Cover Story Notebook: A Valuable Expense for Cigar City

In an ongoing series, Brewer will take a small note from interviews of some of the cover stories it has run and given a small tidbit that didn’t make the issue but is still worth diving into.

The backstory to how Cigar City and Oskar Blues teamed up to start CANarchy is well documented, and we did discuss the situation during our interview in November with Cigar City founder Joey Redner and COO Justin Clark for the January/February 2020 cover story piece in Brewer.

You can read more on that in the full story, but one part we didn’t get into in that was how it affected the Tampa, Florida’s brand expansion and opportunities it gave employees.

The combination of the brands — which now is up to seven brands stretching across the country — can be helpful ​for more than just distribution and manufacturing. It also helps in sales since instead of seven reps trying to schedule chances to talk with one off-premise manager, now it’s one person talking about seven brands and actually working to promote them all.

“At the beginning, the Oskar Blues and Cigar City sales staffs got together and we made the decision collectively asking them, well, what do you guys want to do?” Clark recalls. “It would be silly for us to walk into an account. Two minutes later, you guys coming up and doing the same thing.

“We can hit a lot more accounts if we are representing everyone in. So that decision was kind of started. And it’s paid off because we have a lot more resources than we would have ever had by having a CANarchy sales force instead of just a Cigar City sales force.”

Redner called it a ‘one-call appointment.’

“It’s a layer that most consumers don’t think about,” he said. “Also, from an ordering standpoint, there’s one portal they can order Cigar City, Oskar and they can order any of the other available brands.

“That stuff the consumer doesn’t see. But it has a lot of value on the back end, especially to a distributor, that they have one point of contact and they then can plug in holes of what they may need for their clients.”

Of course, the backlash to a brewery working with another brewery can sometimes look like a “sell-out” situation and Clark said when the announcement was made, the Cigar City team prepared for the worst.

“We were more prepared for it to be worse than it was and people were still they’re happy that they can find the beer and that the beer is still if anything in the beer’s changes has changed for the better,” he said. “We didn’t have as much of an issue with that. And the fact that it’s other craft brewers coming together to do it, they’re kind of admired and like, oh man, that’s a creative way to compete out there with these large multinational breweries.”

Clark said the quality of hires that CANarchy has now is tremendous.

“We’ve got an amazing chain team that Cigar City alone wouldn’t have been able to get some of these salaries that you need that you’re paying for the experience,” he said.

Redner pointed out that paying employees in functions like that are investments, just like buying a tank or ingredients for a beer.

“You gotta have them and pay for them before you actually have the revenue,” he said. “But you have to buy the stainless and get it installed before it produces any income.

“Same with people. You got to [pay for them] and get them installed before any income is generated.”

Look for the January/February issue of Brewer in your mailbox soon

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.