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Brooklyn Brew Shop Shows How to Mainstream DIY Food Production

| Friday September 10th, 2010 | 1 Comment

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Brooklyn Brew Shop is an intriguing sign of our times: They offer urban oriented home beer brewing kits, and rather than focus on the craft, DIY, beer snob appeal, they offer economy, ease, and good taste in possibly the best written ad copy I’ve seen all year:

Making beer is not difficult.
It requires little space.
It will save you money and taste better than what you find in stores.

With these few words, they’ve eliminated all the imagined barriers that someone not inclined to make things themselves while appealing to their desire to save money. something I predict will be happening with greater frequency as the world economy continues to evolve.

Beer brewing may not be difficult, but it can take up quite a lot of space. Fine if you’re somewhere like Portland, Oregon, where it’s not uncommon to also keep chickens in your yard. But if you’re in any major metropolitan area where development is dense and space minimal, brewing your own beer has up until now been a no go. Even for those who happen to have more space, the mad professor aesthetics would discourage those of more refined taste.

Brooklyn Brew Shop is doing what others should follow: Make self sufficient food production easy, painless to your pocketbook, and not impinging on the rest of your life (and loved ones who may not be so keen as you to do it!)

Here again, it says it best:

Designed with what we think is the typical New York apartment in mind, our kits take up less than 1 sq. foot when in use, and are made of attractive glass because making something delicious should be something you can be proud of, not something you should hide.

I’d say that’s the case with the simple, minimal 1 gallon kit, but the 5 gallon (plus 6.5 gallon plastic bucket with spigot) looks more elaborate and potentially cluttering of a small space.

However, with their strong copy and simple premise, these kits could do well far beyond Brooklyn, deep into the suburbs even, whether for the money saving aspect, the promise of a good story to share with your friends, or the improved aesthetics going with the rest of your home.

Readers: Where do you see self grown foods being made easier and more accessible to people beyond the DIY inclined? How could Brooklyn Brew Shop improve its offering?

Paul Smith is a sustainable business innovator, the founder of GreenSmith Consulting, and has an MBA in Sustainable Management from Presidio Graduate School in San Francisco. He creates interest in, conversations about, and business for green (and greening) companies, via social media marketing.


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  • Ed

    Nice entry. BBS’s advertising is different, appealing not only to the idea of saving money but also to some urban dwellers’ sense of struggle or hardship in living in places smaller than what is typical in the U.S.

    Beyond their website, where did you see their ad copy? Was it in a place with an audience that is less likely to do things for themselves? Someplace with a broad audience?

    The typical homebrew shops can’t afford to do a lot of advertising. This approach is something all of them can do to expand their customer base.

    Associating snob appeal with homebrew shops seems very unfair. It’s possible that there is a small number of homebrew shops, or craft breweries, that rely on that but your typical homebrew shop, like you typical craft brewery, does not conjure up images or feelings of snobbery. Anyone can go to one to see that. They certainly don’t trade on snobbery like wineries do.

    It’s interesting to note that homebrewing has been around for millenia and has been legal in the U.S. since December 7, 1978. Right now there are over 750,000 homebrewers and 800 homebrew clubs in the U.S. And the craft is growing each year. It’s only a matter of time that more homebrew shops attempt to directly appeal to a broader audience’s concern for thriftiness.

    BBS’s one gallon kits are a cute gimmick but not unique. Their distribution like their promotion might be unique as well.

    The fermenting glass (carboy) doesn’t take up that much less space than those in a five gallon kit. The bottling (or kegging) is a different story with the space required taking in account about 10 twelve ounce bottles versus 53.

    But if it gets someone to homebrew…