Mark Twain once wrote: "Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it."
I've been thinking about this a lot lately. This idea of forgiveness and giving a brewery another (another) shot.
When do you stop giving brewery another shot? When do you say "enough is enough, I'm done"? What can a brewery do to encourage that second (or third or fourth) chance?
How much of that decision is marketing? Can a brewery market itself out of a hole?
How much is simply the culture of craft beer? There seems to be a culture of consumer experimentation in craft beer - trying different beers from different breweries - how much is simply coming back around to the brewery?
In cases where the brewery is forgiven, what were the triggers? What changed about the beer or the brewery?
Three examples based on (un-named) in-state breweries:
Brewery A is from a small town. It makes a large range of beer that is firmly within the experimental tradition of craft beer. However, technical issues present flaws in the beer. I bought two or three packs from this brewery. Got frustrated, gave it a full 6 months to year off (didn't purchase any of it). I had some at a beer fest that was actually pretty good (no flaws), bought two more packs of it in the store and one had the same flaws as before, while the other did not. Gave it another few months off (put it in "the rotation" more or less) and came back to the same flaws. Have not purchased it since (2 or 3 years ago) and have no intention of purchasing it again.
Brewery B is also from a small town. It makes a medium range of beers that are all very good. There was a long run of beer, however, that had serious diacetyl problems in the bottles and on tap. I stopped buying any brands from this brewery for a long period of time (maybe 9 months or so). When I came back to it, some of the brands had been "fixed" (have not exhibited the problems at all), while others continue to be very spotty. In this case, I continue to purchase the "good" brands from this brewery, while I purchase with far less frequency (if at all) the "spotty" brands.
Brewery C makes a large selection of beer. Some of the beers are (subjectively) really good, some I don't like at all. I never purchase the ones I don't like. In fact, I only purchase the ones that I do like and won't purchase a new release from this brewery until I have had independent confirmation that it is even worthy of trying from friends and acquaintances whom I trust.
So, there seems to be a pattern on my part of willingness to forgive technical issues, so long as the brewery is able to fix them. However, I am far less willing to forgive compete market misses.
Have you given this as much thought as I have? Any conclusions?