Cedar River Brewing Company: Creating A New Market

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The boutique beverage market has exploded over the past two decades. Craft breweries, boutique wineries and specialty spirits have emerged in every city and region nationwide and are slowly expanding internationally. The pacific northwest helped lead the craft beer scene and Seattle in particular is home to numerous nationally distribute brands. For those who are late to the game however, the market appears to be over saturated and breaking into the scene is a difficult and financially risky move. Every home brewer wishes they could have entered home brewing prior to the craft beer explosion in the 1990’s and early 2000’s and taken advantage of this ripe and underserved market.

The founder of Cedar River Brewing Company, Jeff James, began as a brewer. With decades of experience brewing beer, Jeff was looking for a new challenge. Sake, a brewed beverage, was one of his favorite drinks and thus he began brewing sake at home. Sake is more labor intensive than beer and is significantly easier to screw up. During this time Jeff was hoping to open a beer brewery but was disheartened by the over saturation of the Seattle market. It was during this time that he started to look into local sake brewers. To his amazement, there was not a single sake brewery in all of Washington state. An opportunity like this was impossible to pass up and Jeff jumped right in.

While considering how best to build his brand, Jeff decided to fully fund his budding brewery himself and forgo investors. While this is limiting him in terms of capacity, he rightly believes that to build a lasting brand with a strong core he needs to be small and agile. The current scale has him in an actual basement doing all of the work himself. While more intensive, he can make adjustments to each batch and explore new varieties to suit clients tastes.

To build his brand, he sought guidance from local restaurateurs, liquor purchasers and beer distributors. He cold-called them relentlessly to set up tastings and seek guidance regarding pricing. These were invaluable in determining what the market could bear and since these initial meetings, his prices have not had to change. Additionally, he was able to learn that he could sell more by offering a variety of bottle sizes, allowing restaurant customers to try it without getting incapacitated (Cedar River’s sake is quite strong). While enjoying the four unique types of sake they currently make, a friend of Jeff’s stopped in. This friend just returned from Japan and is opening his own sake brewery close by. By establishing himself early as the first, and thus oldest, brewery in Seattle he is well positioned to grow quickly and maintain his marketshare. For those who are interested, they have free tastings in Phinney Ridge every Saturday.

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Blog Post #4: Targeted Advertising

Being a graduate student, I don’t have a ton of free cash to spend on outdoor apparel. As such, I am constantly keeping an eye out for good deals, sales, and high quality used merchandise. This has led to a rash of targeted advertisements aimed at selling me the hottest new trends in outdoor gear. Unfortunately for the marketers, not only can I not afford a brand new technical jacket, but I also use AdBlock. As someone who uses AdBlock, I’m only ever aware of Facebook ads when I am on my cell phone.

The two social media applications that I use frequently on my cell phone are Twitter and Facebook, and I do see ads geared toward my interest. The major advertisements tend to be for Black Diamond, Backcountry.com, and few that I’m quite sure where targeted to me after some of the Marketing HW assignments we’ve had. However, I feel that as someone who has used a computer extensively for their entire life, I am relatively immune to advertisements and just scroll past without really taking note. In fact, I’ve always wondered if anyone actually clicks on the links. The rise of popularity of AdBlock and other ad blocking software really makes me skeptical as to the effectiveness and real potential of these ads to drive traffic and sales. The only time I’ve ever been tempted is if a specific item I want is listed with a specific discount from a particular sale.

Blog #3: Luna

Luna’s novel sleep monitoring system offers two unique and highly desirable features to the normal persons bed. First, it provides a bed temperature regulator that can track and change the temperature in two parts of the bed. This allows you and your partner to sleep at your ideal temperature. Second, Luna comes with an extraordinarily sensitive sleep sensing system that monitors the quality of your sleep. Using some simple analytics, the software and you can track how you are sleeping and under what circumstances you sleep best. Using this tracking software it can wake you up during the ideal moment in your sleep cycle to avoid that groggy feeling.

Luna has yet to launch, but has already crowd funded almost $500,000. The first generation line will be ready to ship in August, 2015 and they have already received significant interest from the tech community. To further broaden the reach of Luna and help initial sales figures rise, I would reach out to the following Tech Bloggers:

1) Ben Kepes: Forbes Technology Contributor (@BenKepes)

2) Sam Murphy-Kelly: Mashable Senior Tech Correspondent (@HeySamantha)

3) Shane Roberts: Senior Commerce Manager at Gawker Media (@ShaneOSX)

Assignment 1: Integrative Diagnostics, inc. Market Analysis

Indi: Integrative Diagnostics, inc.

The computational power currently available in modern devices has revolutionized how businesses and individuals interact with almost every aspect of their life.  The ability of current technology to generate massive data sets and analyze them to spot trends out of the noise is at the heart of its utility. The biomedical field has has been lagging behind in utilizing the incredibly rich datasets generated by research scientists; specifically, in generating tools and analytical techniques that can make modern medicine more personalized, less invasive, and thus more efficacious.

Integrative Diagnostics, inc (Indi) discovered several hundred distinct biomarkers for lung cancer that are detectable via blood. These were further refined to 13 biomarkers that can be readily detected through a simple series of assays utilizing only the patients blood. These markers will differentiate between malignant and benign tumors. The current standard is to biopsy a lung nodule, necessitating surgery. Unfortunately, only 20% of those who undergo biopsy are shown to have malignant tumors. Indi’s first product “Xpresys Lung” aims to eliminate unnecessary surgery and thus make a cheaper, safer path for those suffering from lung nodules.

In addition to their current product, Indi aims to utilize their biomarker analysis system to generate subsequent diagnostic platforms. Numerous other cancers suffer from the lack of a non-invasive malignancy assay and the ability of modern technologies to discover such biomarkers has yet to be fully realized.

Indi’s current technology is limited to lung cancer nodule analysis. They claim that millions 0f such nodules are discovered worldwide each year and their product is the first to reach the quality necessary for a true surgery replacement. Due to this, they are not trying to actively steal customers from any current source. However, they are not the first to try and generate in-vitro diagnostic assays for cancers. In fact, several other companies are trying their own proprietary technology to capture their share of the diagnostic market. The market will get crowded very soon as start-ups lock in their technology and make it the standard for care.