Showing Your Beer Buyers Empathy

When it comes to making sure that a beer buyer’s needs are taken care of during the pandemic, Ryan Bandy at Indeed Brewing said he doesn’t understand why any brewery would be treating their partners any different than before.

Empathy has always been a part of the Minneapolis brewery’s ethos.

“It was always about empathetic selling,” said the brewery’s Sales Manager. “That was always the point of selling beer is to be empathetic with your accounts.

“I feel like saying “Now is the time to have empathetic selling …” that’s like a kind of a cheesy, old business type of model where you’re like, well, now’s the time where you ask them about their family or something.

“Bullshit, it’s always been about empathy. It’s always been about customer service.”

There is a difference in what is asked though.

“For us, it’s always about how we can help [them]. What do you [they] need to be back on [their] feet,” Bandy said. That meant working with taking kegs back from accounts and credit them for new beer.

“We want fresh beer in the market,” Bandy said. “We think it’s really important that people’s first time back in the bar, I want their beer to be fresh and good.”

Indeed works with accounts and does things like making signs, helping clean up, and doing what makes a buyer’s day easier.

“The conversations are not, how can I sell you more? The conversations are, how do we help get your doors open,” he said. “It’s a very different type of conversation that we haven’t ever really had. But it’s a key part of the industry. For the industry to survive, the whole system has to survive.

“We can’t take from bars or liquor stores right now because we need them to survive. It’s symbiotic.”

It’s that reason why even with Indeed suffering early on and months in, the brewery still made sure to pay its bills.

“We’re going to need to buy more malt and hops, and so we can’t short them $50,000,” Bandy said. “It’s just been a weird kind of thing where you all have to do the best you can.

“It sounds utopian, but we kind of have to be in this together or else we’re screwed.”

Indeed was crediting 65% of all kegs back from distributors as well.

“We’ve dumped a lot of beer in our seven years at this company and this is definitely going to be the most probably we’ve ever dumped,” Bandy said. “For us, it’s not that crazy of a concept to dump a bunch of beer when you’re committed to quality.

“So whatever we got to do to get fresh beer out there.”

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