Building a successful craft beer company is no longer just about making great beer and getting placement at the local bottle shop. When you are looking to build a viable business, strategically selecting your geographic markets and key retailers, working with buyers and distributors, and creating successful promotions easily match the importance of the brewing skills you bring to the table.
In a competitive environment — and the craft beer business certainly is one now — advanced retail planning is essential to build the success of a startup craft brand. And as more breweries begin to fight for shelf space, simply showing buyers how your beer will positively impact their bottom line is no longer enough. Retailers are looking not only for fact-based proof that your product will sell, but also promotional ideas that can increase their sales and create excitement.
Which is why Brewbound’s Craft Beer Session will offer a strategically-focused retail sales panel that will help craft brewers learn how to work with both distributors and buyers so that their beer will consistently make the jump from truck to shelf to shopping bag.
The panel, called ‘Ales For Sale: Craft Beer Retailing Strategies’, will feature industry veterans who have a proven track record of growing brands while increasing profit margins: First, Tom Fox, a nationally-recognized expert in category management, will offer advice and methods for emerging beer brands to improve their position and win the faith of retailers and distributors as they attempt to battle their way into consumer consciousness. Then John Bryant, a former executive with Deschutes, Odell and Oskar Blues will also contribute his personal success stories and share how he built teams of people that grew multiple craft breweries into nationally recognized brands. The pair will engage in a spirited question and answer session with the audience as sales strategies and experiences are taught and compared.
About the Brewbound Craft Beer Session:
The Brewbound Craft Beer Session is a half-day business conference addressing the topics that most directly impact the decisions craft brewers are faced with as they look to grow their brands. The event focuses on the business side of the craft, offering brewers a unique opportunity to learn and network from industry experts.
Fox, Partner with CM Profit Group, works with suppliers and distributors to increase their market share by incorporating Category Management competencies into their organizations and drive “win-win” relationships with their key account customers. He has consulted with craft beer companies on ways they can acquire and sell well in new accounts, and how those craft accounts can work with — or against — the “category captains” to improve their position within retail merchandising schemes.
Bryant has a long history of success in the craft brewing industry which began over 20 years ago at G. Heileman Brewing Company; Rainer Brewing and Blitz-Weinhard Brewing. Most recently as President of Oskar Blues Brewery in Longmont, Colorado, significant contributions were recognized with numerous international and domestic medals and Dale’s Pale Ale being awarded 2010 “Hot Brand of the Year” by Advertising Age. Bryant has also been Chief Operating Officer of the Odell Brewery in Fort Collins, and Vice President Sales and Marketing at Deschutes Brewery in Bend, Oregon. At Odell, Bryant worked on the development of 5 Barrel Pale Ale, which won a Gold Medal at GABF, and new Odell IPA, which took the gold at the World Beer Cup — the brewery’s first medals in nearly a decade. In his nine years at Deschutes, Bryant expanded the yearly gross sales portfolio from $4 million to $25 million and a nationally celebrated craft beer portfolio.