Can’t Package Your Beer? How to Make Sales Without Distribution

As canning has increased to help keep breweries afloat after the loss of across the bar taproom sales, many brewery business models have had to change.

Yet, many can’t alter plans to packaging products and still have to rely solely on sales of pints, growlers, and sometimes crowlers.

A small brewery reached out to Brewer for advice for such an instance, where the brewery doesn’t sell packaged products and doesn’t distribute​, what can they do to survive. As we do here at Brewer, we don’t share our thoughts, we share other brewery owners and business decision-makers’ thoughts. We reached out to breweries to get their insights.

Urban Artifact said its strategy for on-premise is to weather the storm, keep inventories low through the winter, and after the washout and (hopeful) re-re-opening in the spring, prepare to pounce on keg sales for the summer.

“The getting through the winter part is the tricky bit,” admitted Bret Kollmann Baker, the Cincinnati brewery’s Director of Brewing Operation. “Honestly, if you can’t package, I would do everything I could to hibernate until Spring.

“Call your bank, call your debtors, call your investors. Just shut it down. This option will be better in the medium to long term versus operating at a loss all winter. I do not feel optimistic about this winter.”

Baker balked at the thought of looking for a way to package for any brewery that isn’t already.

“Depending on where your brewery is located, you could be in a whole heap of trouble,” he said.

​Ecliptic Packaging Manager Grant Smith said to look into delivery options​ (with online POS or even old-school, taking phone calls)​ and work on your ​brewery’s ​social media presence.

​”​Our taproom has had a fair amount of success by maximizing our outdoor seating capacity and totally taking over our parking lot​,” he added.

Winter could alter those ideas as well, some breweries shared how they plan to fight winter.

​Craig Nargi​ of ​Stable Craft suggested to encourage consumers to support now with promises of future discounts.​

​The ​owner of the Virginia brewery said to look at offering discounts after the pandemic with the purchase of a new growler now. Just have a consumer keep their receipt to use as proof of purchase.

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