Strategic Futurists; Value Systems Specialists

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Authenticity & the Craft of Brewing Beer

Thursday 29 March 2007

Every now and again you discover something well ahead of the general public that is worthy of further investigation. That is the key advantage of being a futurist - you get to spend a lot of your time just looking for signals of change. In this case it is the soon to be opened Barleycorn Brewers in Huntingdale, Victoria. A professional brewery for the public, Barleycorn Brewers provide the budding Brew-Master, home brewer and anyone else interested with the chance to create, can or bottle, and then drink their very own beer. The significance of this concept is the way it ties in with the emerging shifts in consumer sentiment that is seeing the rejection of 'Brands' and an increasing search for 'authenticity' which will require a major shift in the way products and services are pushed to the marketplace. It is something I have been suggesting to organisations for quite a while now

As a futurist I am seeing more consumers in a search for authenticity are looking for a complete understanding of the way in which a product is made, the inputs for the products, the processes used in the manufacture of those products (or delivery of services) and the values of the company providing them.

 
Arguably emerging from the awareness of the 'slave labour' and sweat shop practises of some companies in certain nations with a less established employment policies, authenticity is a move away from the mass produced one size fits all model, to one in which the 'realness' of a product is placed under the spotlight.

 
From clothing to pottery to artworks and music to food and beverages, companies that become aware of the consumer sentiment for authenticity tend to embrace accurate product labelling, policies around human rights and environmental issues and an awareness of the increasingly active involvement of consumers in terms of their product selection processes.

Barleycorn Brewers in Huntingdale is a fine example that allows the home brewer or interested person to control the entire process and it is hard to get much more authentic than allowing someone to handle the ingredients, select the recipe, brew and then drink their own beer, all with complete knowledge of the process, ingredients and taste and knowing that there are no preservatives or additives.  Barleycorn are certainly not the first company to move into the space and they are unlikely to be the last.  And looking at one of Australia's fastest growing hobbies, it's an approach likely to generate significant interest.  Cheers!


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