Wellington Brewery: Growth Decision in a Crowded Beer Market
(9 pages of text)
In late June 2019, the president of Wellington Brewery, a medium-size craft brewery located in Guelph, Ontario, Canada, wanted to determine the best growth strategy for his company. He also hoped to recover recent expenses incurred for a major expansion of the company's operations. Although the business's growth across the province was the main objective, he also needed to consider various potential options and other factors. Wellington Brewery faced the challenges of an unpredictable and oversaturated market. Ontario's craft brewery industry was characterized by unexpected growth, shifting consumer preferences, and intense competition for shelf space at limited retail outlets. The president urgently needed a plan for continuing Wellington Brewery’s expansion, and to ensure it remained relevant and financially strong during challenging times.
This case is suitable primarily for undergraduate-level courses on strategic management. The case can also be used at the graduate level (e.g., in an MBA strategy course), following a similar approach. More time can be devoted to each question in longer graduate classes. In an upper-year strategic management course, the case can be used to reinforce key strategic management concepts and apply them to different contexts. The case can be used after students have learned or reviewed the first two stages of the strategic management planning process—environmental scan and strategic formulation. After working through the case and assignment questions, students will be able to
- provide information necessary to complete the first two steps of the strategic management planning process—environmental scan and strategy formulation;
- apply the following key strategic management frameworks to the craft brewery industry: political, economic, social, technological, environmental, and legal (PESTEL); Porter’s Five Forces; strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT); suitability, feasibility, and acceptability (SFA); and responsible, accountable, consulted, and informed (RACI) stakeholders’ analysis;
- identify strategic alternatives and provide an actionable recommendation; and
- discuss the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on strategic decisions.
Canada, Small, 2019
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