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Craft Beer & Brewing Quadruples Revenue with Thought Industries

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About Craft Beer & Brewing

Unfiltered Media Group is a next-generation media business exploring ways to build relationships with passionate audiences. Using print, digital, and social media, the company builds media brands and products that resonate with today’s audiences, delivered through every relevant platform. Craft Beer and Brewing is part of Unfiltered Media Group, focusing on craft beer and the brewing process for both home and professional brewers.

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The Problem

As a growing company, Unfiltered Media and its Craft Beer and Brewing brand were looking to take their product offerings to the next level. The company wanted to reach new customers and expand its current customer base. The team saw online learning as a powerful way to develop market leadership and build a new high-margin revenue stream. One of the most critical decisions in building a learning business was to find the right platform that could get them to market quickly with a high-quality online learning product.

The Goal

Craft Beer and Brewing had very specific requirements when looking for an online learning platform that made the search particularly challenging. Specifically, cost, flexibility and reporting were critical. Cost was an important factor because many platforms on the market were expensive, out of budget, and designed for other markets and simply did not have the core commerce capabilities they needed. Additionally, flexibility, customization and mobile responsiveness were critical for the team, as rich features and a tailored product would resonate with its audience. Reporting was also a critical piece of the business strategy, so the company was looking for a provider that understood how valuable analytics were.

After considerable research for the most suitable platform, in January 2014 Craft Beer and Brewing selected Thought Industries as a partner. According to John Bolton CEO of Unfiltered, they choose Thought Industries because “We knew online education was an opportunity for us to grow our business and solidify our market leadership, but the challenge was finding the right platform for our needs. In partnering with Thought Industries, we were able to create a customized experience that our customers love, that our team can easily manage and that ultimately generates new revenue for our business.” 

The Solution

Thought Industries’ monthly feature release cycles meant Craft Beer and Brewing could continuously leverage features designed to grow their business and deliver a great learning experience to their passionate brewers. Features including learning storefronts and catalogs, course bundling, subscription management, discounting, affiliate tracking and paywalls helped the team maximize revenue on the front-end. They also leveraged multiple learning methods from the platform including videos, interactions, quizzes and slideshows providing an engaging learning experience to their audience. Following three months of planning strategy and curriculum, building the courses, familiarizing the team with the platform and building a marketing plan, they rolled out the platform as a soft launch in early 2014. To keep costs at a minimum, Craft Beer and Brewing did not have to hire a single full-time employee to support their learning business but opted to leverage their internal team and freelancers to create and run the online school.

In the months after the launch, Craft Beer and Brewing worked with Thought Industries to continue to optimize the courses and content in order to drive maximum business results. With a series of marketing adjustments, price testing and course/content refinements, Craft Beer and Brewing established a real revenue-generating business.

The Result

After reviewing a number of learning platforms, Unfiltered Media determined that Thought Industries stood “head and shoulders above the competition” and offered the best solution to meet their needs. Thought Industries’ customizable and cost-effective platform offered a seamless and professional experience, a clean customer interface, and a variety of content and instructor interactions all at a reasonable price. Additionally, the platform offered advanced analytics, a user-friendly management and authoring interface and all the tools they needed to build and operate a learning business. Since launch, the company’s learning business has soared, quadrupling year-over-year revenue from 2014. Craft Beer and Brewing’s online brewing school sees more than 45% margin on its online learning business.

With the help of Thought Industries, Craft Beer and Brewing developed a very successful online learning business.

As of October 2015, Craft Beer and Brewing reported:

  • Quadruple year-over-year revenue
  • Approximately 45% margins
  • Usage/site visits and subscription revenue increase month-over-month
  • Customer satisfaction is extremely high and they have never had a customer complaint regarding the platform or content
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"We knew online education was an opportunity for us to grow our business and solidify our market leadership, but the challenge was finding the right platform for our needs. In partnering with Thought Industries, we were able to create a customized experience that our customers love, that our team can easily manage and that ultimately generates new revenue for our business."

John Bolton
CEO & Co-Founder, Craft Beer & Brewing

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