Amid the expanded distribution, big bucks transactions and market share growth think pieces, never forget that the true foundation of the craft beer industry is in that local connection. We never forget this because every day we are hit with dozens of brewery announcements promoting a small festival or speciality release party or some other cool gimmick for its loyal fans. There are too many great examples to discuss, but every now and then one jumps out that we want to share.
Yazoo Brewing officially opened its doors to sell kegs of Yazoo Pale Ale, Dos Perros, Spring Wheat and Onward Stout to local bars and restaurants in Nashville in 2003. In 2009, Yazoo brewed Tennessee’s first ever legal high-gravity ale after getting its distillery license. After six years, it was time to move into a bigger space. Yazoo beer can now be found in most of Tennessee and Mississippi and was one of the first breweries to really embrace the sour, wild ale craze before it got big. The Yazoo Embrace The Funk (ETF) program is a series of wild and sour beers aged in various types of oak ranging from six months to three years.
To hype up its dedication to sours, Yazoo Brewing started a private membership club last year it calls “The State of Funk.”
“I truly feel like we have created the best private craft brewery membership available,” said Head of Yazoo’s Sour and Barrel aging program Brandon Jones. “Selecting single barrels of oak aged beer ensures that our Citizens are getting some of our best and uniquely developed liquid. This gives us the opportunity to create special beers with distinctly individual character.”
Members, or rather, Citizens of Funk, received these benefits for the year:
- 8 different exclusive single barrel 750-ml bottles
- 1 ticket to FunkFest ’17 (this sour/wild beer festival sells out each year)
- 1 free ETF draft beer each visit to the Yazoo Taproom (YES!)
- 1 2017 State of Funk numbered Citizen Coin
- Private Citizens Only 2017 Kick Off Party
- Early access to purchase bottles of its collaboration with Jackie O’s Brewery
The cost per Citizen is $300 with benefits good from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2017. Due to each of the eight different exclusive State of Funk bottles being a single non-blended release, Citizenship is capped at 150 total people.
We dig the name, the goodies and the exclusivity of the concept. It’s an idea that wouldn’t work for every brewery, but in the right market, with the right branding and execution, a membership is a real differentiator, along with a nice benefit of knowing that at least a portion of your experimental beer inventory will be funded ahead of time.