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Thread: draft sales

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    East Syracuse, NY
    Posts
    300

    draft sales

    I'm looking for advice on increasing my lagging draft sales. Any ideas on how to get the attention of bars/restaurants

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    Polson, Montana, USA
    Posts
    1,095
    Well, remember the perspective of the bar/restaurant owner: profit-margin (just like all the rest of us)! Maybe offer the first keg or two at a reduced price to build a following. Also, pints nights work well for us. If you're allowed to, maybe providing the draft equipment at cost. Just a few ideas...
    Luck to ya'

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Mukilteo, WA
    Posts
    304

    Like he said..........

    Glacierbrewing has some good input there........

    A few things that work for us in Washington:

    1.) Brewer's Nights (Pint Nights). We will have a "night" at a strategic Alehouse and give away pint glasses, shirts, hats, etc. The Alehouse pays cost for tehse items, as we can't give them away for free in Washington State. We talk the beer with their customers and make ourselves approachable. Good communication skills required............also, hiring a couple fo freelance modles doesn't hurt either, as one collegue of mine used to do for Brewer's Nights up here.

    2.) Obscure Beer Styles. Create a beer or brew a style that is not readily available in your area. Porters and IPAs are becoming worn carpet, but a good Barley Wine brings the beer afficionados. Scottish / Scotch Ale? Hefe-Weizen? Choose a style that makes you stand out...........avoid the local paradigms.

    3.) Radio Ads. Yes.......they do work......even for Breweries that are distibuting only outside and don't have a retail location of their own. Downside........expensive.

    4.) Moderate Pricing. Like Glacier said, retailers are cost driven. Look at where your local competition is proce posted at and be a couple of dollars below them if you can. However, barring that, you need to convince the accounts why your product is better than the rest.

    5.) Dedicated Sales Rep. Hire a sales representative to go out with product literature and samples to drum up sales. In our Brewery, this function is combined as a sales / delivery specialist. Delivery folks know who's who out in the accounts.

    6.) Packaging. What types of containment / cooperage are you using? Have you considered 1/6 Bbls, that get you into smaller wine / martini bars?

    7.) Contract Brewing. When faced with excess capacity, there is always contract brewing. Find a local small chain of restaurant / bars and approach them with making a house beer. Make a GOOD house beer for them, and they'll tell cutomers who is brewing it for them............free advertising. The beer / wine / ligour industry is pretty incestuous, and staff often hang out at each others' places. They talk, and your name gets into places you never thought it would be.


    Anyway, a few ideas. There aught to be a nugget of gold in all that dirt somewhere..................

    Good luck!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Gorham, Maine
    Posts
    66

    Increasing Draft Sales

    I agree with what Brian said except for pricing. Do not I repeat Do Not discoount your product. If you are to maintain your preception of Craft Brewed beer discounting once opens the flood gates on discounting in the future. It tells your distributor salesforce that you are willing to sell for less. And it tells the account that you sell for less. We are not Walmart and our margins are slim. The distributors continue to make their 25-30% even if we give product away. There are a few A accounts that deserve a kick once every couple of years but starting out discounting sets the standard.

    We have a part time sales rep who is now full time. He was paid $200 /wk plus $5 per new account and $5 for each keg sold over last year. -$5 for lost accounts plus mileage. This worked well for 5 years. 20% growth each year. Each year gets better as the accounts see the rep every couple of weeks. Just like baitin' traps up here in Maine. The market share for Maine micros is only 3.5-4% so it is a very tough beer market.

    Good old shaking hands and kissing babies works the best. Be visable. I don't know how he does it but look at Sam Caligone with Dogfish Head. That guy is absolutley everywhere and his sales show it. He produces very unique beers without a massive advertising campaign. It's a matter of how much you want to be out there. Hats off to him!

    Good luck
    Kai Adams
    Sebago Brewing Company
    www.sebagobrewing.com

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Mukilteo, WA
    Posts
    304

    Good Observation, Kaiabrew......

    I must have muddied the waters on my expanation of price posting.............Kaiabrew is dead on. Do try to go toe to toe price wise with "The Bigs".

    The intent of what I stated was "look at where your local competition is price posted........".
    Here in Washington, the upper end posted by local competing Microbreweries is $105 per 1/2 Bbl for a "reguler" beer (5% - 6% alc). We posted our 1/2 bbls in this class at $103. We also self distribute, and prefer to keep that $26 per 1/2 Bbl to ourselves instead of giving it away to a Distributer, who really only sees us as just another brand in their catalogue. Noone (that I've talked to) up here in Washington State is overly happy with their Distributers.
    Hopefully, I didn't give the impression you needed to undercut AB, Millers, Coors, etc. Heck, you'ld be taking a bath at that posting and go broke shortly thereafter.

    We have done exactly what Kaiabrew outlines for a sales rep and that plan is golden. We had great results as well.

    Regards,

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Santa Rosa CA USA
    Posts
    962
    I only sell draft.
    May I suggest cleaning the draft lines more frequently. In my deliveries I often see draft lines that are less than ideal and customers and staff don't know why they don't like the beer. Most importantly, even before any bad tastes are perceptable, customers will simply not be so wowed to re-order your beer. The beer will taste OK, but sales will slow down. If your beer tastes fresher than another, your sales will improve.
    As for giving discounts or freebies, at least in California this is grossly illegal and nevertheless, this practice proves that the bar owner has no loyalty (except to money) and the next salesman will have no problem bumping your beer with the same tactics, after you've lost money to get started. Basically a no-win game that's not worth starting.

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