Crowdsourced Beer? —Brew Dog Did It

Social media has taken the business world by storm the last few years. It seems everyone is either learning about it or doing it. But what happens when a business takes social media to the extreme by letting its clients design a product?

Recently British brewery Brew Dog employed crowdsourcing to let its fans create a beer. While that sounds paradoxical, almost like the perfect crisis,  it’s happening a lot more than people know. And it’s working.

Brew Dog's crowsourced beer name #MashtagBrew Dog’s new beer is called #MashTag, a play on the hashtag made popular by Twitter. Brew Dog spokesperson Sarah Warman explains they swapped the “h” in hashtag out for an “m” to make a  play on words, since “mashing” is part of the beer-brewing process. The name was part of the crowdsourcing effort, and 58% of the social media voters supported it. The social media crowd also selected the #MashTag beer ingredients.

Sounds like it could have been a disaster in the making, right? Here’s why it wasn’t:

        • Crowdsourcing involves the diehard fans of a company; only company employees know more about their product than diehard fans do.
        • Social media audiences are invested in the companies they follow, and they want those companies to be successful.
        • Crowdsourcing is the ultimate product development pipeline because it gives consumers what they want.

Brew Dog fans knew what they were doing when they came up with was an American Brown Ale. And here are the specifics the “crowd” wanted: the ABV (alcohol by volume) is 7.5%; the IBU (International Bittering Unit) is 95; the malts are roasted barley, caramalt, pale malt, and amber malt; the mops are Nelson Sauvin, Motueka, and Pacific Gem; and the twist that social media fans wanted was that the beer be aged on Hazelnuts and Oak chips.

Not a bad job.

This isn’t the first beer to be crowdsourced. Samuel Adams did it a while back. Fullsteam Brewery and Mobcraft Beer use variations of the simple crowdsourcing approach. But Brew Dog is the first crowdsourced beer with a social media related name. How’s that for a twist?

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