It’s hard to find a process, ingredient, or piece of equipment in a production facility that hasn’t been thought of or scrutinized 1,000 times over. It may seem impossible, but what if there was an overlooked resource you could leverage to improve quality, create a stronger brand, and foster deeper connections with customers… like your tasting room.
Let’s break it down.
- Not used in production
- Often located next door
- Full of motivated people that are YOUR TARGET MARKET
Having a tasting room adjacent to your production facility is almost an unfair advantage. Other food and beverage manufacturers don’t have them, and they end up paying extra to recruit consumers to help them with product research, R&D, marketing, and various forms of quality control.
Yet here they are, sitting right next door.
Now, we’re not saying that you should throw them a pair of boots and have them start running the packaging line, but there is a lot they can help with while also creating a more engaging customer experience.
Last Line of Quality Control
We hear all the time that small producers (and even some of the larger ones) don’t have the time or resources to run a taste panel. This can be fine for a little while, but sensory is a critical piece of a quality control plan that should not be skipped for too long.
Why not use your tasting room and your customers for your panel? It’s not a replacement for an internal tasting program, but with the right tasting methods and presentation, it could be a last line of defense against major issues. Chances are you’re already handing out free samples, meaning half the work is done.
FACT: Consumers are not trained tasters and will have a limited palate.
ALSO FACT: Consumers are capable of recognizing samples that are “off” and will notice flavor changes as recurring customers.
Develop Your Brands
With competition coming from other product categories (beer, wine, spirits, seltzer, canned cocktail, etc.), it’s harder than ever to stand out and make something that consumers seek out. The way that big producers handle this is by learning what consumers want FIRST. In fact, product categories like hard seltzer came into existence specifically because of this!
You can (and should) be doing the same thing, and your tasting room is a perfect place to do it. By periodically running tastings with your customers, you can learn how your products are being perceived, what is driving those perceptions, and how you compare to similar offerings. Whoever does this well, will set themselves apart.
Another Silver Lining
Customers enjoy it! Tasting rooms are all about the experience, and we haven’t run a single tasting station where people aren’t curious and motivated to help. It’s a chance for them to learn about your product and be a part of the team they support. There is no downside to getting to know your customers and engaging them more effectively.
DraughtLab Tasting Stations
DraughtLab has developed tasting methods that are designed to work in the tasting room and help expand production capabilities. Go here to learn more and get access to a Free Online Training Module.
DraughtLab offers practical and approachable Sensory Analysis Solutions that deliver real-world value to food and beverage companies. Visit our website or reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more!