Throughout the past few months I’ve had the opportunity to speak with craft beverage producers all over the Capital Region and beyond about our Source NY project. Many of you already know the drill: “Source NY is an online marketplace for farmers and craft beverage producers…”
The first part is easy: answer some questions, create a profile and get yourself on the map. Next, we map a supply chain. But then, something happens: the hesitation creeps in. Do I really want to tell people where I get my grain? What if someone else buys out my secret source of sour cherries?
After a few minutes of mulling it over, most of you concede, ‘what the heck, it’s good for my supplier and for my brand.’ But, not everyone is willing to take that step quite yet. Or, maybe you aren’t exactly sure where your raw materials are coming from. Wanting to better understand this ‘moment of hesitation,’ I reached out to Elizabeth Reaves at The Sustainable Food Lab. We discussed the risk of transparency—being outbid by a competitor or giving others an edge in on your market. She described the challenge as ‘trying to get everyone to jump at the same time.’
Successful sourcing programs, especially at a regional level, hinge on strong supplier relationships, and potentially co-investment in on-farm infrastructure improvements and new agri-business enterprise development that fills a needed gap in making the system more efficient. Both of these elements can happen competitively, and sometimes they can happen pre-competitively. Knowing your supply chain gives brewers visibility to the source and the ability to develop a sustainable sourcing strategy. Source NY gives the sector an opportunity to identify sector wide approaches to supply challenges that no one company can solve on their own and that everyone depends on for commercial success and transparency with consumers. –Elizabeth Reaves, The Sustainable Food Lab
Building collective buy-in into this process will take time and we need more early adopters to help pave the way. With that, we’ve decided to make September Supply Chain Awareness Month! The goal is simple: demonstrate the benefits of understanding your supply chain and sharing it with your customers. September is a great time for this—fresh, raw materials abound and a welcome shift to seasonal fall beers. Whether you’re already on Source NY or if you’re new and not sure where to start, here are a few ways you can participate:
Join our influencer campaign. If you think your customers will really enjoy learning about the backstory of your craft beverages, we are here to help you max out Source NY’s B-to-C marketing outputs. Respond to the “What’s In Your Beer” Mailchimp campaign in your inbox to get started.
Explore Source NY on you own. Set up your profile at http://www.source-ny.org and make a map of your supply chain for one, or all, of your beers. Then, share it on social media using #SourceNY. You can also embed the map in your website or, make a QR code like this one here-an easy way to share your story with customers in the tap room.
Participate in our Raw Grain Challenge in mid-September. If you’re a brewer, design a recipe around raw grain, available from our three participating farmers (or one of your own), document your brew day and share it with us. You’ll be featured in our Raw Grain marketing campaign. E-mail Rebecca at firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
In return for participating, you’ll enjoy these benefits:
- Learn about your supply chain (what you know and what you don’t know)
- Show off your commitment to working with local farmers
- Earn official “Source NY” status at the end of the month
- Shout-outs in our own marketing outreach (social media, press releases) throughout the month
- Make a direct connection to one of our participating farmers and experiment with raw grain
The goal of Supply Chain Awareness Month is simple: awareness. So, whether for your own benefit, your farmers, or your consumers sake, take a minute to capture and share your story. If you’re still not sure how it all works, stay tuned to the Source NY homepage and Helderberg Brewery’s Facebook page to follow the campaign.