Finnegan’s Beer

Increase revenues for a socially-conscious beer company in Minneapolis.

Design thinking, business research, marketing, creativity.

About Project

Finnegan’s Beer is a great social enterprise in Minneapolis.  Not only do they brew great beer, but they give 100% of the profits to feed the hungry.  The problem:  the explosion of micro brews in the Twin Cities was cutting market share, and they needed ideas about how to increase revenue.

We used design thinking to generate solutions through a five step process.

  1. Empathy:  We increased our empathy for the customer by going onsite, conducting deep interviews, observing customer behavior, and talking to distributors.  We found that the social cause meant little to serious beer drinkers, and more casual drinkers didn’t know about it at all.
  2. Redefine:  We redefined the problem from the user’s standpoint.  The problem became not how to get Finnegan’s more revenue, but how do we meet the needs of casual beer drinkers who want to feel confident and respected in their beer choice?
  3. Ideate:  We asked a lot of “How might we…” questions to brainstorm creative ideas.  “How might we reduce the burden of a bad beer choice?” “How might Steve Jobs do it?”
  4. Prototype:  Using the arts and crafts supplies of our kids, we made quick, inexpensive prototypes to bring our ideas to life.
  5. Test:  We tested our prototypes, learned from our mistakes, and prototyped some more.

The idea is to fail fast, fail cheaply, and learn, so that after a few cycles of prototyping and testing, we were confident in our recommendations.

We recommended a number of strategies, from refining the audience away from serious micro brew drinkers, to bartender education and serving Finnegan’s in a beer koozie that looks like a can of vegetable soup.