Best Practices in Connecting with Vendors

It may seem sometimes that vendors just don’t want to take your brewery’s money. At least that’s how Seventh Son Brewing felt when dealing with a fruit puree vendor once.

“I gave up reaching out to after the second or third try when I couldn’t get past the initial email reply,” said owner Collin Castore and Brewmaster Colin Vent in an email. “Most everyone else is easy to deal with though.

“Hop and malt vendors are always thirsty for new brewery customers.”

Other brewers are such a wonderful resource of information, noted Urban Artifact’s Bret Kollmann Baker.

“That and Google,” he said. “So many brewers don’t even take the time to Google first.”

The Cincinnati brewery’s Chief of Brewing Operations acknowledged that sometimes if you are hitting a stone wall with a vendor to work on posturing.

“If you pretend you’re a bigger client than maybe you actually are at the time, this tends to open up some doors,” Baker admitted. “This is actually how we were able to sign a contract with Microstar for keg leasing before we even opened.

“We have grown into — what I see — as a good account for them now, but that first year they were a bit… disappointed in our sales projections. Thankfully, it worked out wonderfully, and we love working with Microstar.”

​The Seventh Son team added that pretty much everyone is online, though sometimes a vendor is just not easy to find online, but they’re pretty much all there these days. They did add that local ingredient vendors can be tricky to track down sometimes.

“It took a while to source Ohio-grown berries for our sour program,” they said.

And if it gets too difficult?

“They lose my business, simple as that,” they said. “If it’s something that only one company can supply, and I absolutely need it, I just call and email until I get what I need.

“At a certain point you have to not care if you’re bothering someone, I’ve got work to do.”

Both breweries said transparency on pricing is needed.

“Oftentimes I talk with other brewers and find out we are either getting a hell of a deal or getting ripped off compared to their pricing (and relative volumes),” Baker said.

Castore​ and Vent ​​added that​ costs​ for​ both ​the ​product and shipping would be helpful. They said there was a frozen fruit company that charged $450 for a single skid —​ 10 gallons of puree — ​from New Jersey to Ohio.

​”​It’s always frustrating to go through a lengthy paperwork process only to find out unless you’re ordering 10,000 widgets shipping is going to be prohibitively high​.”

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.