There's a lot to consider when you are a micro-brewery,
whether you are just starting out or whether you have an
established operation. We are living in a very competitive
environment these days and just making great beer is often not
enough. True success has many facets to it and will be explored
over future blog posts.
One of the keys to creating a successful brewing operation is to
focus on a distribution strategy that defines you as a brewer and
also allows you to maximize your sales efforts. Building a better
mousetrap does not mean consumers will beat a path to your door.
Assuming you are
making great, consistent beer and have excellent branding, you
still need to consider how you'll distribute your beer.
Beer Distribution Channels
Where will you be selling your product? There are numerous ways
into the beer market and you need to be aware of the requirements
for each. Below are the 3 most common beer distribution
80% of all beer is purchased at the retail level. However, going
the retail route requires a lot of initial effort.
In many cases, you have to apply for a listing with the
retailer. This could be time-consuming and may take as long as nine
months to get approval. Once you have approval, now the hard work
You should design your sales strategy to focus on the locations
that are geographically important to your brewery. You need to
ensure good placement in each store, which means hiring a
sales force that understands the nuances of retail. Sales calls
need to be made and a regular schedule should be kept to create and
nuture relationships with retailers.
Selling to bars and restaurants seems like the easiest access to
the consumer, but again, be prepared to face many hurdles. As with
retail, a dedicated sales team is vital. It's crucial to equip
your team with the knowledge necessary to earn the respect of both
customer and consumer. This includes product knowledge, draught
system knowledge, proper pouring and serving techniques, etc. This
channel can be the most competitive, with many small brewers all
vying for the same space in 'craft'-centric bars and
Selling beer to consumers from your brewery may be the most
profitable, but bear in mind what kind of environment you will need
to create. Do you have a storefront? Is a tasting bar part of your
experience? Will you sell draught and packaged beer to consumers?
Keep in mind that only 9% of beer nationally is draught.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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