As told by Jim Watkins:
When we discussed posting a couple blog posts in the lead up to our 5 year anniversary we
settled on a “where it all began”, “where we are now”, “where we are
going” format. The first two were easy. Story telling and soul searching. Thinking about the
“where are we going” question, however, has left us with a healthy case of the sweats.
In some ways growing a business is scarier than starting a new one. With a startup, there is
nothing to lose. Actually, less than nothing if you count the debt load. As we’ve grown,
however, that has changed. Now we’ve got kids to feed. Literally. So with that level of anxiety
nicely outlined, let’s get to the question at hand: where are we going?
The craft space has changed A LOT since opening Sociable. There are more products than ever
on liquor store shelves, distributors are consolidating, table service is going extinct, national
beer volumes are down, wine and spirits volumes are up, and this weird not-quite-beer not-
quite-wine space called cider has been all over the place. These changes force us to continually
ask, “what business are we in?” We don’t want to be the transportation operator that thinks
they’re a rail company. That’s how you go out of business when people start traveling by
So, what business are we in? Brewing? Wine-making? Manufacturing? Distributing?
Restauranting? The short (and unhelpful) answer is, YES. More specifically though, it seems we
are in the customer business. Simply put, the only reason our successes have been big and our
failures small these last several years is because of our fans. To that end, we are doubling down
on delivering the best Sociable experiences possible. We continue to refine our taproom with a
new event space, flight boards, menus, and furniture, and we’ve got a patio refresh replete
with comfy seating and fire pits (yes, that is plural) on the way. The fire pits may not be the
only part about the taproom that becomes plural. More on that later. Outside of the taproom
we are working tirelessly with our distributor partners to make sure your local liquor store is in
stock with our newest launches, and to bring Sociable to new places outside of the metro and
Minnesota…Sconnies deserve cider too, after all.
The future for Sociable is all about staying focused on the things we can control. That’s not to
say we aren’t paying attention to what is happening in the market, it just means we’re going to
try to watch those developments in the rear-view mirror. Innovation and hustle will continue
to drive us. This year’s lineup is absolutely remarkable. Our Tandem Tap infusions have my
mouth watering as I sit here thinking about them, and MN’s first canned mead is going to melt
your face off. Sometimes we are slow to react because we take that spirit of creativity so
seriously. Its why we were so hesitant to launch a pink cider…it simply wasn’t our idea. That
said, we are not too proud to pivot. Something pink is on its way for summer of 2019 in a way
that is uniquely Sociable. There is so much great stuff coming, it can’t be kept to a page. We
can’t tell you how excited we are to share all these new developments with you this year and
beyond. Thank you, thank you, Sociable Nation for giving us the privilege of being able to
reminisce about the last five memorable and remarkable years, and of course to share with you
our plan for the next five.