3 Home Delivery Tips from Newburgh Brewing

Paul Halayko said a fortunate switch in Point of Sales early in 2020 really helped spark a quick turnaround in how Newburgh Brewing operated in the home delivery realm.

“We switched to Square from a different provider and that made it so incredibly easy to launch our online store and launch home delivery,” said the president and COO of the New York brewery. “When we got word that home delivery was going to be allowed, we decided to pivot 100% in that direction to the best we could, assuming the worst-case scenario that our distribution sales would go to almost zero. We decided to put all our time, energy, and effort into this idea of home delivery.

“So we were in operation and delivering beer on Wednesday of that week after the governor shut everybody down on Monday.”

Halayko shared his insights during the 2020 Sell More Beer Virtual Summit in November.

Newburgh distributes throughout most of New York State, and before the pandemic, it also went into New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island along with operating a full-service restaurant on the top floor of its building.

Halayko realized that the further away the brand was from home the fewer sales were. That helps determine a course of action.

“I think that’s just a function of what we’re seeing right here today, and that people want to support their local breweries,” he said. “So the further we were sending beer from home, the less, of course, we were local, and the fewer sales we were seeing.”

Here are some of the ways Halayko said that Newburgh put together its home delivery operation.

Make an Area

“We like a lot of people back in March. We kind of just licked our finger put it up to the wind and decided on a 25-mile radius, $20 minimum. And we’ve stuck with that.”

Set a Schedule

Newburgh delivers two days a week.

“You order through our online store, we aggregate all the orders on Sunday night after 9 p.m. for Monday deliveries, and then on Wednesday night after 9 p.m. for all orders that came in after that Sunday cutoff for Thursday deliveries. So I’ll do that at home at night. It’s not a lot of anything fancy to it.”

Halayko pointed out that MapQuest offers a free route-planning service where you can upload an Excel spreadsheet with addresses into it.

Paying Employees

Newburgh does ask employees to use their own vehicles, and they are reimbursed for gas along with paying a flat rate for deliveries.

“We usually start the drivers’ routes Mondays and Thursdays around 10 a.m. from the brewery,” Halayko said. “I try to limit our driving drivers time on the road to between 3-4 hours. So what ends up working out is they’re usually making — outside of tips — between $20/25 an hour based on what we paid them for the route. And then they get the tips on top of that plus gas money.

“So sometimes that works out great [for them] if there’s not a lot of deliveries, sometimes works out not so great if you have a ton of deliveries. And then we pool the tips amongst the drivers, and we split them evenly.”

The Do Nots

Nikki Cavanaugh of Rushing Duck shared also what the fellow Hudson Valley brewery learned not to do and that was to offer same-day home delivery. It was a nightmare, Cavanaugh said.

“We didn’t know what we were doing,” she said with a chuckle. “We were like, oh, same-day delivery is fine.

“It’s not. Do not try to do same-day delivery, it’s awful.”

Deliveries will go anywhere from 30-60 deliveries a week to only 10, she added. Rushing Duck offers home delivery on a 20-mile radius but does it nearly every day. Customers just have to place the order by the night before to be delivered to the next day now.

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