Getting the Right Fit with a Distributor

After leaving your taproom and looking to expand on your brewery’s territory, there are many way to go about it. One way is to self-distribute your product, another is through wholesale distribution.

Finding the right people to do that work for you can be a challenge, and asking the right questions and making the correct choice for your company can be vital to growth.

“Nobody cares about your brand as much as you do and nobody ever will,” said Renegade owner Brian O’Connell. “Once you realize that, then you go out and find the next best thing — somebody who cares a lot about your brand and is willing to invest in it and make it grow.”

Three Notch’d Brewing is just starting looking outside of their own company to distribute and Scott Roth, the brewery president said when and if the time does come to partner with a larger distribution operation they will be looking for a few things.

“First, we will be looking to establish top of mind in their portfolio,” he explained. “We would hope any partnership would come with a monetary commitment binding our partner to the success of our brand and in return we would be investing those resources in head count and assets to further the mission of both our brewery and our new partner.

“Second, we would be looking for a partner that is truly interested in the market share our brand can supply, rather than just another SKU to rotate through their equitably given set of tap lines and shelf spaces at each retailer.

“We have worked tirelessly to establish relationships with the largest box stores down to the independent restaurants and C-stores to ensure that our brand is always on their mind. Three Notch’d would absolutely require a partner that will continue that same culture as we look to grow deeper in our home state.”

Cincinnati’s MadTree Brewing has worked with distributors for a few years and Director of Sales, Michelle Graef said an important point of communication and understanding is for the brewery to get wholesale partners to the brewery and involved in the education process.

“We’ve grown our team as they’ve grown theirs,” she said. “Along the way we have figured out how to get through the initial “get to know you” stage a little faster and into the building together stage.

“We have a team of individuals that distributors want to partner with, retailers want to support and guests want to engage with.”

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