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Our First Full Year of Business

Technically we started in 2016, but 2017 has been our first full year of ale smithing and it makes for a better title. So now is a good time to look back over the, see what happened and give you some insight to our inner workings.

2017 has generally been a good year for us. We’ve seen a growth in sales over the months and a lot of repeat orders. So something must be right with the kits. We’d like to expand this audience of course but getting a solid customer base is important. We have seen the site, ebay store and offline store all do equally well. There were phases where each one saw the most orders, this suggests each has a purpose and a different appeal.

One of the big changes came from how we sold the starter kit. Originally sold bundled (and still sold this way on our ebay store), we reduced the price of and saw a rise in sales. But we still weren’t happy with the number of sales so instead reformatted how we sold them. This lead to the “Make Mine A” system, we now offer the starter kit special as an add-on product along with a few other extras. This has been much more of a success suggesting our customers like a choice but with some guidance.

Top 5 Sellers

  1. Shipwright

Consistently one of our best sellers. From both sites, customers new and old. We always see good sales. IPA is very popular right now so it is not a surprising success.

  1. Blacksmith’s Stout

Only just securing second place is Blacksmith’s. Again a consistent seller but doesn’t do as well in the warmer months.

  1. Silversmith’s Session

This is a very last minute success. While selling a bit throughout the year in the last 2 months sales skyrocketed. The kit has almost been on the chopping block at times but it shows you have to be ready for changes in taste.

  1. Captain’s IPA

A fairly new addition, but the most successful. This was added late last year, it was mainly inspired by how well Shipwright did but also cause we wanted to use honey in more kits.

  1. Logger’s Lager

It isn’t a close fifth but Logger makes it in. It did best in Summer and Spring.

New additions

We have added 2 new kits this year. Pionneer’s Gold was added in January as we noticed American ales have seen a growth in popularity. They have a strong hoppy flavour like IPAs but contain different hops and yeast. Schwarzschmied Lagerbier is more recent being added in October. I came across it when doing research for an article and thought it would be interesting to try out. We would still like to try and make a Gruit Ale kit, but with so much experimentation for lacking result we don’t see a way to move forward with this.

Outside of kits we also started selling hops. These have been a great success for our offline store and we hope to expand on it more next year.

Speaking of next year, what is next for Ale Smithing Homebrew? We have certainly found a niche in the market but also need to expand that, be it from adding different products or finding a way to make our kits have a broader appeal. Expansion is difficult and expensive, so while we are willing to experiment like every good homebrewer it has to be a smart choice.

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