How stupid can you get!?!
Question to myself. Almost a rhetorical one. And the answer is ... pretty stupid sometimes. What I am talking about? The way in which we position iStill, in what markets we are successful, and where we lag behind and what causes that.
With a global market share of somewhat above 18%, we are the world's leading manufacturer of distillation equipment. Great! Job well done, right? Wrong!
Analysis of our market shares and penetration rates differ per country. Makes sense. No problem. Some countries are ahead of the curve. And some have - given our effort - adopted the disrupting new technology iStill offers faster than others.
So what's wrong, or better: what's skewed? Not what countries we are successful in, but what market segments. We do amazingly well among early adopters. In fact, a case can be made that we OWN that market segment. But what about the other market segments, how do we perform there? If we distinguish between early adopters, early majority, late majority, and laggers, it is fair to say that it's the first two groups that love what we do. Late majority and laggers? Not so much ...
On a superficial level, that makes perfect sense. It's the "early's" that adopt new technology, well, earlier. And it is the "lates & laggers" that, eh, lag behind in the adoption of new technology? Yeah, makes sense, but let's dive in deeper.
What are the stills of choice for the early and late majorities? As a general rule they choose plated stills. The smaller and medium craft distillers that belong to the early and late majority segments focus on batch
plated stills, the bigger boys and girls use continuous
The still of choice for the so-called "laggers", people that frown upon innovations, that are distrustful towards new technology? Well, the potstill of course. And what do you think they see, when they get referred to our current website? "That doesn't look like a potstill to me! You can TELL me it's the best freakin' potstill in the world, and that it does loads of other things for me, but I don't care, since it doesn't look like a potstill at all!" The fear of something new clouds a rational assessment of the actual benefits.
What is the still of choice for early adopters? What the market calls "hybrid stills". Stills that can perform multiple jobs, like make gin and whiskey, or rum and vodka. What's the current line-up of iStills in a nutshell, looking at it from the outside in, instead of inside-out? The mother (or better: smart and sexy daughter) of all hybrid stills.
Does it start to make sense why we are so successful with early adopters and why we appeal to the earliest part of the early majority? It does, doesn't it? And why we are less successful with the late majority? You know the answer and now so do I. How stupid I can get? Pretty darn stupid, expecting to sell hybrid stills to plate polishers and pot heads (pun intended)!
I confidently state that iStill makes the best stills in the world. In terms of ease of use, control, spirit quality, build quality, bang for your buck, efficiency, versatility, non-toxicity, repeatability, and more, there is nothing that even comes close. But we have been a bunch of (unintentionally) arrogant bastards, basically telling a big portion of the industry that they better listen to us, where we should have done a better job at listening to them.
So, let's take care of some business. Do you want a hybrid still? We have one for you. All sizes, from 100 to 5000 liter. The best in the world? You better believe it is.
Now, let's envision another kind of customer, one that learned the trade on a potstill and then upgraded to a plated still. Took him a few years to master it, but now that these growing pains have subsided, he is all okay with it. He wants a new still. Business is booming. He does not want a hybrid still. No more growing pains, please! He doesn't want a potstill either. Been there, done that. He knows exactly what he wants: another plated still.
Does iStill need to be more catholic than the Pope? More right than your ex? I don't think so. What we need to do, is give the customer what he wants. A plated still? Fine, yeah, we have one. Not just any plated still, but (and that is a prerequisite) the best plated still in the world. Imagine that: a plated column combined with the super-efficient iStill boiler, and our amazing management and control systems.
Can you picture it? A plated column-still managed via our robot and cuts selector? Air pressure controlled. Reflux Capacitor for a 25% column performance boost. ABV-Control? Sure. Automated programs for Bourbon and brandy and rum? You've got it. Cooling Management? It makes so much more sense to choose our far-superior Liquid Management technology to manage plated stills, because now you can turn plates on or off via the robot instead of having to do so manually!
We needed to pull our heads out of our asses. And analyzing our successes in some segments, and failures to penetrate others deep enough, helped us do just that. You select the sort of still you want, we'll deliver you the ultimate version of that still. Are you into a hybrid still? Please check out our current models! Are you shopping for a new plated still that helps boost production while lowering your energy bill? Boy, have we got the plated iStill for you! Are you into continuous distilling? If "continuous still" is the answer to your questions, rest assured that "Continuous iStill" is the best proposition, the best response the industry has to offer.
"iStill Pedantic" is no more (well, as long as you don't count these posts of mine). Instead of us building a hybrid still and convincing everybody that this is the solution to all distilling problems, we trust you to decide what you want and need. Our role? Delivering according to your wishes and adding some much needed iStill Magic to the current, existing, more traditional still-segments.
Early and late majority iStill customers? Welcome to the show! You'll love the amazing plated iStills we'll introduce shortly. Dear laggers, glad you finally found us. Please know we are planning an iStill potstill, that will make you lick your fingers. iStill competitors? Enjoy your late majority and lagging customer base while it lasts, since THE LONG, DARK STONE-AGE OF DISTILLING HAS FINALLY LIFTED!