From the HBD Archive
From: gummitch@techbook.com (Jeff Frane)
Subject: Re: Profiles, Wyeast
Date: 1992-03-12 19:50:00 GMT

homebrew-request@hpfcmi.fc.hp.com (Verify address before sending) writes:

Jack Schmidling writes:

>
> >From: gummitch@techbook.com (Jeff Frane)
>
> >As far as Mr Schmidling's opinions on the best way to package yeast, I
> would suggest that having the yeast and nutrient in one package was the
> whole point!
>
> The business world is littered with failures who missed the point.
>
Ah, but since the business is a raging success it doesn't seem to be
WYeast who have missed the point.


> > and in fact largely responsible for the success of WYeast.
>
> It now seems to be largely responsible for a great deal of frustration.
>
> >I am also very aware of the huge amount of effort that Dave is putting
> into correcting the problem with his packaging, a problem that was
> neither inherent in the design
>
> If the package does not do what it is supposed to do it IS a design problem.
>
> > nor of his own doing.
>
> Is the Devil making his packaging decisions?
>
As I explained once before (please take notes this time): the problem
resulted from a material failure, which was a result of the oil company
that makes the plastic changing their formula and reducing the
structural strength of the package. It is clearly NOT a design problem,
and whatever quarrel you may have with the success of WYeast and the
purity of their product, the fact is that the company is very
successful, and the product revolutionized homebrewing.


> >WYeast is considering adding some new strains of yeast to their existing
> line. These would sell for less money than the current package, and
> would NOT include a starter.
>
> Sounds like he has been reading my mind. But why "new strains"? Why not
> sell the tried and proven ones without starter? Why not just a lower cost
> option for brewers willing to do a little more fiddling?
>
> My advice is to pick a standard ale and market the hell out of it. If they
> got the volume up, there is no reason why they could not drive dry yeast off
> the shelves. They are destroying any chances of economies of scale by
> spreading themselves so thin.
>
This is in fact pretty good advice--as long as you don't understand the
market. When WYeast introduced their Brewers' Choice strains a few years
ago, they offered one ale and one lager strain. The demand (remember
supply & demand?) for additional strains was so great that David has had
to continually expand his list.

Why do you continue to suggest that WYeast is a marketing failure when
the evidence is overwhelming against you?

As far as a lower-cost option for brewers willing to do a little more
fiddling is concerned--it already exists. Ever brewer I know that uses
liquid yeasts managed to contain costs by re-using their yeast at least
once. This brings the cost of using liquid yeast well down to the level
of using dry yeast (especially when considering that most sources
suggest two pkgs of dry yeast when pitching) while avoiding the inherent
problems of contamination from dried yeast packaging.

As far as providing the packaging without the starter: a significant
number of the retailers who handle WYeast said that their customers
would not buy the yeast without starters. Once again, the market knows
what it wants, which is not necessarily what *you* think it should want.

Hope this clears things up for you.

- --Jeff Frane




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