge added value of other assets of the brewery (like the brand, or some secret recipe) and (b) it was very cheap to buy. An attractive price is something low enough to justify owning a business that only achieved 3.43% operating margins with best hopes of bringing it up to 10%. That is why almost all craft breweries, even the successful ones, look overpriced to the big firms. No matter what, the purchase of a typical to good craft brewery by an established clear beer corporation would bring those average operating margins down. With Wall Street expectations putting constant pressure on CEOs like Swinburn, his comment that craft is overvalued can be expected. However, this type of thinking can be dangerous, even to the large, clear beer corporations…

Dr. Sam Holloway wrote a very intelligent blog about the large beverage distributors “fleeing up-market” giving away the lower margin accounts. The large established industry players almost always eschew less profitable, small market segments, leaving them like scraps for others to run. As Dr. Holloway pointed out, staying out of small and less profitable vertical markets is completely logical --- and at the same time sometimes leads to the demise of large incumbent firms. This is just what happened in the U.S steel industry when they ignored the mini-mills. Clayton Christensen [3] called this a disruptive innovation when a new business model of a small market segment catches on, and grows up to steal away the customers of the big established firms.

To those in the craft beer industry, 3.43% operating margins look pretty darn good. It’s a living, a darn good living. Especially when distribution costs are local and low, and advertising is by brand community and word of mouth. That keeps the net profit margins pretty reasonable. In some markets, despite the low operating margins of individual craft brewing firms, the overall market share is actually larger than for clear beers!!! [4] Little by little, operating margins are growing, which suggests that craft beer business are learning, gaining efficiencies, and may someday improve operating margins. However, for a craft brewery to approach the operating margins of AB/In-Bev, we don’t think this is reasonable in the near future. What is more likely is that the craft beer industry will reflect the wine industry. Perhaps someday in the distant future, specialty craft beer will account for 70% of the market and bulk clear beer only 30% of the market. Margins will grow as the breweries learn and grow, and those higher volumes will certainly make up for lower margins. That’s how the wine industry looks today[5] …That doesn’t look so bad to us…


[1] Rupp, Lindsey. 2014. Molson CEO Says Craft-Beer Firms ‘Massively Overvalued’. Bloomberg News. . Accessed on June 27, 2014.

[2] Risk Management Association (RMA) e-Statement Studies . Breweries 2013-2014. Breweries with revenue annual between $500,000 and $2,000,000.

[3] Christensen CM, Rosenbloom RS (1995). Explaining the Attacker's Advantage: Technological Paradigms, Organizational Dynamics, and the Value Network. Research Policy Vol. 24 (2):233-257.


[5] Kim, W. C., Mauborgne, R., Hunter, J., Marks, B., & Mortensen, W. (2009). Crafting winning strategies in a mature market: the US wine industry in 2001.Harvard Business Review, (July 1).



Differentiation in Advertising

Sam Holloway, Ph.D. - Crafting A Strategy

Many smart business people are studying the craft beer industry and conducting high-level analysis on brands, their messages, and the efficacy of advertising. Here is a recent article from a good blog we follow,

Their analysis hits upon a problem for breweries in an increasingly crowded market: If our messages are all the same, how can we differentiate our brands?

What kinds of messages should we send to consumers?

It is easy for most of us to use hindsight to recognize a valuable brand. Apple has an iconic brand; Sam Adams has Boston Lager, embodied by the vision of founder Jim Koch smelling his beer in their wonderful advertisements. For larger breweries with vast financial resources, creating advertisements is an exciting and very effective way to communicate their brands to consumers and drive that emotional connection that leads to sales. What about the rest of us? If we don’t have the financial resources and have not yet fully developed our brands, how do we communicate with customers in a way that will form an emotional connection that leads to a transaction?

“Marketing has always been about the transaction” according to CRAFTINGASTRATEGY.COM Expert Blogger, Dr. Peter Whalen [1]. In his Members-Only blog, Dr. Whalen continues: “It is vitally important for brewery owners to consider the exchange process before it begins to make marketing decisions…Don’t think of it as exchange value (what the consumer is willing to pay), think of it as use value, what benefits do they derive from consuming the beer. Use value unlocks the emotional and psychological costs and benefits that will allow you to create, deliver, communicate and, ultimately, exchange value with your customers.”

How do customers derive use valuefrom products like Beer?

We really like the research of NYU Professor, Melissa Schilling. Schilling suggests that a product can convey value to a customer in one of three ways. First, there is the technical utility the product offers to a customer. Technical refers to what the product actually does for a customer, and utility is a word for how much value the customer receives from using that product. For beer makers, the technical utility is the quality of the beer, its aroma, flavor, mouth feel, etc. Packaging the beer well, keeping it refrigerated and serving it fresh also enhance the technical utility.

Schilling says the second way for a product to deliver value to a customer is through the product’s “installed base.” The installed base is the total number of placed units of a particular product within the entire market or product segment. For Apple’s iPhone, the installed base is how many other people have an iPhone. iPhone users can text or Facetime with each other for free. So the more iPhone users there are, the more people iPhone users can call for free. Plus there is another benefit. The more utility each user gets, the more new people want to join in and get an iPhone too. This is a rich-get-richer-cycle, technically called “increasing returns to adoption” or “preferential attachment.”

For beer companies, think of your installed base as the total number of product placements and end users in every geographic region where your beer is bought and sold. In each of these locations, people will interact with your beer, interact with each other while they drink your beer, and the more people interacting and drinking your beer, the greater value your company delivers to its installed base. All those distributors, bartenders, servers and beer drinkers speak of the utility of your beer as they drink it. Your job is to give customers and partners positive things to talk about and share that other people like talking about and sharing too. This will cause outsiders to want to join your community.

“I’ve met the Brewmaster, she is awesome and really seems to care about quality…Have you been to their tasting room and met the staff? They all seem to really care about each other and the quality of the beers.”

“They put their beers in cans because it protects the beer better and keeps it fresher, plus it is really easy to take camping; want to go camping with us?”

Your advertising messages to the installed base must leverage your Brand Community. A Brand Community is a web of relationships among customers, marketers, the product and the brand. These relationships are characterized by a sense of community and belonging, shared rituals, practices and places, a moral obligation to the brand and fierce loyalty to the brand (McAlexander, Schouten, & Koenig, 2002). Thus, when designing your messages, it is not simply enough to tout how great your beer tastes. You need messages that enrich the brand community and leverage the fierce loyalty among community members. As reported in blog, attempts to communicate with a brand community end up as messages like: Our craft beer brand is all about…“real people”/ from a nice place/ believing in their beer/ having fun brewing beers/ using good wholesome ingredients (while caring for the planet). (Fox, 2014)

The third way that a product creates value is through the availability of complementary goods for that product. Apple’s iPhone is a wonderful product with even better complementary goods. These complementary goods include the iTunes store, the App Store, Macintosh computers, AppleTV and a host of other goods whose value and connectivity increase the value of being an iPhone owner. What are the complementary goods to a craft beer product? Ask yourself this question: How does consuming my beer enhance the value of other items associated with the quality of my beer and the core members of my brand community? Merchandise, such as T-shirts, hats, glassware, growlers and coasters allow a consumer to take a piece of your story with them, and share it with others. These are certainly complementary goods. Has your beer been featured in a book, such as The Beer Goddess, Lisa Morrison’s (2011) book on craft beers of the Pacific NW? Your brand gains surplus value from being mentioned in this type of complementary good. Does your distributor put your logo on their trucks, to showcase your brand as they deliver beers to distant neighborhoods? Do you have a tasting room where consumers can congregate and celebrate your quality beers and also each other? Each of these complementary goods enhances the overall value a consumer gets from your craft beer products. Using all three sources of value simultaneously (bringing it all together) yields dramatically more use value, which our chart below shows.

Bringing it All Together: Developing Distinct Messages to Each of Three Sources of Value

Do you really have an advertising strategy?

By designing your messages to hit all three sources of value, you begin to make the leap from marketing novice to marketing strategist. With limited resources and even less experience, many craft brewery owners are overwhelmed and end up ignoring any strategic thinking in favor of a Facebook page, a Twitter handle, and blasting any and all messages to anyone that will listen. While this might work for a while, as the industry keeps getting more crowded, breweries will need solutions that facilitate transactions. After all, that is what marketing is supposed to do.

My next blog will suggest which communication channels relate to each of the three sources of value. Should Twitter messages aim to evangelize your brand community? Or are Twitter messages better used for things like scheduling, announcing new events, and pictures? Since Twitter is amazing at scaling and getting your message to as many people as possible, and also facilitates brand community members sharing with each other; the Twitter communication channel is aligned with “increasing returns to adoption”, which we associate with the ‘installed base.’ Thus, Twitter messages should be aimed at the installed base primarily, and at the other sources of value in a secondary role… This is the kind of strategic advertising thinking that allows you to engender use value at a fraction of the cost of hiring a professional advertising firm. My next blog will align each communication channel (Twitter, Facebook, etc.) with its highest impact source of value…

What about videos of your brewmaster introducing your latest and greatest barrel aged beer? Is video the best medium to communicate your beer’s technical utility, or would a press release about a medal you just won be a better way to reach more people? How can you organize your messages and deliver them effectively and efficiently? Stay tuned or consider membership at CRAFTINGASTRATEGY.COM. Our members are currently discussing these important topics through our forum and through commenting on our White Papers. We would love you to join us and enhance our learning community.


Fox, D. 2014. Craft-Beer: One Strategy Won't Fit All, TheDrinksBusiness, Vol. 2014: Anthony Hawser.

McAlexander, J. H., Schouten, J. W., & Koenig, H. F. 2002. Building Brand Community. Journal of Marketing, 66(1): 38-54.

Morrison, L. M. 2011. Craft Beers of the Pacific Northwest: A Beer Lover's Guide to Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia: Timber Press.


[1] Dr. Peter Whalen is an Assistant Professor of Marketing at the University of Denver. His academic research is focused on the interface of marketing and entrepreneurship and has been published in Harvard Business Review blogs, Huffington Post and various international academic journals.



Mergers, Aquisitions, Partnerships, and Alliances

Mark Meckler, Ph.D. – Crafting A Strategy

Where will your brewery fit?

Last week I was in Europe and visited both Heineken Headquarters and Duvel Moortgat Headquarters. Both firms are in the game of operating, buying and selling breweries. Both have long histories of success and admirable balance sheets. Both boast recent international purchases and successes. Both are growing at a reasonable and sustainable pace. That’s why it is a bit odd to report just how very different they are from each other. They have similar components and very different architectures. If you are a supplier, a distributor, another brewery, a law firm, an advertising firm, or an investment bank, a business-to-business relationship with Heineken might fit your organization perfectly well, while fitting poorly with Duvel Moortgat. If you are interested in being acquired by either of these firms, your components and overall business architecture must fit with one firm or the other. It is very unlikely you would be an attractive acquisition for both.

Business Components: What are those?

Components are individual parts and pieces that are assembled together. Brewhouses have concrete floors, mash tuns, holding tanks, refrigeration lines, hops, water, filters, hoses, drains and so forth. A business has components as well. It has accounting, marketing, legal, information systems, purchasing, inventory, warehousing/storage, research, development, production, packaging, shipping, sales, after sales support, and so forth. A corporation has components as well. These are all the individual business units and divisions (companies) owned and managed under the corporate umbrella. Components should fit and integrate together well and at the same time be easy to remove and fix or replace.

Heineken owns hundreds of brands and breweries all over the world. They claim that their global reach is broader than any other beer brewing company. They have wonderful components: Breweries, transportation divisions, distribution agreements, routes, banks, managers, retail relationships, advertising and PR campaigns, all shared where it makes sense. Many of the breweries they acquire are refitted with clean steel tanks, quick release lines and valves, advanced sanitation technology, modern bottling and canning lines and new brand positions and advertising strategies. Heineken’s strategy is continuous improvement on each of these technical and social components within their existing architecture.

Business Architecture: What is that?

The general design and workflow of a system makes up the system’s architecture. The system workflow determines what parts and pieces are needed, i.e. what components, and how those components should be arranged to optimize the workflow. In a kitchen, when one changes their water faucets, gets a new refrigerator, changes the countertops, or updates their oven and stove top; they have improved all of the components, but not altered the architecture. After a number of iterations of component upgrades, it might seem like no further component upgrades will help the kitchen situation. It is time to tear it all out and redesign the kitchen to fit current needs and future needs. Counters will move, some components of the old workflow might be eliminated, new ones might be added, some things lessened, some things increased. Electric stovetops might be replaced with natural gas, floor drains might be added and hot water might be provided with a tankless unit. These innovations require an architectural change.

How could your brewery fit into Heineken or Duvel Moortgat?

Heineken is an advertising and PR juggernaut that focuses on scalable, clean, repeatable and defendable processes. They clearly establish hundreds of brands, and carefully keep the global Heineken Beer as the aspirational brand that is a “step up” from the others. Heineken is a high quality, clean and crisp pilsner. Heineken has a highly consistent flavor profile that appeals to the masses, while still being somewhat distinctive. Their strategy is to make large quantities of uniform quality beer that is marketed, advertised and promoted well and delivered on time. They do not treat their acquired local and regional breweries poorly. Rather, they help them and upgrade their components to ensure quality and efficiency. In fact, during my discussions with Heineken executives, I was surprised to find that the local and regional brands are where most of the profits are made. Heineken views these businesses as a series of strategic components, whose organization promotes, compliments and protects the core Heineken pilsner. Their passion is branding, and strategy is about market reach, complimentary offerings and positioning[i]. Even the smallest craft brewery can learn something from this component approach to a strategic architecture[ii].

For a brewery to be an attractive acquisition target for the Heineken N.V., it should be a relatively modular component. That means that it can easily fit into the rest of the Heineken system with very few adjustments or customization needed. The brand and beer should be subordinate to their Heineken branded pilsner and complimentary to it, not competitive with it. The brewery location and geographic distribution should be of the right sizes and in the right places to fit easily into the Heineken distribution system and methods. The technologies used and brewing cycles should be standard and predictable. If your brewery can easily plug into this architecture, both socially and technically, then joining the Heineken group may be a great fit for you.

Duvel Moortgat believes in customization and unique qualities rather than uniform qualities. For example, they do not seem to mind that (as they say) “it takes 90 days to make a Duvel.” The post brew house, in-bottle fermentation process takes up half or more of their physical space and time. If you are a Duvel Moortgat brewery, your brand will be maintained as unique. The technical quality of your beer must be consistently excellent. Further, unlike Heineken it will not matter if your beer or brand is seen in the marketplace as superior to Duvel: LaChouffe is excellent. Omegang is innovative, de Koninck is excellent, Vedett is fun, Liefmans is deliciously different, Boulevard makes excellent American craft ale. The key to the Duvel architecture is Michael Moortgat’s desire to maintain each brewery’s individual legacy and ecosystem, and to help them all be the best expression of their somewhat unique missions. High quality and attention to detail in the beer, the brand and organizational culture are the core goals, not cost controls or scale. This architecture is not as fundamentally efficient as the Heineken architecture, and yet it is also very successful.

A key business model difference between the two breweries is the ownership structure. A main reason that Duvel Moortgat can decide to have a somewhat less efficient structure is because they are no longer publically traded. After having a large portion of the shares publically owned for a number of years, the family bought the shares back and took the company private. This means far less daily and quarterly pressure to be as profitable as possible. They can be as profitable, or not, as they want. They are efficient and they are profitable – they just are not driven by the public corporation mantra of “maximize efficiency and maximize profitability at all times.” The company can follow Michael Moortgat’s values and vision for the long-term, rather than stock market’s values and focus on the short-term.

As you grow your brewery and brew pub business, it is advisable to grow in a way that will fit one of the broader business architectures – so that when it is time to partner, or merge or sell; your business will be ready to fit in, contribute and share the gains. It is up to each owner to choose their future, and strategically position their organization to be ready for it.

How can Duvel’s strategy be so different and still so successful? It turns out craft beer businesses can be as creative and innovative as the beer they produce and sell.


[i] Interestingly, their strategy is quite similar to Budweiser’s in the 1990s, as described in Guest Expert Blogger, Dr. Peter Whalen’s April 2014 blog (Available to our members).

[ii] Components of strategy, components of the brewery, components of the value chain… Find out how the value chain components fit together in a multi-business model approach in Sam Holloway’s 2013 Keynote Speech at Penn State University’s Global Entrepreneurship Week (Available to our members in the core curriculum).



Craft is Global

Sam Holloway, Ph.D. - Crafting A Strategy

Craft is Global – East London Edition

Standing at a craft beer bar in East London, one of the first of its kind, I was trying to blend in and take in the scene. I listened as customers came up and asked innocent questions like “I enjoy Stella Artois, do you have anything like that?” Before the extremely nice bartender could answer, another person at the bar jumped in, pleasantly suggesting: “This is craft beer, not that lager stuff you are used to, try the pale ale from Kernel Brewery, its dry hopped.” The bewildered Englishman took the advice, but didn’t really know what to expect. I felt like I had gone back in time to Oregon from 15 years ago. I distinctly remember the first time I tried craft beer. It was a Black Butte Porter from Deschutes Brewery in Bend, Oregon. I remember it tasted unlike any beer I had ever tried. As I watched this young Englishman taste his first craft beer, I smiled. The craft revolution is alive and well in England.

I was standing at The Craft Beer Co. Clerkenwell, the original location of this thriving chain of beer bars. They had 15 beers on draft and at least another 15 in casks, the bar staff was incredibly friendly and knowledgeable. They had just opened their sixth location the day before, in Covent Garden – a wonderful part of town with an open market, theaters, plenty of people watching and plenty of action. I kept listening, a much more knowledgeable customer asked for a Stone IPA on draft, and reveled with her friends at her visit last year to Stone’s HQ in Escondido, CA. I asked the very friendly and knowledgeable bartender for something local, and she handed me the Kernel Brewery Pale Ale, it was delicious with just the right amount of hop forward taste. We struck up a conversation and she had all the right answers. I was thinking about their business model, about how well trained and well spoken the bar staff was, and as people started piling in around me on this Saturday night in London, I began to feel the energy of something new, something important, and something incredibly local.

The bartender asked me where I was from, I said Portland, Oregon and quickly showed me the cooler behind the bar with 22 oz. bottles of Rogue, Stone’s Seasonal, Arrogant Bastard and many other familiar favorites from the USA. I told her I was a professor that studies beer companies and we engaged in a spirited banter about how excited Londoners were to have local craft beer. As she handed me my beer and glanced over to the patiently waiting customers, I thanked her and sipped my first English craft beer. Before I could set it down, two locals approached me. Stuart and Anna were serious craft beer fans, having traveled all over the USA searching for great beer. Stuart began: “We were eavesdropping on your conversation and you must have the coolest job in the world.” I smiled, offered them cheers and said, “I absolutely do.” Stuart reveled in the pint of Boneyard’s Hop Venom he had on his last trip to California – this guy really knew his stuff! For the next two hours, Anna and Stuart chatted to me about London pubs, the best beer, and their friends who had just started Hackney Brewery a couple of miles away. I’ll definitely be contacting these home brewers gone Professionals, Jon Swain and Peter Hills.

Stuart and Anna could not have been more gracious ambassadors of the burgeoning English Craft Beer scene. As we talked and bought each other beer, I was reminded that people care so deeply about quality, they care about local businesses, and the sense of pride they showed while talking about their friends Jon and Peter, and the beer they were making. Truly, Hackney brewing was the hub of that neighborhood.

I’ll keep this short, but my evening in East London confirmed what I have been watching all over the world – Craft Beer is Global. It gave me the idea to share with you stories about the people I meet as I travel the world searching for new answers to old business problems. I plan to visit Hackney Brewing in a few days, I can’t wait to see their operation, talk to the owners, and enjoy their beers. Keep your eyes open for a regular feature from Mark Meckler and me as we travel the globe this year. Craft is Local. Craft is Global. Thanks for visiting CRAFTINGASTRATEGY.COM



Why Contribution Margins Matter

Kevin O'Brien - Guest Expert

There are certain core financial ratios that any small business owner should understand in order to better manage their business – gross margin %, debt to assets, accounts receivable turnover, etc. One ratio that is often overlooked but proves to be immensely useful is the contribution margin. Understanding this concept is important because your contribution margin is what allows you to cover your fixed costs and generate a profit. Additionally, understanding your contribution margins will allow you to make better decisions as to where and how you sell your products.

Revenue minus variable expenses is the definition of a contribution margin. Whereas revenue less the input costs to produce a case of beer results in the gross margin, the calculation of the contribution margin factors in the additional costs to actually sell the product – the additional variable expenses. If the contribution margin does not exceed a company's fixed expenses, it does not make a profit. A company that has a contribution margin that is less than its fixed expenses incurs a loss.

As a small business owner, you are aware that there is a lot more to your business than just selling your product for more than it cost to produce. There are certain costs that are incurred regardless if you sell a product (fixed costs) and other costs that are incurred as part of selling your product (variable costs). To understand the concept of contribution margin, it is important to understand the differences between fixed and variable costs.

In order to be in business there are certain expenses that are required. These costs don’t vary with the level of output of the business; they are recurring expenses that are also known as overhead. Common examples of fixed costs include rent, utilities, office supplies, permits, and insurance. Regardless of the amount of products sold, these costs are “fixed” in their nature and need to be covered by the business owner.

Variable expenses are costs that increase or decrease relative to the amount of product sold. Said another way, these are the costs that are incurred in order to complete the sale of the product. Examples of variable costs include broker commissions, shipping expenses, distribution allowance, etc. As sales of products increase, these costs increase as well, hence the name “variable” expense.

With this basic understanding of fixed vs. variable costs and how they relate to contribution margins, an owner can now better evaluate sales opportunities. It is well known that certain sales channels (tap room) have higher gross margins than others (distribution). While it does make sense to try and generate the highest gross margin possible it is equally important to understand the variable costs that are associated with completing the sale.

For instance, let’s assume that you sell a 22oz. bomber via the taproom for $10 and in distribution it is $5. Assuming a production cost of $2 per bomber, the gross margins by tap room and distribution would be $8 and $3, respectively. At first glance, it seems obvious that you’d want to sell as much as possible through the taproom in that the gross margin is much larger. However, in order to properly make that determination it is important to evaluate the additional variable costs incurred to complete the sale.

Let’s assume that the variable costs incurred to sell the six-pack in the taproom were $7 (staffing, utilities, samples, etc.) while the variable costs to sell through distribution are $1. Once these costs are factored in, it appears that it is actually more profitable to sell your bottle through distribution than through the taproom in that the contribution margin is $2 per bottle as opposed to $1 per bottle. The extra $1 of contribution margin per bottle is that much more money you will have to cover the aforementioned fixed expenses.

Keep in mind that there are certain fixed costs that rely on the variable costs of selling product in a certain manner. An example would be if an owner spent considerable funds on retrofitting a taproom only to close it a year later because sales didn’t meet expectations. Without selling product through the tap room this cost cannot be recovered and therefore adds that much more pressure to increase contribution margins in other channels. The same situation occurs if a long-term lease is signed and the owner cannot find someone to take it over, this is now a “sunk” cost that must be recovered through other sales channels.

The above is an example of why it is important to understand the concept of contribution margins. Business owners who assume that a higher gross margin is better for their business may find themselves in financial difficulty because they aren’t considering the additional costs to complete the sale. If nothing else, understanding contribution margins will allow you to justify why one sales channel is worth focusing on relative to another.

About Kevin O’Brien, CPA: Guest Expert Blogger for Crafting A Strategy, Kevin is Director of Business Advisory for Irvine & Company CPA’s, specializing in financial modeling, strategic planning, and mergers and acquisitions. Kevin has been involved on both the buy and sell side of over $250 million in food & beverage transactions.

Irvine & Company CPA’s: Certified Public Accounts 345 NE 102nd Ave, Portland, OR, Phone 503-252-8449



Give Me Profitability And Give Me Death

Sam Holloway, Ph.D. – Crafting A Strategy

Apologies to Patrick Henry…I just returned from a great week in Denver and the 2014 Craft Brewer’s Conference. It was great to reconnect with old friends, meet new ones and attend some great sessions. One session in particular, “Surviving Rotating Handles” really struck a nerve for me. Congrats and thanks to E3 Craft Strategies’ Marty Ochs for putting together a talented and spirited panel.

For those of us at the panel, we saw some passionate folks who fundamentally disagree on the future. Marty constructed a panel representing the traditional 3-tiered system: Representing breweries was a great brewery co-founder from Elevation Beer Co., Xandy Bustamante. Representing distributors was an old-school brand manager from Philadelphia, Tom Buonanno from Muller, Inc. distribution. And perhaps the most passionate of them all, representing retail was Scott Blair, proprietor of Hamilton’s Tavern in San Diego. What an awesome crew to highlight an impending problem facing the craft beer industry. – Brewers and consumers want variety, but distributors want more sameness. More sameness is more profitable, could chasing profits result in the death of distribution, as we know it?

At Crafting A Strategy, we are business professors who studied many different industries before finding our true love in craft beer. I want this blog to focus in on the role of the distributor – or rather the distributor business model – to explain that distributors may need to wake up and reinvent their business model to survive (Johnson, Christensen, & Kagermann, 2008). Why would this cash cow of a business need to change? Eastman Kodak, Bethlehem Steel, Woolworth’s Department Stores… any of these companies ring a bell?

Clay Christensen and Michael Raynor (2003), have a wonderful book, The Innovators Solution, that shows how leading companies follow the profits to their ultimate demise. Chapter 2 – How Can We Beat Our Most Powerful Competitors, details a particularly important phenomenon, which they term “Fleeing up-market.” This process occurs within an industry’s most powerful firms, when these powerful firms chase short-term profitability found in their traditional business model, and ignore disruptive technologies and processes found in the business models of new entrants. Here’s an example from the steel industry (adapted from Christensen and Raynor, 2003).

Bethlehem Steel, U.S. Steel, remember the dominance of these large, integrated steel mills? Even the Pittsburgh Steelers NFL team celebrates this business model. They had incredible barriers to entry[1], because the only way to manufacture high quality steel was to own large deposits of iron ore. If you own all the good land, no new competitors can get this critical input and thus, you have a dominant market position. How could new entrants get around this barrier to entry? A new entrant, NUCOR Steel, found a way to recycle scrap steel and thus gain the critical input without owning large deposits of iron ore. This new business model was termed “Minimills” because they could be much smaller and more efficient than traditional steel mills that were doing things the old way (Christensen & Raynor, 2003). The only problem, minimill processes were initially crude, and they could only make the most basic and least profitable kind of structural steel, rebar (see chart below). So, what did Bethlehem Steel and the large integrated steel mills do when this new technology for steel production threatened their very livelihood? They let NUCOR have all the rebar – its margins are the lowest and least profitable – and they kept going along as if NUCOR had done them a favor. Imagine the conversation in the boardroom: Bethlehem CEO, “Don’t worry about minimills like NUCOR, their process is crude, they will never be able to make structural steel or sheet steel, just give them the rebar and let us redeploy all of our resources into the higher margin stuff. They are doing us a favor!” In the back of his mind, the Bethlehem CEO may have said, “Since my bonus is tied to share price, and I plan to retire in two years anyway, this strategy will also maximize my retirement, a win-win!” Guess what, Wal-Mart entered in hardware and Woolworth’s let them have it. Fujifilm, Canon, Sony and Nikon entered in digital cameras, and Eastman Kodak let them have it. Sticking with Steel for now, see Christensen’s chart below as to how this decision to “let the new entrants have it” and flee up-market without changing the business model led to incredible profitability, for a few years. Ultimately, NUCOR refined and improved their processes, and was able to make all of the products in the steel industry, cheaper, faster, and at the same or better quality. Bethlehem fled up-market until they were dead firm walking! Bethlehem Steel filed for bankruptcy in October 2001.

Caption: Generic Pattern of Disruption as Incumbent Firms “Flee Upmarket”
Source: Image courtesy of Magpixie under Public Domain 

So now, back to the Marty Ochs’ panel at the 2014 CBC. Distributors are the kings of the castle. Better capitalized, better efficiency, more and better relationships, they seem unbeatable. But on either side of them in the 3-tiered system are partners screaming for a different business model. Rotating handles, variety, appealing to consumer tastes, lower profitability…the brewers and retailers are innovative, looking for a better way, and always told to just keep things the same and it will be better for all of us. Why so resistant to change? I mean, these distributors have been around much longer than craft breweries. Bright, successful people run them. They have better experience and way more information – how many of us small craft breweries can afford Symphony IRI data, after all. How can distributors fail?

Distributors rely upon market research for decision-making – many use IRI data. The fundamental assumption of market research is that the past is a good predictor of the future. Has your distributor ever suggested to you that you go into six-pac glass instead of aluminum cans “because the data shows 96% of all six-pacs are in glass”? What if Oskar Blues had listened to the past instead of forging their own future in cans? Retailers, brewers, and consumers care about variety and are trying to create a future of rotating handles where there previously was no market. There is no past, no market research that they can rely upon to ‘research’ how the rotating tap market might look. Market research is useless to them… But they are forging ahead anyways because they believe variety and choices among quality products is the right thing to do…so what will the future look like?

Something has to give. If Christensen and Raynor (2003) are correct, maybe the rotating handles phenomenon is the rebar of the craft beer industry. Existing distributors will ignore the market demand, let someone else gain a foothold in the market and leverage their sunk costs in existing trucks and warehousing practices, to reap the immediate profits, right into their own demise. A new entrant, with a passion for variety and an understanding of the needs of places like Elevation and Hamilton’s, may bring new technologies and processes to market, perhaps a cleverly designed truck technology – that automatically delivers 1/6th bbl kegs and gathers empties using a conveyor system. Will current distributors continue to ignore these changes in consumer tastes? I sure hope not, but with 10,000 breweries by 2020, the business model of distribution better get ready for change.


Christensen, C. M. & Raynor, M. E. 2003. The innovator's solution: Creating and sustaining successful growth: Harvard Business Press.

Johnson, M. W., Christensen, C. M., & Kagermann, H. 2008. Reinventing Your Business Model. Harvard Business Review, 86(12): 50-+.


[1] For more on barriers to entry, members can view our white paper, “Threat of New Entrants”



Welcome from Kevin O’Brien, CPA

It is with great excitement that I post my first blog entry for CRAFTINGASTRATEGY.COM. Sam and I have known each other for several years so when he asked me to consider blogging for his new venture I jumped at the chance. As a CPA (and home brewer) with a particular focus on the alcoholic beverage industry, I am excited to become part of a program that is supporting the growth of an industry that I have long admired. Sharing a passion for the craft beer industry, Sam and I have enjoyed several pints discussing different aspects of the craft beer industry – where it’s been, where it’s going and more importantly, how we can help. We are both strongly committed to leveraging our experience to assist entrepreneurs in accomplishing their craft brewing dreams.

With many years of experience working with wineries/breweries/distilleries from the start-up phase to over $100 million in revenue, I am excited to share my insight with the CRAFTINGASTRATEGY community. I’ve always enjoyed the numbers and operational drivers behind a great business strategy. My work history has included working on both the buy and sell side of the acquisition equation, helping buyers look for the right kind of company and also helping sellers position their company as an attractive target. Additionally, working at an alcoholic beverage focused CPA firm has allowed me greater insight into specific tax strategies; record keeping best practices, requirements for bank financing and more.

My focus on the CRAFTINGASTRATEGY member’s only blog will be giving you the mindset and the tools to structure and analyze your company from a financial perspective. Here is a look at upcoming blog posts for the next 6-8 months:

  • Contribution margins and business model development
  • Cash is king, the importance of cash flow
  • Using financial models to understand where the profits lie
  • Why good recordkeeping is crucial
  • Valuing your business model as multiple profit centers
  • Positioning your company for a sale, key thoughts on valuation and how to maximize value


As stated above, I am very excited to be supporting the craft beer industry through the CRAFTINGASTRATEGY community. I hope that my posts provide some food for thought in the financial arena and allow you to look at your business from a different perspective. I look forward to being a resource to all members in order to help in the continued success of this great industry!

About Kevin O’Brien, CPA: Guest Expert Blogger for Crafting A Strategy, Kevin is Director of Business Advisory for Irvine & Company CPA’s, specializing in financial modeling, strategic planning, and mergers and acquisitions. Kevin has been involved on both the buy and sell side of over $250 million in food & beverage transactions.

Irvine & Company CPA’s: Certified Public Accounts 345 NE 102nd Ave, Portland, OR, Phone 503-252-8449