When listening to individuals from the beer industry with the experience and expertise like John Keeling is when you realize that in the end one of the keys to success in any profession is converting something difficult into something easy. Although this might seem simple in theory it definitely is not in practice.
Thanks to the Edge Brewing team we had yesterday the opportunity to get to know the former Brewery Manager (a position that he held for decades) and current Global Brand Ambassador of the historic Chiswick Brewery Fuller Smith & Turner (better known as Fuller’s) and try some of their beers provided by the importers and distributors Condal Chef.
The talk also had a high-class moderator, Joan Villar-i-Martí, aka "Birraire", whose experience, rigor and extensive knowledge of the product and the sector allowed Mr. Keeling to intervene in an orderly and dynamic manner with interesting themes as the functions of a Head Brewer, the importance of transmitting the core values of your brand to both the marketing department and the consumers, what the change in the craft beer scene has meant for a city like London, the beer prices in the UK, the importance of the Cask Ale, the Fuller's & Friends collaborations project, the special Past Masters editions based on ancient recipes, their Vintage Ales, the mythical London Pride beer and the new trends that according to them are on their way, among others.
From all of Mr. Keeling’s statements I would like to highlight his tremendous capacity for focus and simplicity when referring to the challenge of adapting to the new times that embrace innovation but without renouncing tradition. As he states (an opinion that I fully share) one can be a fan of the Rolling Stones but he also has to know that there used to be a bluesman called Muddy Waters, and without the first, the second probably would not have existed.
Regarding his vision of the new craft beer wave, Mr. Keeling highlighted the fact that the consumer gives increasingly more value to taste and quality when he chooses a beer and the positive change that this has meant for the industry. He also talked about the value of being consistent, and the importance of developing a recognizable beer with its own personality in the market.
Because in the end, following the words of Mr. Keeling, the secret to position yourself and get to know the client is to drink in the pubs where he drinks, see what he likes and participate in the cultural richness that surrounds the beer. And with all this knowledge, try to make the best beer possible every day.