Project FAILED: A Marketing Example from Craft Brewing

In the great land of Oregon….we brew beer. Well, I don’t brew beer personally. But one of my besties was among the first female brewers in the state, and she used to bring me free beer all the time…but enough about that. 🙂

This week I was in the mood for a microbrew, and it’s always amazing to look at the beer shelf and see NEW BEER. Stuff I have never tried. A cool label sucked me in right away, and the more I thought about it, the more I had to share my beer experience with you. Hehe.

The beer I want to talk about comes from a Bend, Oregon brewery called 10 Barrel Brewing Company. I know 10 Barrel and have visited the Bend pub with the aforementioned bestie, just before her wedding a couple of years back. So, I have fond personal memories of the place, and I like them. They also make a number of great beers.

The seasonal release I found this week is called Project FAILED: Red Ale.

I’ve always loved their beer, so the label sucked me in and I had to try whatever they considered their “failure”, yet still released for public consumption. We don’t roll with bad beer. So I knew that it was not, in fact, bad beer.

And it wasn’t! Not at all!

Here’s the additional statement on the side of the bottle:
“Just to be clear, we completely failed on this project. We tried to do something mind-blowingly awesome but just couldn’t pull it off. So instead we settled with a gold medal winning Red Ale. Lesson learned? Probably not…”

This is marketing genius. For a fan, it’s going to be intriguing. For someone who has never experienced 10 Barrel beer, it’s at least going to draw the eye and possibly get a chuckle. It’s both cocky and self-deprecating. And promises more in the future.

What they’re really saying is that they’re risk takers, pleased to bring their originality and creativity to their unique product. This label will help 10 Barrel catch eyes on the shelf. All important in the competitive world of Oregon craft brewing.

…and something that authors can learn from. I’m a terrible example when it comes to marketing (I basically don’t do anything that isn’t for fun, as I work on building my backlist), but paying attention to the marketing that works on me is probably a good start as I prep for the long game. 🙂

If you’re ever in Bend, Oregon, check out their pub. They’ve also opened a Portland pub, which I didn’t know and will have to check out myself. How ’bout a date, hubby? 🙂

About J.R. Pearse Nelson

J.R. Pearse Nelson is a native Oregonian, residing in the beautiful Portland area. She lives with her husband, two small daughters and the family dog. J.R. is always searching for the magic in our world. She weaves tales rooted in mythology, bringing legend to life in modern-day and fantasy settings. J.R. is the author of the Children of the Sidhe paranormal romance series, the Foulweather Twins fantasy series, and the Water Rites fantasy series. You can connect with J.R. online at her website. Visit

2 comments on “Project FAILED: A Marketing Example from Craft Brewing

  1. That’s a cool story. I wish I could find just that one thing that would be awesome, that marketing trick that could set my books apart from the others. Maybe stuff like “don’t read this book” or something like “reading this book has been known to_____” LOL

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