Craft Beer, Fine Wine, Artisan Spirits, and Mouthgasmic Food.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Where's your face @WalnutCafe? #bbc10

Saturday morning, @hopsafari/@windaddict and I took a little stroll down to Walnut Cafe.  He read on Yelp that they had a blueberry cornbead, and that was enough to get us moving.  Needless to say, there were many other interesting aspects of Walnut Cafe.  One of the first things that I noticed were all the photos of faces.  There were faces everywhere. 

On the walls, on the menus, on their car out back were photos of customers. All of their materials were printed with photos of their customers.  I absolutely love, love, love this community building strategy.  There's no website for people to sign up and to post there comments.  This was a community of loyal customers. 

Check out all those smiling faces.  I happened to meet the owners of Walnut Cafe.  They have a photo day in which customers can come in to get their photo taken.  You joined the community "board" by showing up and getting your photo taken.  The photos are later used on the menu and other advertising.  Apparently, customers really want to be on the menu, and they are annoyed when their photo doesn't make it.  That is a pretty awesome situation for a restaurant.  When you have people who want to be the face of your brand, you're doing a pretty damn good job. 

Oh, and @hopsafari had a Walnut Latte.  Yum. 

The quiche was pretty fantastic.  Tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, green peppers, and cheese melted together into a hearty and tasty breakfast.  The breakfast potatoes were wonderfully seasoned and spicy. 

@Hopsafari had the eggs marcos (eggs, bacon, cheddar cheese, and cream cheese) with breakfast potatoes and blueberry cornbread.  I loved the eggs marcos.  It reminded me of putting cream cheese on eggs when I was in undergrad.  The cornbread was also wonderfully tasty.  It was solid in structure, simple in flavor, and comforting. 

Really appreciating your customer.  This one comes to Walnut Cafe every single day.  He gets to be the face of their restaurant. 

Another shot of the customer heavy menu.  I want to be on the menu. 

Not only are the customers on the menus, they are the vehicles.  I'm starting to feel that this restaurant isn't for the food (however, tasty), but really for the community. 

And the pies are award winning.  I love this concept. 

More happy customers on the car. 

In addition to the two Walnut Cafe locations, they also have a brand new food truck. 

Here I am, in the Walnut Cafe truck. 

In addition to having an awesome customer community, the food truck community in Boulder is unique.  All the food trucks have a name and identity separate from the food.  Walnut Creek truck's name is Dinah.  The StrEat's truck name is Tina.  Hear that, Austin?  Name your food trucks.  They need to have an identity, and their own community.  I love to anthorphomize objects, and giving a food truck a name and identity is perfect. 

Another shot of the brand spanking new truck. 

Monday, November 15, 2010

Are you a Village Virgin? Old Fashioned Word of Mouth and Old Fashioned Food. #bbc10

If the brunch spots @HopSafari (also @windaddict) and I visited are any indication of the food community in Boulder, this place is hopping.  Village Coffee was an awesome experience for us, but more than that, the word of mouth strategy was new, fun, and refreshing.  I checked into Village Coffee on Gowalla, and I saw a little tag that said to make sure to tell the staff that it is our first visit.  So I did.  First time Village Coffee visitors are called Village Virgins.  The restaurant calls out the Virgins, literally.  The staff yells "EXCUSE ME, EVERYONE! WE HAVE A VILLAGE VIRGIN!"  Everyone in the restaurant cheers, and then resumes their meal.  The virgins aren't scoffed at or picked on.  They are applauded with a warm welcome.  What a better way to welcome newbies?

Whoever brought the Village Virgins gets a stamp on their Village V-card.  Bring in three virgins and you get a free half order of French toast.  After six virgins, you get a free pancake.  After eight virgins, you get any free breakfast.  After ten virgins, you get a free shirt.  This is a genius plan.  This isn't just rewarding customers who visit frequently, but it rewards customers who bring in new customers.  This is word of mouth, offline, and I absolutely love it.  I'll also note that there is a sign up at Village Coffee with a sign saying that they had a Facebook.  The sign also says that they are crawling into the 21st century.  That just goes to show that you don't need a fancy social media strategy to use word of mouth. 

I love the unpretentiousness and simple, down to Earth atmosphere.

One of the staff at Village Coffee snaps a photo for us. 

The chicken fried steak, eggs, and hash browns. 

 The egg burrito with green chile pork stew.  Delicious!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Women in Craft Beer Post from #BBC10

Biologically, men and women are not the same.  No one seems to have a problem with that statement.  Men (the blue curve) and women (the red curve) differ on height.  The average man is taller than the average woman.  And that's just fine.  No one gets angry about that. 

The average woman can naturally lactate (with the right combination of hormones after giving birth) better than men, on average.  I'm sure some man out there will find the "how-to" articles online, achieve lactation, and write me about it.  I've heard of it happening too.  I want to see some video proof.
The average man can probably grow a #Movember mustache better than the average woman, for the most part.  I'm sure there are some women out there who are really good at growing facial hair (hence the blue and red curve overlap), but I digress.  Also, I'm on the #TeamAUS #Movember team.  I'm growing a Mohawk for #Movember.  Donate to my team if you can. 

However, when one brings up differences in behavior and preferences in men and women, feathers get ruffled.  Data shows that women and men are indeed different, behaviorally.  There is a plethora of evidence that shows that our brains develop differently, which is mostly driven by the types of hormones each gender is exposed to during development in the uterus and beyond (nature).  Men and women like different things and communicate in different ways.  These differences are independent of nurture, socialization, culture, and media.  Some of these behavioral differences have been shown in babies as young as four weeks old.  Some of these differences have been replicated in non-human animals as well which is evidence that the differences are not due to environmental effects.  I can't remember the last time I witnessed monkeys or rats in the wild reading Cosmo or Hustler.  Differences between male and females of the respective species cannot be attributed to obvious social pressures.  Different isn't wrong, and different isn't bad.  Different is good

I've been involved in many male-dominated communities  From performance driving, auto-crossing, clean driving, start-ups, science, tech, and the beer industry, I'm surrounded by men.  Rarely is there ever an issue that I'm a woman.  On occasion, a big jerk will come onto the scene trying to start some trouble, but those instances are rare and infrequent.  I've noticed that in the other previously listed areas there have been movements for women.  Women in Tech and TedWomen are just two.   With the development of these groups, there seems to be two basic reactions: 1) I'm offended. We don't need a separate group to hang with the men. We are just as capable as men.  2) I like having the companionship and support of other women. 

The formation of the women centered subgroups can cause massive disruption, no pun intended.  Read @michellegreer's blogpost about her experience here.  The behavior of some of the men in those communities is completely unacceptable to me.  Those big meanies better keep hiding behind their computers for my ninjas are truly unhappy.  The situation was worsened when there was a panel on women in tech at Tech Disrupt.  To make matter worse on top of that, some jerk of an angel investor asked for a booty call

Something similar happened at the Women in Craft Beer panel at #bbc10 (minus the booty call, I think).  Individual opinions were expressed about the state of women in craft beer, and that didn't go over so well with the audience.  Instead of having a clear theme of advocating for women in the industry, individual opinions clashed with each other.  My statement from the audience was that having women leaders in the field is pretty cool.  I love @chocolatestout and @lyonsgal.  On occasion there will be that big jerk in the beer community (very, very, very rare in the beer community), and I find it nice when women can be supportive of each other and show that big jerk a thing or two in brewing.   I left that panel with mixed emotions.  This was a community that flaunted supportiveness, tolerance, and understanding, but the tone of the conference seemed to change drastically after the panel. 
Ultimately, the potential for passion in the craft beer industry in men and women can be the same.  Men and women can equally become movers and shakers in the craft beer industry.  How someone decides to promote their blog to men or women is their own decision.  I don't care what demographic reads my blog.  If I inspire just one person of any gender (or even those who are unsure of their own gender) to try craft beer, that's cool.  If someone wants to communicate with me because I'm a woman in craft beer, that's cool too.  I don't have any big agenda on my blog nor do I directly gain anything financially.  Though I've sold quite a few Thirsty Bird Threads items, it will ultimately be a financial loss as I donate the proceeds to the Texas Craft Brewer's Guild and other causes.  I'm quite okay with outcome, as it is my hobby and passion.  I've spent 100s times more on dog showing than I have in the craft beer industry.  :o)  I have a day job to pay the bills. 

You can read about other attendees' posts about the issue here.

If you want to know about the conference demographics, check out my chart below.  These were the numbers provided by Allan Wright.  Nearly on third of the conference attendees were women (incredibly hot women if I must say so myself).  @StoneGreg was lucky to get to have his photo taken with them. 
*The statistician in me requires that I add 1% unsure as the gender classifications were not self-reported.
**My research area is in hormones and behaviors, specifically sex hormones and sex behaviors.  I'm happy to provide references for the data I cite.