Undercapitalization of Craft Beer Sales Force

Reads 1169 • Replies 11 • Started Friday, January 6, 2017 6:27:12 AM CT

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574deadzone
beers 1420 º places 11 º 06:27 Fri 1/6/2017

So I was thinking, a few years ago, a lot of craft breweries were under capitalized in terms of not having enough equipment to brew enough beer to meet demand. Now that many have fixed that problem, it seems that the issue now is the sales force isn’t big enough to monitor what’s going on in the market, in terms of having a pulse on sales trends and monitoring quality control. Thoughts?

 
adamnowek
beers 5194 º places 118 º 12:18 Fri 1/6/2017

I’m really disappointed that this wasn’t about spelling.

 
fly
beers 1490 º places 273 º 12:51 Fri 1/6/2017

Originally posted by adamnowek
I’m really disappointed that this wasn’t about spelling.



ME TOO!

 
guzzler67
beers 1696 º places 91 º 14:45 Sat 1/7/2017

If I were a small craft brewer looking to keep an eye on the bottom line by not expanding the sales force, I would utilize brewers guilds/associations and the proliferation of websites like RateBeer as much as possible while not overlooking my core customer base or a focus group as some keys to monitoring whats going on in the market. Besides, many brewers do well at self promotion and can see what is going on while they are out and about. They may even be able to utilize volunteers (compensated with their product) or interns. Quality control is, of course, a huge area of concern but maybe not the best use of the sales force.

If I were a large craft brewer than I would be looking to expand my sales force in correlation with where I wanted to expand geographically. Bigger footprint, bigger sales force.

 
574deadzone
beers 1420 º places 11 º 07:23 Sun 1/8/2017

Originally posted by fly
Originally posted by adamnowek
I’m really disappointed that this wasn’t about spelling.



ME TOO!


I’m sorry guys, I meant SALES FORCE

 
574deadzone
beers 1420 º places 11 º 07:32 Sun 1/8/2017

Originally posted by guzzler67
If I were a small craft brewer looking to keep an eye on the bottom line by not expanding the sales force, I would utilize brewers guilds/associations and the proliferation of websites like RateBeer as much as possible while not overlooking my core customer base or a focus group as some keys to monitoring whats going on in the market. Besides, many brewers do well at self promotion and can see what is going on while they are out and about. They may even be able to utilize volunteers (compensated with their product) or interns. Quality control is, of course, a huge area of concern but maybe not the best use of the sales force.

If I were a large craft brewer than I would be looking to expand my sales force in correlation with where I wanted to expand geographically. Bigger footprint, bigger sales force.


My thing is, someone has to be out there watching dates. Retailers can’t do it, most of the time they don’t know how. Distributors should be doing it, but when you have a catalog of multiple craft beer brands, it’s not always easy. Brewery reps are stretched thin in most cases, so they can’t be hunting through every retailer and restaurant/bar to make sure their beer isn’t rotting.

I just don’t think as a brewery, you can be content with just selling beer and hoping for the best. Sales projections have to be so difficult. Even brands they may seemingly chug a long fairly consistently could have ups and downs.

I like your idea about relying on consumers, because ultimately, who better to call out retailers/distributors for mishandling beer, as it’s the consumer who gets screwed when old beer sits on the shelves. But if I’m a brewer, I’d want to somehow certify these customers, so they know what they’re seeing on the shelves. If I have IPA snobs telling me that my IPA, which I deem good for 120 days, is no longer fresh at 3 weeks old or whatever, that becomes a problem.

You also may need to give people a stipend to drive around. My "market" is 35 miles wide and I’m at the far east end of it, so if a brewery wanted to compensate me for my time and effort (say with free beer), I’d be cool with that. But then legal issues could get involved if they did this improperly.

But yeah, I would love to help breweries out like that, and I will alert them to issues if I see them in my small corner of the market. I do the bulk of my beer shopping at one location, though I check dates at other stores that I frequent just to see how things are moving. I’m in the extreme minority on this behavior, mainly because I used to work at a craft beer store and I educated myself on date checking. I know that most people aren’t this insane haha.

 
guzzler67
beers 1696 º places 91 º 08:46 Sun 1/8/2017

I guess I missed a good point in the OP. An informed sales force could be valuable getting rid of close dated or outdated products. Which leads to one of my biggest pet peeves: unrecognizable expiration or "born on" dates. There is an app that will help, but that is really inconvenient when shopping. A least with a noticeable date we can make an informed decision, whether or not the shop owner/distributor/sales rep overlooks it.

 
574deadzone
beers 1420 º places 11 º 20:27 Sun 1/8/2017

Originally posted by guzzler67
I guess I missed a good point in the OP. An informed sales force could be valuable getting rid of close dated or outdated products. Which leads to one of my biggest pet peeves: unrecognizable expiration or "born on" dates. There is an app that will help, but that is really inconvenient when shopping. A least with a noticeable date we can make an informed decision, whether or not the shop owner/distributor/sales rep overlooks it.


There are still lots of breweries that don’t even stamp a date code on their products. Seems like it’s mostly smaller places, but still, if you’re sending beer out, you should have some kind of code. You can’t just assume you’ll sell out of everything before it goes bad, because you won’t.

Distributors, on the other hand, love sending in beer that has no dates, because then no one knows it’s old.

 
Marduk
beers 12395 º places 471 º 00:42 Mon 1/9/2017

In rest of the world, best before, production date or expire date is pretty much mandatory when handling food products.

 
574deadzone
beers 1420 º places 11 º 05:30 Tue 1/10/2017

Originally posted by Marduk
In rest of the world, best before, production date or expire date is pretty much mandatory when handling food products.


The US is a young country...it may take us a while to figure out basic things such as this...

 
legion242
beers 2345 º places 122 º 06:38 Tue 1/10/2017

I once worked for a semi-national brewery that was an offshoot of a much larger company. Though I was paid nicely, the amount of time I was required to be out of my own market, on "company" business was insane. I once spent 3 days in the company’s home state for an "orientation " that had NOTHING to do with the products that I sold. And I had to wear a suit everyday that I was there. 3 days out of my market and by estimates, it cost the company around $2500 for me to be there, with airfare, great hotel, meals, etc.
common sense is not always rampant in this business.