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Faculty News: Mellie Pullman published new book Craft Beverage – Business Management
Author: Yulya Toporochan
Posted: July 21, 2016

Mellie Pullman, Willamette Industries Professor of Supply Chain Management and Logistics published her new book “Craft Beverage – Business Management.” Co-authored with John Harris, a 30-year brewery veteran and founder of Ecliptic Brewing, the book addresses the unique challenges, primary tools, and advice for craft beverage entrepreneurs. It’s written for people who want to work or are working in the craft beverage industry, such as craft beer, cider, distilleries, and more. Craft Beverage Business Management covers different areas such as pricing, packaging and overarching concepts like marketing, distribution, strategy and finances.

We spoke with Mellie and her co-author about what makes this book unique.

Mellie, why this book now? What makes it different from existing books on this topic?

Mellie: There are no other books out there about the craft business that actually contain numbers and very practical information. You can’t figure out if you can make money if you don’t have some kind of understanding of the numbers. Most of the other books are about someone’s journey to become a famous brewery or overall concepts about the business of craft beer. This book is aimed at the education and professional market not the recreational beer reader. It has a text book format with examples, cases, and exercises. Most of the material and ideas come from my years of teaching in the Business of Craft Brewing Program at PSU.

 

Portland is considered a hub in the craft brewing industry and has a number of established breweries. What would you recommend future entrepreneurs do to stand out?

Mellie: What can a new entrant do that will differentiate the business from the pack? If you don’t have a compelling and different story that will engage with the existing craft consumer or bring in a new consumer, then new entrepreneurs will struggle to get attention and retain customers.

What do you tell your Business of Craft Brewing Certificate students, is the most high in demand business skill in the craft industry?

Mellie: People that know how to understand spreadsheets and analyze data around the production facility, distribution, and sales environments are in demand. Supply chain management skills are in demand. Of course, if you can look at the data, interpret what is going on, convey that information to others, and make good decisions related to that information, then employers will want you.

What motived you to co-author Mellie’s book?

John: I felt honored when Mellie approached me to co-author the book. Since there is nothing similar on the market yet, I was more than happy to help fill the gap.

Can you name the biggest trends in the craft brewing industry?

John: I think we will see more of Innovation and Experimentation in the industry.

What do you think is next for craft beer to follow?

Mellie & John: In this book, we cover other beverages such as cider, spirits, mead, etc. Cider was growing hugely last year but had some market shared grabbed by alcoholic sodas. Consumers are looking for new products all the time so all producers struggle to remain relevant. We think craft beer specifically is going to see some challenges with distribution and shelf space due to consolidation. This will force people to innovate in the on-premise environment (pubs, tasting rooms, etc.).

John, prior to starting Ecliptic Brewing , did you attend any formal brewing programs or schools?

John: I have been brewing for 30 years. I started learning on the job and have taken some classes at the University of California, Davis.

How will someone who wants to get into the craft beer business benefit from a formal or informal education?

John: I think there are benefits to both of them. A formal education might help candidates get noticed faster. At Ecliptic Brewing we have both types of brewers working.

What do you love the most about beer and the craft beer business?

John: I love making a consumable product that people can enjoy!


>> Learn more about PSU's Online Business of Craft Brewing Certificate