Distribution Dipped, so Rushing Duck Made its Taproom Become Something Else to Boost Sales

Pivoting in what your brewery does has become quite the norm. Paying attention to sales figures and adjusting has always been a key to boosting production and goals, but now planning for next week instead of next month has been key.

For Nikki Cavanaugh, seeing sales drop off in 2020 from distribution of Rushing Duck‘s beers in the New York brewery’s 20-county radius near New York City, the 1,400-barrel/year facility turned inward in a different way than expected.

Cavanaugh, a co-founder of Rushing Duck, shared some insights during the 2020 Sell More Beer Virtual Summit’s panel on tactics to boost sales during this pandemic.

“Our community has always been great to us since we’ve opened,” Cavanaugh said of the Chester area (population of around 13,000).

So, using that local support, she said they focused on those local individuals with tactics that Cavanaugh explained as: ‘we’re here for you, you could be here for us.’

“We started a food drive, we became a community spot where people could get information,” she said. “Our county’s executive director came in to talk to us and gave us information that we could spread to our very tight community.

“In doing that, we saw that people were coming in to buy beer. We used it to get information out, but also to bring in sales.”

The 1,600-square-foot tasting room was switched over to accommodate beer-to-go sales along with being a holding area for beer deliveries to an approximate radius of 20 miles from the brewery.

“​We worked​ with our distributor to say, ​’​Okay, we’ll buy back beer from you if ​you need it because we have an outlet to sell it​,’ ” Cavanaugh said​. ​”We really did focus on our community. ​ ​We pulled back from distribution completely and worked on home delivery [for a while]. It made my heart full that people wanted to support local.​”​

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