Quality control is an absolute imperative in the success of a craft brand. It only takes one bad beer to lose a customer for life. We discussed it with Jim Ebel, co-founder of Two Brothers Brewing Co. earlier this year.
Obviously, quality is super important. Everybody says their quality is the best and that quality is the most important thing, but you know, a lot of breweries right now, just because it’s exploding out there, don’t have the proper tools to really ensure quality. They don’t have the labs. They don’t have technicians on staff to help them. This is maybe getting off topic a little bit, but it’s one of my major fears. In 1997 when we started, every brewery in Illinois except for Goose Island closed. There weren’t many. There were breweries like Chicago Brewing Co. and Golden Prairie. It wasn’t necessarily those beers, but the market in general had these people getting into it that just didn’t know what they were doing. It was a proliferation of beers that were not very good. That’s a concern I have right now in the industry. It’s quality. People go out and have bad experiences with craft beer, and they might generalize the segment as a whole. That’s something I think every craft brewery needs to be conscientious of.
Lucky for you, the Brewers Association announced a new book that’s going to help: Quality Management: Essential Planning for Breweries. Published by Brewers Publications and written by Mary Pellettieri, whose career in brewing and beverage quality spans more than two decades, the book is a guide to developing a quality management program for any brewery.
“Making great beer is hard. Making the same great beer every day is harder. Ensuring that your great beer is still great after packaging is harder still. And the hardest thing of all is ensuring that every customer gets the great beer you brewed, whether they drink it in your pub or another establishment, or from a glass, bottle or can,” said Ken Grossman, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. and author of the book’s foreword. “Our collective success is built on quality. I hope that both established and aspiring brewers will learn and benefit from many of the fundamentals that Mary details in this book.”
As craft beer sales in the U.S. continue to flourish, quality plays a key role in protecting the health and future of the entire craft brewing industry. In this guidebook, Pellettieri provides a deep understanding of how quality management is integrated into every level of a brewery’s operation. For lab staff, production staff, quality team members and brewmasters alike, this book will help breweries continue to produce great beer by developing a comprehensive program that will grow with the brewery and ensure quality processes along the way.
“Mary Pellettieri has created a tremendous resource for brewers; this book is packed full with quality concepts. Every one of these tenets is applicable to all brewers, regardless of size,” said Jason Perkins, Allagash Brewing Co. and the author of the book’s preface. “At the very least, every brewer should be educated about every concept in this book and put thought in to how these tools can help. In the end, it is up to the individual brewery to set its quality priorities. The concepts and tools provided in this book offer tremendous guidance along the path to shaping a superior quality program.”
Pellettieri began her extensive brewing and beverage industry career serving as a chemist and microbiologist at the Siebel Institute of Technology and World Brewing Academy in Chicago, where she also taught sensory management. She later managed the quality program for Chicago’s young, independent Goose Island Beer Co. Her background and experience made her a desirable judge at prestigious beer competitions around the country and later as quality manager for the historic MillerCoors Milwaukee brewery. Pellettieri speaks nationally on a variety of topics in quality, sensory analysis and brewing science.
*Members of the American Homebrewers Association and Brewers Association receive 40 percent off the cover price during the member-only pre-sale, September 8-20, 2015.