THE WAKKER WEEKLY
Issue #1607 – Posted on: 15-November-2021
BREWERY “HOP”PENINGS! Bushwakker Head brewer, Michael Gaetz, reports his very popular Blood Orange Blonde Ale is now on tap and in our offsale! A batch of Dark Cherry & Blackberry Ale is also working its way through the brewery. Of course we are busy filling the final bottles of our famous Blackberry Mead getting ready for its annual release on Saturday, December 4th.
Growler fills are available and we have partially resumed our customer personal keg filling services. Lager keg fills are not available at this time but all Bushwakker ales are available. Our lagers need a couple more weeks of aging time before they will be ready.
Our GUEST TAP is currently pouring a CASCADIAN DARK ALE from Nokomis Craft Ales. Next up is a COLD PRESSED COFFEE CREAM ALE from Swift Current’s Black Bridge Brewery.
In addition to taking our beer home in glass bottles and 2 litre jugs direct from our pub, you can find a varying selection of 650 ml bottles of Bushwakker beer in a number of REGINA SLGA stores.
We regret to announce that we will not be presenting our annual Single Malt Scotch Tasting event for the second year in a row. The uncertainty associated with the pandemic makes it very difficult to plan for any large events. Here’s hoping we can bring our big scotch tasting back in 2022!
NOVEMBER PREMIUM WINE FEATURES. Seeing as there will be no Bushwakker scotch tasting event this month, we thought we’d offer a scotch-inspired red. It is Jacob’s Creek Double Barrel Shiraz from Australia. Finished in aged scotch whiskey barrels for added richness and complexity. The white is The Ned Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand. Both are $8.95 for a glass and $23.95 for a half litre.
Our Weekend Special on November 12th & 13th will acknowledge the last regular home football game of the season. Enjoy our gourmet EDMONTON BURGER & A PINT for $21.95. Our Saturday CLASSIC STEAK & A PINT SPECIAL will also be available. Our Monday and Wednesday WINGS & A PINT SPECIAL and Tuesday PIZZA & A PINT SPECIAL are also a great value deal.
Just three weeks to go until our 2021 BLACKBERRY MEAD RELEASE DAY! Plenty of folks have been using our ONLINE ADVANCE ORDERING CURBSIDE PICKUP WEBPAGE! No more standing in line and no long waits. Just choose your pickup time, pull up to the rear of the building and you can either come in the back entrance to pick up your mead (PICKUP SERVICE) or you can choose to just pop open your trunk and we’ll load you up with your bottles of mead. It worked so well last year we’re doing it twice!! Visit bushwakker.com/mead2021 to place your mead orders today!
Our November Bushwakker LOCAL ARTIST WALL featured artist is SHAUNA PERFECT. In addition to being a busy mother and artist, she also works as a supervisor from time to time at your Bushwakker. Her artist biography is as follows:
Born and raised in Regina, art has always been a big part of my family in many different mediums. I grew up watching my dad make metal sculptures and decided many years ago that I wanted to give it a try. I went to school to learn the basics and am now an apprentice welder. I currently work at the Bushwakker and make art in my spare time.
Most of the material I use is scrap metal I’ve gathered from various locations or from my dad’s garage. Sometimes I’ll have an idea of what I want to create but other times I just sort of lay the pieces out in front of me and let them decide.
Enjoy Shauna’s powerful works all this month!
BUSHWAKKER “FOURTH WAVE – NEW NORMAL” NOTES
We are open Monday – Thursday from 11:00 AM – 11:00 PM. The kitchen closes at 9:30 PM and last call is at 10:15 PM. Fridays and Saturdays we are open from 11:00 AM until Midnight. The kitchen is open until 10:30 PM and last call is at 11:15 PM. Live music fans can enjoy our Monday Night Jazz & Blues and Wednesday Folk Night performances from 8:00 PM – 10:00 PM.
This fall the government of Saskatchewan announced that mandatory masking would return immediately to all indoor spaces. Please be sure you are wearing a mask upon entering and leaving Bushwakker and even if you just need to get up to use the washroom. Masks are not required when you are seated and are eating or drinking. If you forget to bring a mask, we can provide you with a new one. The government also recently expanded their proof of vaccination or a government recognized recent negative Covid test health order. This is now not only required for in-house dining but also for offsale beer purchases. Don’t delay and get your vaccination proof in order today!
Reservations are accepted and encouraged. We accept a limited number of reservations as late as 6:00 PM every day except Fridays. Fridays we accept reservations as late as 3:00 PM. Call us at 306-359-7276 to secure your table. We are now also able to accommodate larger groups. Our two banquet rooms are also available for private parties. Call Kelly at 306-359-7276 to book either our main floor Arizona Room or basement Clubroom.
Please continue to practice safe health measures. 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.
Nov. 13: SASK VS EDMONTON. The final regular season Rider home game will see the Green & White host the newly rebranded Edmonton Elks at 3:00 PM. Enjoy our gourmet EDMONTON BURGER & A PINT for only $21.95 either before or after the game. Come “devour” the competition!
Nov. 15: Monday Night Jazz & Blues. TDC INC. A group of distinguished gentlemen deliver jazz, funk, blues and rock. TDC stands for Too Damn Cool. 8:00 – 10:00 PM.
Nov. 17: Wednesday Night Folk. SUN ZOOM SPARK. A potent mix of rock, funk, jazz fusion and psychedelia, peppered with monster riffs, mid-70s ambience and left field curveballs. 8:00 PM – 10:00 PM.
Nov 19 – 27: AGRIBITION SALOON SERIES. Five Regina venues will offer Agribition-themed food & drinks specials. Knotted Thistle Pub, Victoria’s Tavern (both Downtown & North locations,) Cathedral Social Hall and The Bushwakker Brewpub. Each “Saloon hopper” participant presents their Saloon Postcard in order to receive a stamp at each venue. If the Saloon Hopper participant collects the four pub stamps they will receive a set of Agribition playing cards. They can then fill out the form located on the back of their postcard and will be entered in a draw to win an Agribition Saloon Series grand prize. The Bushwakker Agribition Saloon Series specials will be:
Agribition Meal Features:
The Prime Rib Cowboy Burger: A huge eight-ounce prime rib patty loaded up with maple peppered bacon, sautéed mushrooms, onion rings, jalapeno jack cheese, banana peppers, lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, ancho chili BBQ sauce and chipotle mayo on a brioche bun. Served with our award-winning fries, Tossed or Caesar salad or our house-made Soup du Jour.
Black Angus Steak: A 10 ounce AAA Black Angus Ribeye steak charbroiled to your specifications and topped with sautéed button mushrooms and chimichurri sauce. Served with vegetable ratatouille your choice of western-cut fries or roasted garlic aged cheddar mashed potatoes. Starts with Tossed or Caesar salad or our house-made Soup du Jour.
Bushwakker Brewed Beer Features:
Stubblejumper Pilsener – a German-style Pilsener balanced towards bold hop character with a deep straw colour. Its name refers to a field of grain after harvest.
Sodbuster Brown Ale – a traditional Northern English Brown Ale with a toffee-like, lightly caramel character and a medium-dry hop finish.
Bushwakker Local Distillery Drink Features:
Last Mountain Distillery Single Cask Single Malt Whiskey – A brand new release!
Outlaw Trail Spirits Rum Runner – made with Rustler’s Reward spiced rum and cola with a lime twist.
Outlaw Trail Spirits Calamity Jane Ginger Pack Mule – made with ginger vodka, ginger ale and lime juice served in a copper mug.
Saskatchewan is home to some of Canada’s best craft beers. Craft breweries have revitalized Saskatchewan communities and neighbourhoods, and become a vital part of the province’s economy and culture. Plan your tour and visit one of the many breweries listed at https://www.tourismsaskatchewan.com/exploresask-craft-beer-flight Check in to all 13 locations and get a custom designed Little Town Apparel t-shirt.
The Bucket Is Still Leaking – Why Isn’t Craft Growing More?
By Bart Watson
If you attended a beer conference anytime in the 2010s, it’s probable that at some point you heard reference to “beer’s leaky bucket.” The leaky bucket was a concept popularized by Boston Beer’s Jim Koch, who used it to describe his company’s strategy. The idea was simple: big brewer lager and light lager brands had a bunch of market volume in a bucket, but that bucket was leaking in a bunch of different directions, and so Boston Beer tried to place cups underneath the leaks to catch that volume. Their earliest and most successful cup was craft beer.
The metaphor was a solid illustration of the broader trend of premiumization that has occurred in the beer business for several decades. The middle and lower priced brands that collectively dominated in premium, premium light, value, and malt liquor have steadily lost share for years, and a set of higher priced import, craft, superpremium, and FMB/seltzer brands have captured the vast majority of that share. Depending on how far outside the beer business you want to extend the story, cider and now ready-to-drink cocktails are also cups underneath the bucket.
The genesis of this article is a simple observation: the bucket has continued leaking, as much or more as it ever did, but craft’s cup has increasingly cut less and less of that leaking volume.
For the first part, premium and below premium lost an average of 5.2 million barrels from 2013-2019 and 6.0 million in 2020. Above premium categories gained 4.8 million barrels and, buoyed by seltzer, gained 7.1 million in 2020. Collective gains were 40.7 million barrels and collective losses were 42.4 million barrels.
Unfortunately for craft brewers, while from 2013-2015 craft captured roughly half of the gained volume, in recent years, other above premium categories are catching far more of the leaked volume. The graph below again uses BMI data for consistency of categories, but this would be very similar with the BA independent craft data set, which grew 9.8 million barrels from 2013-2020 versus 10.3 million in the BMI dataset.
Even if we removed seltzer from the above graph (which is inflating “other high end” in recent years as it is likely taking from wine/spirits as well as the leaky bucket), it remains clear that craft’s ability to grow share has been declining. 2020’s losses were driven by channel shift more than demand changes, but the point remains that craft simply hasn’t been able to capture the drinkers leaving premium, premium light, and lower priced lager brands at the rates it was able to from 2013-2015. If COVID-19 hadn’t happened, the craft line would be higher, but it’s doubtful it would be much higher than it was in 2017-2019.
So, what are the keys to getting craft back to previous growth levels? I won’t pretend to know all the answers, but I see three areas that will certainly help at a category level. They boil down to new beers, new people, and new places.
It’s easy to poke fun at all of the “hard” beverages that have flopped in recent years, but the incredible pace of innovation in the beyond beer category is clearly part of the story behind its growth. To return to the metaphor, other categories are putting more cups under new leaks. While there is obviously still tons of innovation going on in brewery taprooms and brewpubs at a small scale (as well as in beyond beer), it feels to me that as craft’s growth has slowed and distributor and retailer focus has narrowed, the category has responded with marketing and branding innovations as much as real product innovations within beer.
I revisited an Information Resources, Inc. (IRI) recap of the 2014 year, and they noted it was the first year they had broken apart IPA to keep up with all of the new brands and innovations in the category. Reading that deck and then checking beer Twitter today, it feels like many of the new brands coming out now are re-hashing innovations that are almost a decade old.
Innovation is hard and scary, particularly at a time when spots are limited (I wrote about this as it pertains to IPA a little while back), but craft as a category has to find more new beers if it’s going to get back to growth.
Welcome More Tourists
Rabobank’s Jim Watson turned me on to the “tourist” versus “purist” breakdown in a recent online discussion about coffee and craft beer. The terms come from Virgil Abloh, the artistic director of Louis Vuitton’s menswear, and are his terms for outsiders versus insiders.
Watson (the other one) applied the terms to Firestone Walker’s very different approaches to their Firestone Walker and 805 drinkers. While I’ve been yammering on about the changing demographics of beverage alcohol drinkers in recent presentations, there’s a simplicity to this conceptualization that I like. How can craft do a better job of targeting visitors from other beer and beverage alcohol categories and convince them to stay a while, or at least come back?
Not every brewery can run different marketing and branding strategies across their portfolio, but every brewery could probably spend a few more minutes thinking about how they get new faces in their taproom, or which of their brands (if any) step outside their existing brand paradigm and welcome a new audience.
Focus on Building Different Channels
The final area builds on the other two. Selling more craft in new and different channels is one of those things that sounds a hundred times simpler than it is in practice. That said, if BA craft had the same share of convenience that it does in liquor stores, it would have sold 8.6 million more barrels in IRI measured convenience channels over the past year. That’s obviously not feasible anytime soon, particularly in a channel with very different demographics and much lower variety, but the point is that craft is still woefully underperforming in big parts of the U.S. beer industry.
In many ways craft in recent years has felt like the results of a historical statistical model (bear with me here…). The outputs have looked very similar to the past because everyone is trying to maximize on the same inputs. In places where craft has broken out (non-alcoholic, for example), it’s because companies have totally reimagined what their brands and the category might look like. Channels seems like one of those. Of course, brands that were built for historical craft demographics in liquor and grocery stores haven’t penetrated convenience. How many companies have turned that equation around and asked what a convenience customer might want from a craft brand?
One reason to pick on convenience? The bucket is leaking there more than it is in other channels. Comparing the third quarter (Q3) of 2021 to Q3 2017, domestic premium and subpremium have lost 16 share of dollar sales within beverage alcohol during that four-year period, versus nine share in all measured IRI channels.
None of these “new” areas for growth are easy. Innovating equals risk. Tourists come from unknown places and want different things than what you’re good at. And new channels require new investments and new strategies that aren’t already honed. But the longer the leaky bucket leaks and other parts of the beer and beverage alcohol business take growth that used to fall to craft, the more craft brewers should stop and think about what worked to build the category to where it is, and shift into what will work to grow it to its next level.
A police officer, though scheduled for all-night duty at the station, was relieved of duty early and arrived home four hours ahead of schedule at 2:00 in the morning. Not wanting to wake his wife, he undressed in the dark, crept into the bedroom and started to climb into bed. Just then, his wife sleepily sat up and said, “Mike, dearest, would you go down to the all-night drug store on the next block and get me some aspirin? I’ve got a splitting headache.”
“Certainly, honey,” he said, and feeling his way across the dark room, he got dressed and walked over to the drug store.
As he arrived, the pharmacist looked up in surprise, “Say,” said the druggist, “I know you – aren’t you a policeman? Officer Fenwick, right?”
“Yeah, so?” said the officer.
“Well what the heck are you doing all dressed like the Fire Chief?”
Always refreshing to see a little humble truth in craft beer branding.