Last week we announced that our Modern Sour Beer was launching in Tesco stores nationwide (see more about the two beers going exclusively into Tesco here).
If the past week has taught us anything it’s that acting with honesty and integrity, playing it as straight as we can, is core to our business and beliefs and the way we’ll continue to operate.
All the messages, calls and emails of support for our decision have been overwhelming; people we’ve only known for a few years reaching out to check in - people who don’t owe us anything. Vault City isn’t here for the short term, we’re here for the long haul, putting two exclusive beers into Tesco helps solidify the foundations we need to grow as a business.
Words are easy, we’ve used a lot of them over the past week to outline our decision and discuss this launch on posts, forums and emails. Some of these discussions online have led to more discussions in-house about how we can put our money where our mouth is and act on those words.
Actions, on the other hand, are difficult. Saying we’ll continue to support independents might make us feel all warm and fuzzy inside, but when it comes down to it, how do we do it?
As the beers in Tesco are closest in character to our Session Sour series, we felt like this was the best place to start. So, from today we’re reducing our sale price of Session Sours to bring them closer in line with the shelf price of the Tesco beers. We’re taking a significant cut in our bottom line because we want to support the people who have supported us and will continue to support us by removing as much of the barrier that a lower price in a supermarket poses as we can.
We looked at reducing to a directly comparable price point, but it simply wouldn’t work. We’re not doing this for 6 months then creeping the price back up, we needed to make this change sustainable. We’ve done what we can, and that to us is meeting in the middle between where our Session Sours currently sit and the price on the shelf in Tesco.
This isn’t a knee jerk reaction. We’ve not seen any sizeable drop-off on bottle shop pre-orders of our new Session Sour – Pomegranate Session Sour. We’re doing this because we think it’s right to use the opportunity afforded to do something good for people who are good to us.
We’ve not forgotten the independent bars; we’ve already had feedback about our Session Sours only being available in 30L keg format prior to this internal discussion. The larger kegs can be a bit of a commitment for smaller bars with lower customer numbers to list a sour beer. To keep the support going, we’ll be packaging 20L Session Sour kegs to significantly drop the price for bars who wouldn’t go through a 30L keg in a reasonable time frame.
Finally, after a great suggestion from a comment, we’ll be amending the Tesco beer’s labels going forward to direct people toward their local independent bar and bottle shop. The argument that people trying beers in a supermarket will drive them towards / away from going to an independent bottle shop / bar to explore more flavours is a hotly contested one. However, if a fresh to-the-scene customer enjoys our beer they will have a prompt in their hand to explore what the rest of the UK’s craft breweries have to offer. We’re immensely proud and privileged to be part of one of the world’s most exciting craft beer scenes, so let’s shout about it.
We’ll be going live on Instagram on Friday at 8pm, we’ll do a live taste along of the Tesco beers, talk to some independent bottle shop owners, take live questions and hopefully have a bit of fun doing it.