How a Brewery’s Story Can Further Market Penetration


The proliferation of craft beer is rampant, yet room for growth still exists. That means a crucial key to the sales market is continuing to educate, connect and sell to beer buyers that are still being introduced to the basics of craft beer.

Brewer Magazine spoke with staff members of breweries from across the country on their efforts to continue to work with and further the goal of sales into new marketplaces.

Brewer: Where are the key places that a sales team member must go to help in furthering educating beer buyers that don’t cater much to craft beer yet?

Adam Lane, Director of Sales, MadTree Brewing: As a former Beer Category Manager/ Buyer for one of the largest grocery store companies in the country, I understand the mindset of corporate beer buyers in a way that not many others can. We at MadTree hire and train some of the best brewery representatives and sales managers in the industry. They have a diverse background ranging from former beer buyers, former wholesale partners, former sales reps for larger craft breweries, etc. The important thing that we focus on though is the relationship we build with the accounts that we work with and understanding their customer and their business so that we can be a true partner when making recommendations on how to grow their business with our products (and even other craft products) in a mutually beneficial way.

It is amazing the amount of retail stores, bars and restaurants that still have not discovered the power of true craft variety for driving their business forward. As an industry, craft beer has become more diverse in both production and consumption. Increasingly, the demographics of the craft beer consumer have changed as fast as the varieties and styles of beer that are offered. No longer can traditionally domestic premium beer focused bars, restaurants and retailers satisfy their customers with limited selections. More educated customers have also seen beyond the “faux craft” offerings that mimic true choice. Despite having incredibly deep market penetration in local markets, there are still hundreds of locations around that we must work with to educate buyers and consumers on quality craft beer offerings. You don’t have to travel far to find large chain restaurants, dive bars and small retailers that haven’t optimized their offerings to leverage growth opportunities with craft beer.

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Brewer: How do you cater your message between active craft establishments versus those that are not as well versed?

Jodi Peterson, Sales Manager, Third Street Brewhouse: For us, our message is all about the beer. We’re lucky to have a great family of craft beers that our consumers find to be easy drinking – it’s just great beer! And that resonates with people who don’t have a lot of craft beer knowledge, making it easy to talk about. Our brand is solid and speaks for itself.

David Sule, VP of Sales, Crazy Mountain Brewing: For me, I like to just get to know the people at any location the best that I can. From the super craft-centric locations to places that are just curious about maybe making some changes or adding craft selections for the first time; its about finding a style that connects.


Brewer: Are these places that you feel can be receptive to a craft beer sales team member?

Sule: Definitely! Change does not always happen as quickly as some people may want, but there has been a clear growth in the love and appreciation of craft beer and anybody that sells beer see’s that and is generally receptive to it.

Lane: Every one of these types of locations can both be receptive to and successful with craft beer. That is the beauty of having a diverse offering of styles, we can literally appeal to any customer no matter where they are along their craft consumption journey. For the accounts, we have shown that having choices customers seek out, an educated staff and good brewery partners can increase profits.


Brewer: What points of education are important to sharing when it comes to selling your brand to this type of buyer?

Sule: I think one of the best things about Crazy Mountain is people that make up Crazy Mountain. So I always try to educate people on us, the place we are from and the aspects of our life that influence the beers we make.

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