Where are we going?

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

airplane.

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.