Saturday, March 11, 2006

Celiac Entrepreneurs

Those of you who know me know that I suffer from Celiac disease. What is Celiac? It means I can’t eat gluten which is present in wheat and barley and other grains. You might ask why this is a problem. To start, if you take a look at the ingredients found in most things you eat, you’ll soon see why. Being Celiac means different challenges over time and these challenges can represent opportunity for entrepreneurs.

In elementary school I was the guy with peanut butter on rice cakes. Back then they weren’t cool; kids thought I was eating Styrofoam.

In college, besides the normally terrible cafeteria food, I was not able to drink beer. Being in a fraternity and unable to drink beer was not easy. I was stuck with hard liquor. Not a bad alternative, but drinking games were definitely out of the question. Chugging a strong Bacardi and Coke doesn’t make too much sense.

Now my challenges are business meetings- what foods are they going to serve? Usually it’s a platter of sandwiches or pizza, both aren’t too satisfying. I either have to remove the bread from the sandwich or scrape the cheese off the pizza. Recently with the South Beach diet popularity people ask, “Are you on South Beach?” Then I have to explain what Celiac is and its prevalence. I don’t really want to stand out as a freak, I’m usually just very hungry.

It looks like my college problems have been solved. Thanks to my Google News Alerts I received a link to an article the other day about a gluten-free beer company. The entrepreneur has secured funding to expand his operations. While this may sound very exciting for me, I’m not too excited. I’ve made it 29 years without drinking beer until the day before my wedding when I tried some of his beer. It tasted terrible. Apparently that’s everyone’s response to the first beer they have. I’ll stick with Bacardi and club soda or maybe I’ll drink enough of his beer to start liking it.

What impresses me most is his entrepreneurial drive to solve a problem for Celiacs.

It’s a great target market, with 1% of the U.S. population. The majority don’t even know they have it yet and find out later on in life- which means they have to give up beer. I predict they will crave his product and Bard’s Beer will be wildly successful.

Good luck Bard’s Tale Beer Company!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

They'll have to give up beer AND pizza. LOL!