Garrison Brewing Company’s Brian Titus admits it is tough standing out in the competitive craft brewing business.
“It’s been said that craft beer consumers have attention deficit disorder,” the president of the Halifax-based company jokes. “So it’s not about plugging away with the same brews forever. It’s all about that amazing ‘what’s next?’ factor.”
Figuring out ‘what’s next?’ is a constant challenge for craft brewers, even ones like Garrison that have been around since 1997. In a world where market share is dominated by the Labatts and Budweisers of the brewing world, coming up with unique and tasty beers that appeal to craft beer connoisseurs is crucial to survival in this business.
After 17 years in the game, Garrison has figured this out and has a constantly changing inventory of beers that include year-round staples, seasonally and specialty brands, and collaboration brews. Titus says Garrison put out 26 different beers, plus four craft sodas, in 2014.
Titus says the ideas for new beers can come from anywhere and anyone. In 2014, some of the innovative suds Garrison developed included its “Klingon Warnog Roggen Drunken Ale”, a limited edition brew that was officially licensed by the Star Trek/ CBS franchise and was made available for the 2014 Hal-Con, a science fiction, fantasy and gaming convention. The company also made its popular “Spruce beer” for the holiday season.
“Sometimes the idea comes when you’re sitting around after a work day and talking. It’s kind of a ‘What if? Can we do that? Is there a market for that?’ kind of conversation,” Titus says. “You don’t always know where these things are going to go. But we’re comfortable with that.”