Press Clips: Life as a Rookie Beer Rep; San Francisco Brewers Short on Space

Union Beer Distibutors.preview“A Day in the Life of a Rookie Beer Rep”

Brooklyn Magazine took the media spotlight off brewers and bartenders last week and placed it squarely on the tie that binds them: beer reps.

More specifically, reporter Meredith Heil wrote about what it’s like to live — as the headline indicates — “a day in the life” of Krista Kilberg, a former banker turned beer rep for Union Beer Distributors in New York City.

Having just started “several weeks ago,” Kilberg’s territory already includes 132 different bars, according to the article.

“Knowing where all my accounts are was the hardest part, something that I’m definitely still catching up onÔǪ I made a little mapÔǪ just for myself, so I can keep track. I don’t think most people do that.”

Kilburg also offers some insight on the importance of being personable on the job. Though unlike rock star brewers and bartenders, she’s, for the most part, operating behind the scenes.

“Face-to-face selling actually makes a huge difference in this business. Unless you’re face-to-face, bars are unlikely to pick it up from you — they’re busy, too, and you need their full attention to fully tell them about the beer. The goal is to introduce people to good beer, so you have to ask the right questions: ‘How’s this moving for you? What are going for with this draft list? Where do you want it to be? Where do you see it going?’ You have to really know what you’re talking about.”

San Francisco Craft is “Big Business”

The “number one” hurdle facing craft brewers in San Francisco doesn’t come from oppressive legislation, but rather the rising cost of rent “in a city woefully short on industrially-zoned space,” according to a recent report by SF Gate.

Particularly, the problem arises when small companies outgrow their facility space.

The great challenge for San Francisco is keeping smaller manufacturers here when they start looking for bigger space,” Katie Sofis, executive director of SFMade, a non-profit organization dedicated to building a vibrant manufacturing sector in the city, told the site. “I’m spending 50 percent of my time at City Hall complaining about lack of space.”

To alleviate the problem, the city has announced a program to “increase the amount of space available for production, distribution and repair at vacant or underused sites,” the article noted.

Kräftig Continues Double Digit Sales Growth

After three years in business, Kr├ñftig, a craft brand founded by William K. Busch, is “approaching” 2 percent market share in St. Louis, according to the St. Louis Dispatch, and is on track to grow sales 10 percent in 2014.

Now, Busch, a descendent of Adolphus Busch, the co-founder of beer giant Anheuser-Busch, is looking to grow. Busch is searching for between 30 and 40 acres of land in the St. Louis region to build a brewery of its own; currently, the three-year-old company contracts its production out to a facility in Wisconsin.

Expansion could still be a ways away, however. Though the company is enjoying double-digit sales growth, it would still need to quadruple sales before it could feasibly proceed with building its own brewery in St. Louis.

Heather Sanborn, Co-Owner, Rising Tide Brewery

Heather Sanborn, Co-Owner, Rising Tide Brewery

“The magic number is 50,000 barrels,” he told the outlet. “Sales will really dictate when we build a brewery.”

Currently, the brewery is on pace to produce 12,000 barrels in 2014.

Rising Tide Named Portland’s Small Business of the Year

Rising Tide Brewing was named Portland, Maine’s Small Business of the Year on Monday. It’s a recognition given by the Portland Development Corp. and the city itself. In light of the award, the Portland Press Herald caught up with co-founder Heather Sanborn, who also recently joined the board of directors of the Maine Small Business Development Center, to talk business.

Sanborn touched on a number of topics in the Q&A, most notably, how her role with the company has evolved over time and what’s on the horizon for Rising Tide:

“The thing I enjoy doing the most is working on financial projects — how we can finance the next tank and making sure everyone gets paid and working on hiring plans. We’re a team of 11 right now and we hired our first full-time employee in 2012. So there’s an HR role and CFO role that falls to me as well.

We have seven 30-barrel fermenters and this winter we’ll be adding our first 60-barrel fermenter that will allow us to continue to increase the amount of beer we make, particularly for our summer brew, Maine Island Trail Ale.”