session #78: my elevator pitch for beer? don’t pitch. buy them a beer.

Anchor Steam

This month’s topic forThe Session is a prompt from James Davidson over at Beer Bar Band for your “elevator pitch,” for beer:

Elevator pitch” is a term used by marketers, sales people, film/tv makers and the like. It’s the delivery of a short but powerful summary that will sell their idea or concept to the listener in one swift hit.

Here’s the scenario:

You walk into an elevator and hit the button for your destination level. Already in the elevator is someone holding a beer…and it’s a beer that annoys you because, in your view, it represents all that is bad with the current state of beer.

You can’t help but say something, so you confront your lift passenger with the reason why their beer choice is bad.

30 seconds is all you have to sell your pitch for better beer, before the lift reaches the destination floor. There’s no time, space or words to waste. You must capture and persuade the person’s attention as quickly as possible. When that person walks out of the elevator, you want them to be convinced that you have the right angle on how to make a better beer world.

I love this topic because this is a situation we (as craft beer lovers) face all the time. We know it’s getting better. We know that craft breweries are taking a greater hold of the overall beer market from articles we’ve read and from the expanding choices we see even at chain restaurants. But it still needs to get better. The thing is, just like many big battles to win, I don’t think this can’t be done effectively by telling people their choice is bad. Trying to get anyone to change their mind or open their hearts to something new by saying they’re wrong right out the gate is a tough tough sell. We can’t explain away someone’s taste. We can try to tell anyone who will listen why craft beer is better until the end of our days, but simply put, they just have to try it first. Then we can start the conversation.

So here’s my elevator pitch, not for the person in the elevator, but to you. Here’s my pitch for how we should introduce others to craft beer:

Take your friends to good bars with friendly bartenders. Take your friends to good bars with a relaxed atmosphere, and with people around you who won’t judge anyone for ordering something they like even if that is a Michelob Ultra, or a Budweiser, or a cherry beer. When we’re around accepting people we’re more willing to try things that are outside of our comfort zone. Offer to buy them a beer they’ve never tried before. Hell, pretend the bartender accidentally poured something different so they don’t feel obliged to drink it if they don’t like it. When you have friends over, suggest they try one of the beers you picked up at the store. Pour them a small glass before you finish filling yours. We’re never in a position to tell someone their tastes are wrong, but we can encourage them in better ways to try new things. These are small moments that we all had the opportunity to experience leading us into a great world of craft beer. Let’s take that and create those same moments and opportunities for others now.

P.S. I really like this beer.

the session

  1. james said:

    Great post! I very much agree with you. Nothing is more powerful that a friend sharing the actual tasting of great beer. That’s exactly how I was “converted” to craft beer. Thanks for joining in!

  2. G-LO said:

    Totally agree with you! Before I suggest anything to anyone, my first words are always, “Tell me what you like.”. No point in recommending something if you know that right out of the gate they’re gonna hate it.


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