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Disrupting the Homebrew Market with The Grainfather

Challenge

Imake, an established business specialising in malt extract home brewing kits, faced several challenges in a saturated market. They struggled to attract new, younger customers and had minimal differentiation in a market crowded with similar products. With the rise of the craft beer movement, Imake needed to rethink its value proposition to sustain and grow its business.


 

Approach


Business Design Audit
  • Conducted a comprehensive business design audit to identify opportunities for diversification and assess whether the business was set up for success or required a pivot.


Empathy & Insights
  • Conducted interviews with 20 homebrewers in Portland, the craft brewing capital of the world, to gather insights into brewing methods, likes, and dislikes. - Validated the concept of 'craft-brewing at home' through customer research to mitigate the risk of cannibalising existing sales.


Product Development
  • Presented customer insights to engineering teams, which led to the development of The Grainfather, the first all-in-one electric brewing system designed for everyday homebrewers.

Brand Strategy & Posistioning
  • developed a unique brand strategy that positioned The Grainfather as an affordable all-in-one electric brewing system which appealed to the most experienced homebrewer as well as those with no brewing experience.





Deliverables


Unique Go-To-Market Strategy
  • Built a strong community around the brand through brewing events and a YouTube channel called "The Weekly Mash," featuring brewing tips. Cultivated a network of brand advocates who would defend the brand on social media whenever we encountered development issues or setbacks.


Go-to-Market Plan
  • Formulated a multi-faceted go-to-market strategy, including a direct-to-consumer model, international distributor partnerships, and a robust e-commerce website, generating $1m on the website in the first year.


Team Leadership
  • Led a marketing team of 10 to successfully implement global launch and brand-building strategies.



Results

  • Achieved $35 million in sales within three years.

  • Generated $1m in e-commerce sales in the first year in New Zealand.

  • Built high brand recognition, often ranking in the top 10 brands in leading craft brewing industry publications.


"When Saskia came to me saying we should get into brewing from grain rather than our extract kits, I thought she was nuts! At the time, brewing extract was our bread and butter, and I was worried that getting into brewing from grains and hops would cannibalise our extract sales. Saskia persevered with pushing the idea, and I'm so glad I listened. Craft beer was a fantastic trend for us to ride on. The Grainfather didn’t cannibalise at all; instead, it brought on a fresh new group of customers and helped position our umbrella business as being at the forefront of our industry, which eventually led us to a successful exit.”
Peter Eastwood, Founder and CEO Imake.






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