Discover How To Improve Sales in 2016

3 sheeps

Do you have sleepless nights thinking about sales? We figured as much.
It’s your breweries main focus outside of making great beer.
Here’s some tips you can use to kick your sales into high gear this year.

Some brewery owners or brewmasters are the face of their company to most of the general public. In most cases, those two jobs are intertwined.

When it comes to bar managers, wholesalers, distributors and other beer buyers, a brewery’s sales, or brand representative, is the face of the company in a certain market.

It’s a key job when it comes to promoting a brewery’s name, story, culture and, of course, beers.

Finding a person that jives with what a brewery is doing can be a difficult process. Take 3 Sheeps Brewing, headed by founder Grant Pauly. The Sheboygan, Wisconsin brewery, which is expanding to a two-building, 40,000-square-foot campus on 3.4 acres facility in 2016, is ramping up production from 28 barrels per day to 200 because of the growth caused by it’s inclusion of the Chicagoland markets along with entering Minnesota early in 2015.

In the fourth quarter of 2015, Pauly said that 3 Sheeps has increased sales by 64 percent over their sales from the same time period in 2014. He pointed to May 11, 2015 as the date that helped lead to this increase, stepping down as the sale rep for the Chicagoland area and handing the reins to Jacquie Armanetti.

“It made a world of difference for us to have her there,” Pauly said. “To be there daily, doing events, samplings, staff training and just knowing the owners of who we are.”

Pauly tried to double dip for two years, driving to Chicago to sell the brand while also trying to run the day-to-day operations of the brewery, which opened in April of 2011. Keys to increased sales come from a sales rep that is local, knows the story of the brewery and it’s goals along with being honest with the buyers.

“Relationships are important with the buyers,” Armanetti said. “There are so many [relationships] to maintain and be sensitive to. Beer can be taught, stories can be taught, but you need to learn personality and then learn to mesh well with the brand,” she added. “People like the romance of the beer. It needs to taste good, but the story is important. Something they can relate to and find a connection.”

Armanetti came to 3 Sheeps with a background as a brand rep for a Chicago-area brewery along with years of experience as a bar manager and working for a distribution company in the Chicagoland area. Her locality helped her hit the ground running, helping 3 Sheeps increase sales 20 percent in her first six weeks.

“I don’t think we would ever enter a new market without having someone there because it is a two-way street,” Pauly said. “We want to be able to support the accounts that support us.”

Armanetti added that “sweat time” in the brewery helped her learn quickly what she was representing. “It was crucial,” she said. “You have to put in some sweat time to see how it’s done.”

Putting in that “sweat equity” gave her stories to communicate with buyers on the brand.

“To come away with personal stories … is good to tell when you are in the market. It helps your credibility as a brand rep to be able to go and experience the process first-hand,” she said. “You can read about it all you want, but making those bonds with your brewery helps solidify the bond.

“When you experience the brewery it creates more memories, and have true ideas, to be able to relate to sellers on a personal level.”

She also pointed out that reps need to have a cohesive idea among all of a brewery’s reps, but still be able to curtail it to their local market, using their personal experiences.

“People at Bell’s have a Bell’s personality. You meet someone from Stone and they totally have that Stone mentality,” she said. “It’s all related to the voice that the brewery wants to have.

“You can’t sell beer for something you don’t relate with. If you can’t create that bond, you aren’t doing the brewery any good. If just seems scripted.”

3 Sheeps entered Minnesota in January 2015 and they said they plan on expanding slowly. “We have been very adamant in our belief not to expand our reach at the expense of our customers that have been with us from the beginning,” said Pauly in a statement released in November 2015 about the proposed expansion which will create at least fifteen jobs in the brewery’s community, more than tripling its staff over the next three years.

The expansion will include a barrel aging warehouse and taproom. The increased size will allow the brewery to place an emphasis on their barrel aging program and create an isolated area for the controlled fermentation of the sour beers — a new venture for the brewery. All which will be promoted by the faces of the company, its yet-to-be hired sales reps for future markets.

“They are the face of the brewery for the majority of that market that they represent,” Pauly said. “You can be one of the best [breweries] in the world, but if that rep doesn’t represent it well, then there can be a lot of miscommunication there. Finding a good rep can be very difficult.”

3 Sheeps

Editor’s Note: Inaccurate date fixed to reflect that 3 Sheeps entered the Minnesota market in January of 2015, not February of 2016.

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