For the second year in a row, Colorado’s Odell Brewing Company topped Tamarron Consulting’s annual Craft Brewer Performance Survey.
With an average performance score of 4.19 (out of 5), Odell led a group that featured seven of the country’s leading craft breweries, including Deschutes Brewery, Dogfish Head, Great Lakes Brewing, Stone Brewing, Green Flash Brewing and Summit Brewing.
Rounding out the top three-rated craft breweries were Deschutes and Great Lakes, which received scores of 3.81 and 3.65, respectively. Four of the six craft breweries included in last year’s inaugural survey also reported higher scores than in 2014.
Best recognized for its annual Malt Beverage Supplier Performance Survey, which asks hundreds of U.S. beer distributors for feedback on the performance and perceptions of domestic and import beer brands, Tamarron’s 2015 craft survey asked wholesalers to rate breweries on their performance in areas like customer service, management, leadership, sales execution and annual planning.
According to Tamarron, the Craft Brewer Survey “provides the brewers with an understanding of how their distributor partners rate their execution against craft brewer roles and responsibilities, identifying opportunities to improve their performance and relationships with distributors.”
A total of 278 distributors responded to the 2015 survey, up from 219 a year ago.
When asked how well craft brewers and distributors are currently working together, an overwhelming majority of respondents – 90 percent – replied with ‘”good,” “very good” or “excellent” scores.
53 percent of the wholesalers surveyed also believe that relationships between suppliers – craft brewers, domestic brewers and importers — and distributors will improve over the next five years. Only 27 percent of distributors polled in Tamarron’s Supplier Performance Survey last spring felt the same.
New to this year’s survey, Tamarron also asked distributor respondents to identify potential shifts in craft brewer and distributor responsibilities by 2020, including analytics & insights on local consumer, shopper and market sales data; in-account consumer and shopper engagement; account-level buyer and staff education; and the localization of brand messaging, sales programming and account targeting. While most distributors feel these responsibilities will continue to be “shared” amongst wholesalers and craft brewers, a majority of respondents felt craft brewers will continue to be most responsible for the brand messaging while distributors will bear the burden of account targeting and localized sales programs.
The survey, which gives participating industry stakeholders insight into the strengths and weaknesses of a partnership and enables craft brewers to identify opportunities and benchmark their performance against competitors, found that craft breweries largely excel in the areas of packaging, customer service and field sales planning.
Once again, however, there are opportunities for improvement in the areas of national account management and field sales execution. Specific opportunities included c-store effectiveness, ad features, category management, large format chains and securing placements, features and promotions in on-premise chains.