Published on: February 21, 2013
This commentary is available as both text and video; enjoy both or either. To see past FaceTime commentaries, go to the MNB Channel on YouTube.
I think it has been pretty well established here on MNB that I enjoy the occasional beer or wine. I'm by no means a connoisseur, but I do have what might be called a healthy thirst. Now, when it comes to beer, I've been a long neck guy about as long as I can remember.
Actually, I'm pretty sure I do remember when it occurred to me that long necks were the way to do ... and it was when I began reading Spenser novels back in the late seventies and early eighties. It always struck me that in addition to be terrific hard boiled detective novels, they also served as a kind of manual on how to be a man ... and if Spenser was going to drink from long necks, so was I.
Well, there was a terrific story in the Boston Globe the other day that I want to bring to your attention, because it sort of challenges long neck orthodoxy. It is about how Jim Koch, the visionary behind the Boston Beer Co. and Sam Adams beers, has finally agreed after almost three decades to make some of his products available in cans.
But not just any can. The fascinating thing to me about the story, which you can read in its entirety here, is that Koch and his folks were unwilling to just put the beer in any old can, take the money and run. No, they spent two years and more than a million dollars to come up with a patent-pending design with what is described as an hourglass-style can with a wider lid.
In the end, Jim Koch wasn't happy with just satisfying his customers. He had to be satisfied himself, and he was going to be more demanding than anyone. But, he also knows that Sam Adams devotees - and I would count myself among their number, especially when it comes to their Red Ale - think of the product as theirs. Mess with it, and you mess with something important to us.
This is a terrific lesson in how to preserve and enhance brand equity. And when these cans find their way onto store shelves, I'm going to be among the first on line to buy a six pack and test them out.
I'll drink a toast to Spenser, who helped teach me how to drink. And to Jim Koch, who remains relentlessly devoted to quality in a world where that attitude often is watered down in search of the fast buck.
That's what is on my mind this Thursday morning. As always, I want to hear what is on your mind.
- KC's View: