Survey Results!

February 2, 2018

If you aren’t interested in the survey results and just want to know what we are offering for our resolutions, scroll to the bottom to find out what they are!

We’ve reviewed the survey results and have to send out huge thanks to those that took the time to let us know how we are doing and how we can improve. Only by connecting and engaging with our fans can we really fulfill our goals to give Londoners the premier craft brewery they deserve. We know that you all are dying to see the results so we’ve decided to post them here. Further to that, we have also decided on a number of changes in response to this survey. We’ve got our resolutions set and we plan on keeping these. Read on for more.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, our LCBO offerings garnered our highest favourite counts. We were quite surprised that Full City Coffee Porter managed to grab the top spot. Some of the categories were aggregated and taken from the ‘other’ category.

Next question up was: what is your monthly spend on craft beer? This might be surprising but working at a brewery seems to give you a skewed view of how much you should spend on beer. It was great to hear from all of you. Mean monthly spend came out as $112, while the median is lower at $99, with a standard deviation of $89. The takeaway message here is that there is a very wide distribution on spending with some only spending $20-40/month and others at $200-300/month.

How often do you visit us and why don’t you visit more? It’s a question that we ask ourselves a lot. We heard from those of you that desperately want a Forked River store closer to the West end of town. While we can’t promise something like that (pesky Ontario Liquor Laws), we hope that some of the changes we are making will help you in acquiring the beers you want most without too much inconvenience. Some of you are out of town but still haven’t heard about our online store! We certainly need to do a better job of getting the word out; please help us if you can.

In retrospect, it would have been smart to modify this question to get more detail on the once per month (or less). We are always trying to make sure that no one needs to miss out on a release because it only lasts a week. Sometimes sales outstrip our projections but we usually target 6 weeks on the shelf.

We appreciated the demographic data that was shared with us. Much of it matched what we expected, however it was somewhat surprising that males really dominated the responses. Approximately 80% of our respondents were male. We would love to know if we are doing anything that makes it more difficult for women to be involved in the craft beer movement. After all, there is a beer for everyone!

This next question was perhaps the least well executed on our end. The purpose was to find out where you purchased most of your beer. The ranking titles probably were the culprit here. In the end (and from the comments), it seems that most filled it out with the right ideas in mind.

This is a tricky one to interpret but there are a few key points. Respondents to this survey haven’t embraced grocery stores as a place to pick up beer. Of the broad distribution points, the LCBO is this heads and shoulders above TBS (The Beer Store) and grocery stores. As expected, many of you make a habit of buying beer right at the brewery, sometimes as the primary place of purchase. After that, there seems to be a split between restaurants and bars. Based upon some of the comments it seems that being married (and more so having children) skews buyers to restaurants, while you younger, less encumbered folks tend to spend a bit more time in beer bars.

Now that we’ve gotten some information about you, we wanted to know how we were doing and what we could do to improve. Starting with communication:

It seems we’ve done alright in this area, however, our fans didn’t stop with a simple ranking. We did get a good amount of useful feedback. Some of you have pointed out that our website is dated and you’d be absolutely right. The website is something we’ve been looking at for a while as it hasn’t kept up to the changes that have happened at the brewery. The other main point was communicating beers that are available at the brewery AND quantity left.

Here’s where things get interesting. We asked about the 42 unique brands we made last year (and that is a coincidence… we don’t think we have the answer to the universe here). It was shocking that 20% of you were not aware that we made such a variety of beers. Some wanted more variety, while others wanted us to pick fewer and refine the recipes better. Some wished that the beers were available online (they are!!!) and yet others wanted us to try getting our specials into the LCBO. That last point could be a very long essay but suffice to say that competition for store shelves is much too high for us to get any more brands into the LCBO.

Next comes pricing and we know it’s a sticky point. We know there are fairly large craft breweries in Ontario making great beer for prices that we can’t touch but we still need to make sure all of our employees aren’t worked to the bone. Luckily, it seems that most of you think we are doing a decent job of keeping our beer priced reasonably and within market norms.

We had two very interesting comments. One that stated that they thought our beer was more expensive than a certain other small brewer (in 355mL cans) and the other about standard pricing vs ‘LCBO’ (all in) pricing. For the former, we'll be sticking with the larger, 473mL can for the improved value rather than a smaller unit price. For the latter, take a look at our resolutions at the end of this post.

Lastly, we opened the floodgates and asked for you to tell us what you thought. Many of you asked for things that we would only be able to accomplish by changing locations or adding a second location: bigger taproom, food, or a location closer to downtown/west end. However, the biggest and most consistent request was for better accessibility to our special beers.

So what are Forked River’s New Years resolutions? Here they are:

- We’ve heard you that you want a better way to find out about what beers are available. Here is a link to a sheet that will be updated twice per week and will indicate numbers when inventory levels are below 200: https://mailchi.mp/25266d493f8d/beer-availability

- We’re moving to all in pricing at the brewery and lowering pricing almost across the board.

- We really want to encourage our fans to stop by the brewery at least once to see what it’s all about. To that end we are offering the following until the end of May:
           - Choice of a free glass with the purchase of $50 in beer or
           - Choice of a free shirt (of $20 value) with the purchase of $100 in beer
           - 5% discount on 6-packs and a 10% discount on a flat of cans or a case of bottles (same brand)
- We know that not everyone has the means to get to the brewery. We want to make getting our beer into your hands a priority. Until the end of May we are offering free shipping on online orders over $100.

We hope that you, our fans, will spread the word to everyone you know and meet. We're running these promotions right to our 5th Anniversary. Think of it as our way of saying thanks for a fantastic 5 years!

Cheers!