What a Beer Startup Disrupting a $300 Billion Industry Can Teach You

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Entrepreneur Leadership Network Writer
Founder of Verma Media
5 min read
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Market disruption is becoming more and more common as companies become less and less afraid of taking on their big competitor brands. Successful brand-building can take years, but some startups are making such an impact that they are attaining success in less than half the usual time.

Related: Who Will Step Up and Disrupt the Real Estate Industry?

One thing every seller should ask about its target audience is its industry is one that's prepared to be disrupted. This is one of those points in business where you truly have to be in the right place at the right time.

If you are in the right place, your online reputation management reports should make for positive reading. Want to read about a craft-beer company that has succeeded in disrupting its entire industry? Say hello to House Beer.

How one company did it right.

Owner Brendan Sindell established House Beer in 2013, with a co-founder. He has said he realized that his industry was, and is, as CNC reported, a $300 billion industry. But he also realized that the margins of big beer had been in decline for some time, and that there were no signs of this trend reversing anytime soon.

From the start, Sindell said, he wanted to take on the big beer brands all over the world. And he's making progress toward that goal: He started his brand in a garage in California, but his brewery is now moving production to a Colorado facility, where production of 8,000 barrels per year is expected.

This is an industry ripe for disruption, because since 2010 craft brewers have doubled their market share. Big beer is worried because its own grip on the industry is slipping. For the moment, these brands are still dominating the industry. But in the next few years that may well change.

So, with that in mind, what lessons from the beer world should you keep in mind to set about disrupting your own industry?

1. Be bold.

Market disruptors are, by their very nature, bold and brave. They lay everything on the line in order to accomplish their goals. The only way that you too can be bold is to be willing to risk everything. Big risks can lead to big rewards, as Airbnb and Uber have shown.

In the case of House Beer, that brand was always fighting an uphill battle. Its founders succeeded because they believed they had a viable chance of succeeding. And they have done that.

2. See the signs.

Industry disruption has to happen at the right time, if it’s going to happen at all. There has to be an appetite from the general public for change.

Another example of disruption comes from the business funding industry. What a lot of people don’t realize is that banks used to be the only avenue if you wanted funding. Unless you happened to know someone who was rich, you went to the bank.

But crowdfunding and angel investing have arisen because the banks are no longer giving a great deal to people applying for loans. There was a real push from the general public for change, and that change came about through the likes of Kickstarter and Indiegogo.

Related: Disrupt This: How Entrepreneur is Walking the Walk When It Comes to Innovation

Are you targeting a pain point?

The concept behind market disruption is that you are doing something in an industry better than the existing big players can. In fact, that industry pain point solution you've created has become a brand new business in itself.

Look again at Uber, to see how this works. The main pain points it solved are that cabs are expensive and inconvenient. Uber addressed these points by allowing members of the general public to set their own prices, and allowing them to book whenever they wanted, from wherever they wanted.

Uber's service is exactly the same as taxis'. It’s a private service ferrying people from point A to point B. But Uber has done things differently, by using technology, and that’s why the company has succeeded. You have to discover those pain points in your own industry, then see if you can make a business out of solving them.

No guarantees in business

Do remember that there are no guarantees in business. Market disruption doesn’t have any blueprints that you can follow. You have no competitors to learn from because you will be the first of your kind. You'll be the one leading the way, which is why the world of disruption is so difficult to get into.

Market disruption has a huge capacity for failure. Make sure that you have an exit plan should your startup not stand out. You don’t want to risk your whole future on one idea that may or may not work.


Now that you know what you have to do to disrupt a market, it’s time to take action. Inspect your chosen market and see whether you have the capacity to change the status quo.

Related: Investors Are Poised to Disrupt the Tech-Averse Insurance Industry

Which market do you want to disrupt?

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