Anderson Valley Brewing Co.’s “Boont Amber”

January 7, 2014

I often think about the reasons why one brewery sells better and faster than others just as good. From where does the success begin?

As with anything, it’s the right combination of product, advertising and word of mouth. I actually believe that word of mouth is the strongest tool that can be employed. After all, without national TV commercial presence and very limited print ads in magazines, breweries like New Belgium should be small-time yet their beer was some of the most sought-after in America prior to their Colorado-to-Carolina expansion this year.

Everyone was talking about it. It built a mystique. That grew demand.

All fine and dear, except why some more than others? Why is it most people know of New Belgium, Great Divide, Lagunitas, and Stone, while Tommyknocker, Bear Republic, and Ballast Point all seem to take a back seat? All of them are good breweries, but there’s not the same word of mouth.

It’s not like there’s a lot of smack-talk flying around to persuade anyone gullible enough to not formulate their own opinion. So what is it then, simple packaging?

It can’t be as finicky as all that. If that were the case, then Anderson Valley should be selling like hotcakes. Let’s start with the look.

Simple, pleasant cartoon illustrations adorn their bottled six-pack holders and labels. Notice that the bear has deer antlers. It’s a “beer,” get it? Cute! And, say, what’s that printed on the bottles and cans? “Bahl” what? “Hop Ottin’”? Who’s “Poleeko?”

Using one of the best ways to get a customer to put their product in their hands – visual intrigue – Anderson Valley utilizes the dialect of their slice of California known as “Boontling.” This hodge-podge of English, Pomoan Native American, Spanish, Scottish Gaelic and Irish was developed in the late 1800s by workers in the hop fields.
It’s reasonable to assume someone would be perusing the selections in a package store and Anderson Valley’s product should visually stand out from the rest. In case that’s not enough, allow me to aid the word of mouth from which their beer might benefit. Take their flagship offering Boont Amber, for example.

This bahl hornin’ (Boontling for “good drinking”) beer allows a wet, frothy, egg-white head to build up on top of the coppery red liquid below. Fruit and shortbread scents announce a balanced malt profile with notes of butter, caramel and leafy hops. Flavors of honeyed biscuit, orange, caramel and cashew allow just enough hop bitterness through to maintain control. The finish on Boont – one of its best features – is incredibly clean leaving behind only good flavor.

So now you know because I’ve told you. Time to go see for yourself and make Anderson Valley the next big thing.