Ok, so I know its not technically January anymore, but now that the dust has settled on the whirlwind start of 2023, I thought it was a good opportunity to look back at where we have come from. Also, to give some love to the blog I started back in 2021 that’s been a bit neglected as of late.
With that all said, its amazing to see the journey so far. It really makes me reflect back on everything that has happened. Has it been perfect, well… not really. But I guess if things were perfect, it wouldn’t be much of an adventure. I feel like we’ve crammed 10 years worth of learnings into three.
So, lets start with the original vision.
We wanted to share our love of the craft with others, through entertaining, blogs, in person classes, and funny YouTube videos. I envisioned our e-commerce store taking off as we sold t-shirt after t-shirt to our legion of loyal followers who clambered for more.
The reality? Well, this is, once again, where the learnings come into play (and the humbling’s…)
Our e-commerce store… well it didn’t exactly take off. As a matter of fact, it didn’t do much of anything, other than give me an excuse to wear Benham Brewing merch. Am I upset? Actually… no. Its a good lesson that until people really connect with your brand, they really don’t give a “shirt” about your.. well, t-shirts.
But its ok. We can still make shirts to promote Benham Brewing during events and for our YouTube videos. Plus, someday, when things do take off, we will have a solid bunch of branded shirt designs.
Lets talk about the classes. This was how we were really going to make an impact in our local brewing community. Things started out very strongly too. We had good website traffic from the signups. We had partnered with a local company to help promote our brand as educators, but it was not meant to be. Sadly, this relationship soured as it became apparent that our class ideas and teaching methods were copied and no credit was given to our team.
What a shame.
Finally the blogs and YouTube videos. Its hard to write both a consistent blog AND consistent video’s. Blogs are one thing. I’m not the greatest writer in the world (i mean.. clearly) but the time investment is really just a few hours per week. Write, proof, post, repeat.
But VIDEOS. Christ, that is an completely different BEAST. Understand that I think everyone knows what goes into movies, TV shows, etc. But we are talking YouTube. I mean how hard could it be? Throw a camera up, stand at the other end, and just talk.
Yeah. Not even close.
We did our first Benham Brewing video, a brewing 101 lesson. It took hours to shoot, a week to edit, and the video quality was not great. The garage background looked like a hoarders house, and the audio was full of wind, sirens, cars, and me rambling on, and on, and on, and on….
That first video got a total of 67 views, and 8 likes before it fizzled out. We were SO proud (no sarcasm. It was a labor of love). But still I was disappointed that it fizzled out. Especially since we had promoted it on Facebook.
So, we circled the wagons, and read up on video production. I mean really read. Camera framing, backgrounds, lighting, sound, content design. I may have been a bit obsessive.
Then, after a few more months and some more videos under our belt, we re-wrote the brewing 101 video, and shot it again. The tutorial was more to the point (Just the facts, Ma’am). Background was amazing (thank you to Vanessa, of the famed Brew Crew), lighting and audio was fantastic, and the editing was tight (thank you Kristy, of the famed Brew Crew).
Has it gotten millions of views? Well no, but 6,300+ views and 108 likes later, this vide has not fizzled out. It continues to grow.
I think for us its less about the number of views, and more about bringing our love of the craft to others. Silly as it sounds, for us, that metric is about others getting value out of what we are sharing. The hope that we are starting a conversation about brewing. Are we absolute experts? Far from it. But i like to think we are helping to contribute to both the approachability and the elevation of the hobby.
Until next time, my friends.