Interview with Lauren Bigelow, 2016 January 6

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  • Early life, education, and career
    Partial Transcript: "..where did you grow up and where did you come from?"
    Synopsis: Born in Annapolis Maryland, Bigelow details her early life in Canada before moving back to the United States and attending college for political studies. She laments early employment in this field including the General Assembly of Maryland state and a homeless shelter.
    Keywords: Annapolis, Maryland; Gordon College; Maryland General Assembly; Ottawa, Ontario; Political Science;
  • Introduction into craft brewing industry and Mispillion River Brewing
    Partial Transcript: "I started looking for another job and one of the women I work with was dating a man who was the CEO and President of a brewery."
    Synopsis: Recounting her entry into the craft beer industry at Fordham and Dominion. Adapting to life in Delaware. The decision to remain in Delaware and join the new Mispillion River Brewery performing marketing and sales. Early relationship with Eric Williams, founder of the brewery. Completing master's degree and value of previous degree in current position.
    Keywords: Annapolis; Culture Shock; Dover; Fordham and Dominion Brewing Company; Master of Business and Administration; MBA
  • Challenges in distribution and sales
    Partial Transcript: "What are some of the challenges of getting a brewery off the ground?"
    Synopsis: Discussing the complication and legality of breweries self-distributing in Maryland and Delaware counties. Locating and choosing an appropriate distributor for your product. Notes that some breweries create their own distributorships to meet the needs or building a brand. Discusses the distributors they have used and what to look for when picking a distributor.
    Keywords: Beer brands; Brooklyn Brewery; Distribution; Distributor; Draft lines; New Castle (DE); NKS Distributing; Premier Distributing; Sales; Self-distribute; Wilmington (DE)
  • Distribution contracts/Using Wine Importer
    Partial Transcript: "And do you sign a contract for a certain period of time..or...how is the arrangement made?"
    Synopsis: An overview of contracting with distributors by State, covering Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. Lauren explains legality of assessing/reassessing distribution contracts in each of their distribution states. The Brewery uses a Wine Importer to distribute in New Jersey, which comes with the benefit of increased attention to their brand. The discussion continues to beer/wine comparison in regards to food pairings and taste preference when it comes to types of wine and types of beer.
    Keywords: ABInBev; Anheuser-Busch; Anheuser-Busch InBev; Beer/Food Pairings; Wine Importer; Wine/Food Pairings
  • Becoming acquainted with beer
    Partial Transcript: "It seems like you've amassed quite a bit of knowledge about beer."
    Synopsis: Explaining the process of learning about beer upon entering the craft brewing industry.
    Keywords:
  • Average day at the job
    Partial Transcript: "..paint in broad strokes your job. What does an average day look like, what sort of duties..?"
    Synopsis: Brief overview of the job responsibilities of sales and marketing position at the brewery. They are split into two types of days. "Office days", where administrative tasks are performed, marketing materials and events are prepared, and meetings are held with the head brewer and other staff concerning sales. And "sales days" involving visits to distribution locations with samples.
    Keywords: Beer festivals; Branding; Event planning; Facebook; Marketing; Marketing materials; Office work; Retailers; Sales; Samples; Social media
  • Branding Strategy/How the market has changed
    Partial Transcript: "What is the current strategy and how has it changed over time?"
    Synopsis:
    Keywords: Bars; Brand; Branding; Helles; I.P.A.; Industry growth; IPA; Lager; Local; Local market; Local support; Market changes; Munich-style lager; National market; Price point; Regional market; Style; Tap handle; Target Audience
  • What is Craft Beer?
    Partial Transcript: "What is Craft Beer?" "Who drinks craft beer?"
    Synopsis: Bigelow details the definition of Craft Beer as prescribed by Brewers Association and how her experience at Fordham and Dominion shaped her own views of what should be considered Craft. She also notes that while she has observed that a wide variety of people drink craft beer, market research has indicated a definitive market segment that is predominantly male with higher income.
    Keywords: "AB"; Anhuaser-Busch; Barleywine; Brewers Association; Company acquisition; Craft; Fordham and Dominion; Income brackets; Independently owned; Local; Market demographics; Market research; Market segments; Miller-Coors; Porter; Socioeconomic status
  • Marketing methods
    Partial Transcript: "What is your marketing plan...have you considered other methods of getting your brand out there"
    Synopsis: Bigelow explains the brewery's focus on social media as the primary conduit for advertisement as well as the lesser effectiveness of traditional forms such as print and television. Also briefly discussed is the Esquire television show Brew Dogs and their feature on Delaware.
    Keywords: Advertising methods; Brew Dogs; Cable; Craft Beer Shows; Digital Video Recording; DogFish Head; DVR; Magazine advertising; Marketing costs; Ranking; Sam Calagione; Social media; Television commercials
  • Craft Brewing Industry in the region and state
    Partial Transcript: "What is your sense of the industry within the region and how the region stacks up against other parts of the country?" "Why is the beer coming out of Delaware so good?"
    Synopsis: The top breweries in the region and the awards they have won. Why the area has attracted talented brewers including location between major population centers and speculation about the agricultural tradition of brewing;
    Keywords: Agriculture; Awards; Bear (DE); Belgian Tripel; Brewers; Delaware; Dogfish Head; Dover (DE); Farmers; Fordham and Dominion; Great American Beer Festival; Iron Hill Brewery; Market proximity; Stewart’s Brewing Company; Talent; World Beer Cup
  • Future of Mispillion River Brewing/Can packaging and label design
    Partial Transcript: "Where do you see Mispillion River going over the next several years and perhaps even longer term?" "How did you decide that that is how this feels our product should look?"
    Synopsis: Opinion of the breweries scale and reach in the future and personal preferences. Concern over growing to a certain size will limit creativity in order to reach largest amount of people. How to sell your beer through selling a story by having unique and creative products. Discusses how the label of Holy Crap was designed came about through a local distributors desire for T-Rex art. An overview of each of the beers animal "mascots" and how they received their names.
    Keywords: "Least common denominator beers"; Alan; Allen; Beach Bum Joe; Black Tie; Branding; Chupacabra; Easy drinking; Experimentation; Holy crap; Houston; Imperial Red Ale; Jules; Labels; National distribution; Otter; Packaging; Packaging design; Pecos; Pedro; Penguin; Reach-Around IPA; Right Bottle; Robin; Sloth; Small batch release; Sours; Space Otter; Status quo; T-Rex
  • Craft Beer Market/Innovation and Diversification
    Partial Transcript: "With all of these breweries popping up is it sustainable and where is the business going to go?"
    Synopsis: The growth of craft beers market share in relation to both the beer market and alcohol market is discussed. Speculation on the growing popularity of liquor. The importance of establishing who you are as a business and using this mission in diversifying your business. How other companies innovate and how other breweries have expanded beyond brewing beer.
    Keywords: Alcohol market share; Apple; Beer market share; Business mission; Cheese; Distillery; Diversity; Dogfishhead; Google; Ice Cream; Liquor; Market bubble; Mission statement; Pigeonhole; Vision; Yuengling
  • Partnering with distillery/Dedication for fallen police officer
    Partial Transcript: "We're partnering with Painted Stave right now--"
    Synopsis: Describing how an online campaign to name the breweries tanks led to a new beer being brewed and auctioned off at a benefit to honor Georgetown, DE police officer Chad Spicer who was killed in the line of duty. Following the benefit Painted Stave distillery agreed to create a whiskey based on the beer to continue benefiting police charities. A number of other breweries are mentioned as partners in past collaboration by Mispillion River.
    Keywords: Auction; Benefit; Brewing Tanks; Bright Beer Tanks; Chad Spicer; Charity; Distillery; Donation; Fermentation Tanks; Fundraiser; Georgetown, Delaware; Jack Daniels; KickStarter; Officer in Distress Fund; Painted Stave; Partnership; Police; RaR Brewing; Short N' Stout; Stout; Third Wave Brewing; Tobacco; Whiskey
  • What it's like to work at Mispillion River Brewing/Forming relationships in the industry/Company Culture
    Partial Transcript: "The most important thing I could say is that I work in one of the best places ever."
    Synopsis: Lauding coworkers and elaborating on the closeness felt with other brewery staff. How making relationships with others in the industry as a sales rep will improve sales and having a poor reputation personally will have a negative impact. Bigelow also relates the importance of popular culture is to the brewery's workplace dynamics, giving the example of an interview question based on film lore.
    Keywords: Conflict resolution; Coworkers; Gandalf The White IPA; Harry Potter; Lord of the Rings; Morale; Open door policy; Pop culture; Popular culture; Reputation; Restaurants; Retailers; Sales; Sales representatives; Sales tactics; Sampling representative; Star Wars; Tastings; Vader Double Black IPA
  • Customer Feedback/Beer Competitions
    Partial Transcript: "How immediately do you get that kind of feedback from the marketplace?"
    Synopsis: Feedback on marketplace. Ratings and comments on Untapped. How styles of beer can affect customer ratings and infections in beer being perceived as intentional flavoring. Briefly discussed is the value of feedback at beer competitions.
    Keywords: "Four Square for drunks"; Bacterial Infection; Beer styles; Gose; Ratings; Reviews; Sour; Untapped
  • Importance of Milford and identity/Personal beer preference/History of brewing in United States
    Partial Transcript: "What about Milford?" "Milford is the reason we are so successful"
    Synopsis: The importance of a brewery's community is briefly discussed. Bigelow describes her own preference in beer and how the style she prefers changes with the season. Prohibition, beer history, and brewing in the United States over the past century is discussed. The rise of craft brewing coinciding with generational cultural changes as the need to express individuality and creativity.
    Keywords: "Foodie"; American Brewing; Beer Style; Community:Preference; Consumer choice; Craft beer; Craft Spirits; Culture; Dover, Delaware.Local support; Innovation; Milford, Delaware; Octoberfest; Prohibition; Shift in attitudes
  • Variety in the marketplace/The local movement
    Partial Transcript: "Perhaps the idea that if it isn't this mass standardized commodity but instead is something that real people make with their hands makes it less scary--"
    Synopsis: How the market for craft beer and many other products has grown as consumers look for more choice. Further ideas about the economic successes of craft brewing are discussed including the trend of buying local.
    Keywords: Amish; Craft; Local; Market trends; Standardized manufacturing