CBC 2018 Vendor Preview

hops

The tradeshow floor of any Craft Brewers Conference is massive. Maps aside, a brewery owner or brewer can get lost in the stainless steel, moving parts and swag. It’s a way to create a shopping list of sorts along with connecting with vendors from all over the U.S. and beyond.
For vendors it’s a chance to showcase new products, see clients they may only see rarely and introduce themselves to the many up and coming breweries that are looking to make the next big move in growth.
“You get exposure to an extremely wide spectrum of brewing opportunities over the course of a few days,” said Greg Gardetto, the Director of Sales & Marketing for W.M. Sprinkman Corporation. “You meet those from established breweries to those in the planning stages. All will have varying degrees of awareness of our products and services, so being able to meet face-to-face is the best way to fill in the blanks and see if we are a fit for each other.”
ProBrew spends a lot of time throughout the year reaching out to, and engaging with, breweries across the country, but CBC gives the brand that face-to-face contact with a massive group of people who can benefit from its services, noted Roxanne Gorham the company’s Marketing Coordinator.
“This allows us to really showcase the kind of company we are,” she said. “Not only are we changing the craft brewing industry by implementing our technologically advanced equipment into breweries across the nation, but we are also elevating the standards of this business with our customer-centric values geared towards the ultimate success of every client.
“A brewery’s success is our first priority, and we are constantly redesigning and customizing our equipment to exceed expectations. While you can’t always see that kind of moral fiber in an email, brewers and breweries can easily see it in person, giving them the reassurance that we are the best company to work with to reach their brewing and business goals.”
Having a booth at CBC with the majority of its sales staff present to meet with brewing partners is both beneficial to YCH HOPS and its customers pointed out Cait Schut, the Outreach and Communications Manager for YCH HOPS.
It’s also a chance for the sales staff to gain what Schut said is valuable feedback regarding brewing experiences and hop product needs that is then used in the company’s efforts toward continuous improvement.
“Our customers are also able to learn more about our products, how to use them as solutions in the brewhouse and utilize our staff as a hop resource,” she said.
Steve Lonneman, YCH HOPS Midwest Regional Sales Manager said that for him there is not much difference as far as connecting with the breweries. Instead of meeting at a brewery the meeting could end up at a seminar, event or at the booth.
“The big advantage here is that you have the opportunity to connect with customers from several states at CBC,” he said. “Relationships are built by spending time with the customer and getting to know them as an individual and the brewery. Also, it’s a great time to talk live on new products or news in the industry.”
Growth in the industry also means growth for the vendors, who have seen rapid change as well, making sure that they can make as much of an impact as possible during the trade show.
For instance, the ProBrew booth has evolved from a 20×10 space three years ago, to a 30×20 last year. Along with the upgraded space in 2017, they added a rotating overhead sign that hung directly over the booth to create an aerial visual that made a significant impact Gorham said.
This year, ProBrew is staying with the 30×20 booth while joining forces with a new trade show partner.
“Together we will implement our progressive design ideas, including an interactive set up with visual and informative appeal,” she said. “The ProBrew booth will be a unique collaborative of technology and entertainment that people won’t want to miss.”
Gardetto said Sprinkman made a number of improvements over the years to increase the number of people they can talk to and spend time with. This has included bringing additional members of the engineering team, making the booth more user-friendly for visitors and improving the videos and photos that Sprinkman uses as reference materials.
This year Gardetto said they will debut an entirely new booth that communicates their “Brewing Made Better” brand message and also allows for multiple, breakout discussions to take place.
In addition to the convention floor, Sprinkman also will hold a private event one of the nights, usually at a local customer’s brewery.
“[It’s] a chance to talk over a beer and even kick the tires on some of our brewing equipment,” he said.
YCH hopes to continue the conversation about its latest product, Cryo Hops, which is the concentrated lupulin of whole leaf hops containing resins and aromatic oils. YCH will focus on the education of how to leverage this product to really enhance the quality of a brewery’s beers. They will be talking about its newest product, Noble Hops, which is the debittered leaves or concentrated bract of whole leaf hops.
“It is a Northwest twist on traditional low-alpha, noble hops containing variety-specific aroma and flavor characteristics,” Schut said. “We’ve introduced Noble Hops to our product lineup, as we recognize the need for a high quality low-alpha hop solution and reliable noble hop substitute to produce popular beers such as Pilsners, Saisons, and sours.”
The YCH booth changes every year around new product launches, experimental hop releases or any updates on branding that will help them better connect with customers.
“We also make improvements to our booth each year based on customer feedback, whether it’s the beers we feature in the beer station, product samples or ample space to have conversations with growers, staff members and other brewers,” Lonneman said. “We always try to be consistent with our message of connecting the world’s finest brewers with family hop farms through YCH HOPS.”
Lonneman noted that the YCH marketing team typically begins planning a year in advance. The prep work for the sales staff starts a couple months prior to CBC.
“We start sending emails to existing and new customers to try and arrange short meetings to check in on contracts and any other follow up conversations that may help our customers,” he said.
ProBrew began gearing up for CBC 2018 in Nashville almost immediately after CBC Washington, Gorham said.
“We measured our results and the great response from our 2017 booth,” she said. “Then we asked ourselves what we did well, and what we can improve for 2018. Everything from promotional materials to the equipment we displayed was analyzed.
“We asked questions to our past, current, and potential customers to better understand their goals. We researched current and future industry trends, interests, and needs, and we re-evaluated our strategy, all while keeping the customer’s success as our focal point. We even developed a new piece of equipment that will save brewers space, time and energy at an affordable price.”
If any Sprinkman customer has a brewing project or situation to discuss, they will set up meetings involving others from the brewing team to get the information that is needed to develop, fine-tune or finalize a proposal, Gardetto said.
“We are equally ready to have a discussion with any breweries currently not on our radar that just stop by as they walk the aisles,” he noted. “One of the best aspects of the CBC though is that you also get to touch base with previous customers and hear how their business is going and what their next milestones are.”

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