As Colorado-headquartered Avery Brewing prepares to celebrate its 25th anniversary next month, internally the company has restructured its sales team and added several new departments.
Speaking to Brewbound, Avery national sales and marketing director Brian “BK” Krueger said “less than 10 percent” of the company’s sales and marketing workforce was impacted, and that net job loss totaled two field sales positions. He added that impacted employees were offered severance packages.
“Those people who were in street-level jobs and weren’t able to move into area manager or regional jobs were the ones that were restructured,” he said. “It is absolutely the last step in making decisions … but we realize we may be shorting ourselves in other areas and other opportunities if we continue on with this model of sales staffing and structure that did work four or five years ago that just isn’t effective in the modern craft environment.”
As part of the restructuring, the company has moved from five field sales managers to four regional managers. In doing so, the company increased the experience level of its sales team while also adding several new departments at its Boulder headquarters, Krueger said.
In total, Avery added three new departments, including one focused on national accounts, another tasked with managing supply chain, and third that will examine the company’s sales analytics and systems. Krueger added that the company is not reducing its budgeted investment in employees.
“We’re just refocusing on things that we feel that we have bigger opportunities on,” he said noting that Avery’s previous structure relied on “street-level” employees who were “spread pretty thin across the country.”
The moves, Krueger said, will make Avery a “more healthy organization” with benefits that will payoff long-term.
Avery is currently looking to fill three of its four newly created regional manager positions in the “West,” “South” and “Midwest and Northeast.”
According to listings posted on LinkedIn last Friday, the West regional manager will cover California — with a Southern California focus — as well as Nevada, Arizona, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Alaska, and Hawaii.
In the South, meanwhile, the regional manager will oversee sales efforts in Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina and Tennessee.
The Midwest and Northeast territories include areas of the U.S. that “east of Missouri and north of Kentucky.”
Meanwhile, Avery promoted Ryan Freismuth to the regional sales manager role in Colorado, where he will also oversee sales in North and South Dakota, Nebraska, Missouri and Kansas.
Avery announced the restructuring, which Krueger began planning last year, to employees last Thursday. The company also informed wholesalers on Friday, Krueger added.
The restructuring comes about five months after former chief operating officer Dustin LeMoine departed the company and after cutbacks that resulted in the termination of six production employees in April.
Avery marketing manager Joe Osborne said the changes are “just business” and “not an indicator of any bad place that we’re in.”
“It’s this unfortunate thing of business that sometimes you’ve got to cut ties with awesome people,” he said.
Mahou San Miguel, which acquired a 30 percent stake in the brewery last November, did not force the changes, Krueger said. He also said the company has no plans to merge sales forces with Michigan-based Founders Brewing Company, which also sold a 30 percent stake to Mahou in December 2014.
“These decisions were made just for Avery, as far as how we need to refocus into the core markets and the opportunities that we had at hand,” he said.
Despite the changes, Avery is not pulling out of any markets or canceling agreements with any distributors, Krueger said.
Last year, sales of Avery beer increased 2 percent, to more than 63,250 barrels, according to data from the Brewers Association. Krueger said Avery is “tracking really well” in its core markets this year but is “fighting the same fights that everyone else is” farther away from Colorado. He declined to share barrelage forecasts for this year, however.
The company’s flagship witbier, White Rascal, is “bucking a lot of the trends that you’re seeing out there in the craft beer industry,” Krueger added.