THE WAKKER WEEKLY
Issue #1551 – Posted on: 19-October-2020
BREWERY “HOP”PENINGS! Bushwakker Head brewer, Michael Gaetz, reports our seasonally available Great Pumpkin Spiced Brown Ale, Upendi Pineapple Passion Fruit Ale, Fleck’s Czech Dark Lager (aged for an incredible eight months), Premium Pale Ale and Two Sons Milk Stout are currently on tap. There are also batches of Chinook ESB and Blackberry Mead working their way through the brewery.
The 2020 edition of our Great Pumpkin Spiced Brown Ale will be released on Friday, October 16th. Due to seasonal beer brewing limitations, only 120 litres were produced this year and it will only be available on tap. Because if the reduced volume, take home glass bottles will not be made available. However, growler fills be made available starting on November 2nd if any pumpkin remains at that time.
Our OCTOBER PREMIUM WINE FEATURES are from Spain. The red is Las Hermanas Monastrell which is both organic and vegan. The white is Gerberas Macabeo. Both are $7.95 for a glass and $21.95 for a half litre.
This weekend’s Special Dining Feature for October 16th & 17th is BEEF POT PIE for $18.95. Our Saturday CLASSIC STEAK & A PINT SPECIAL for $21.95 will also be available.
In addition to taking our beer home in glass bottles, 2 litre jugs and growler fills direct from our pub, you can find a varying selection of 650 ml bottles of Bushwakker beer in ALL SIX REGINA SLGA stores, as well as METRO LIQUOR REGINA.
BUSHWAKKER GIFT CARDS are available in $25, $50 and $100 denominations. Give us a call at 306-359-7276 or stop by to get yours. They work very well with all dine-in or takeout food and craft beer desires!
Hats off to our talented kitchen crew and Executive Chef, Mike Monette! Our Oktoberfest Week was a huge hit. Plenty of folks enjoyed our Schnitzel special. German comfort food at its finest!
Our final proposed regular 2020 season gourmet Burger & a Pint Special will be offered on October 23rd and 24th. The late Bushwakker co-founder & president, Bev Robertson, always humourously referred to this one as our TABBY BURGER & A PINT! Enjoy for only $19.95.
Our new EXOTIC GUEST BEER & CIDER MENU was released last week. Over 50 products await your evaluation. The gluten-free and non-al sections are receiving much interest.
BUSHWAKKER “NEW NORMAL” NOTES
Our weekend hours of operation will be changing beginning on Friday, October 2nd. Fridays and Saturdays we will open earlier at 11:00 AM and close later at 10:00 PM. Kitchen will close at 9:00 PM. Our Monday to Thursday hours remain unchanged and are 11:30 AM until 9:00 PM and the kitchen closes at 8:00 PM. We are still closed on Sundays at this time. Our takeout food and beer services will continue to be made available.
Please remember that reservations are accepted and are encouraged for any time and on any day so give us a call at 306-359-7276 to secure your table. Please note under current guidelines the maximum number of people who can be seated at the same table is limited to six. Larger reservations must occupy more than one table and maintain physical distancing between each table.
Please continue to practice safe health and social distancing practices. Remain connected to one another and to us! In addition to this weekly newsletter, we are very active on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Check-in with us often as we navigate these continually evolving times together. Try to support local businesses whenever possible. Be vigilant in your resolve to protect yourselves which in turn will protect others. Please don’t let your guard DOWN so the province can continue to open UP! Bring on Phase 5!
By Bart Watson
In recent years, the “long tail” has often been used to describe the current beer market. The term “long tail” first entered the parlance of our times via an article in Wired by Chris Anderson about the entertainment industry. In many ways the term seems like the perfect way to describe craft brewing. As Anderson writes, “most of us want more than just hits. Everyone’s taste departs from the mainstream somewhere, and the more we explore alternatives, the more we’re drawn to them.” While he was writing about music and movies, doesn’t this sound a lot like beer? Light American adjunct lagers were the hits, but beer lovers increasingly found themselves drawn to alternatives.
Beer Is Still a Physical Product
Nevertheless, I’ve always thought that using the term “long tail” to describe beer, at least in the way Anderson’s formulation originally intended, failed in a number of key ways. The most important divergence is the difference between an entertainment industry that has moved into the digital world, and a beer industry which is most definitely still rooted in physical products. Anderson highlighted that digital transmission had broken the “tyranny of space” that led to inefficient distribution in entertainment, equated popularity with profitability, and meant that niches were ignored. Digital technologies have shattered this world, as lowered costs of reproduction and transmission mean that the economics of scarcity no longer apply, there is big money in aggregating the smallest sales, and audiences are global rather than local.
That means that although digital technology made it easier than ever to find beer information, for the moment, beer distribution and retailing continue to still very much be shackled by the tyranny of physical space – there are only so many SKUs distributors are willing to carry, only so many taps and shelf placements allocated to beer, and only so much beer a local retailer is willing to stock in their store. Regulations also matter, and so a beer that you can buy in one state you can’t necessarily buy a few miles away across the border. In addition, beer is restrained by the limits of perishability – a digital movie stays fresh on Netflix’s server indefinitely, a double IPA does not. Although a megastore with every beer in the world sounds incredible in theory, in practice it would inevitably lead to out of date beer and a stock rotation nightmare. Finally, there is reproducibility. A song that goes viral can be downloaded by every American instantly. Beers are limited by the production capacity of the brewery that brews them.
This creates a tension where digital technology allows general consumer awareness of the long tail, but that awareness doesn’t necessarily translate into the ability to buy or sales. So, will beer ever get a market response akin to the distribution revolution seen in digital entertainment? Can technology match fresh beer with the right consumers in a world with ever proliferating brands? Or put differently, how much can the long tail in beer continue to grow in line with what has been seen in other parts of the economy like entertainment? How many brands is too many, and can technology increase that theoretical ceiling?
The Pandemic Is Both a Disruption and an Opportunity
I raise these questions because in this moment they are as relevant and timely as they have ever been. COVID-19 has disrupted normal selling channels, slashed the number of SKUs selling in broad distribution, while simultaneously accelerating e-commerce and opening up new channels for sale such as delivery or even direct-to-consumer. It’s also made Americans more aware than they have ever been that it might be possible to shop for beer in places other than the grocery store, liquor store, or their local brewery.
Awareness and ability, however, are two different animals. Part of what made the digital revolution possible in things like music were new platforms that helped users search, categorize, store, and purchase more easily. While we certainly have apps that let people search for beers and catalog what they like, there currently isn’t a beer equivalent of iTunes or Spotify where you can instantly buy and drink whatever beer pops into your head.
So what does the future look like for the long tail of beer? Will COVID-19 hurt by squeezing SKUs at distribution or retail, or will it help by unlocking demand for digital sales and pressuring lawmakers to adapt 1930s or 1970s laws to the digital age? Can beer move further into the world of online retailing?