How Saucy Brew Works Worked to Exceed Sales Goals

Photos courtesy of Saucy Brew Works

Mark Beaver, Vice President of Sales at Saucy Brew Works, shared with Brewer recently that he has led his team to exceptional growth and performance in the first few months of 2024. 

By focusing on clear priorities, leveraging data analytics, and fostering a passionate team culture, the Cleveland-based brewery has seen its core Points of Distribution (POD) grow by 84%, putting them on track to meet their annual distribution goals set before the year started to be topped by the third quarter.

One of the key elements driving Saucy’s success is the passion and excitement of the team, Beaver said.

“We’ve been lucky to have a team that is extremely excited about what we do, from the sales team to marketing and brewing,” he said. “There’s an extraordinary passion, and everybody wants to achieve, everybody wants to get better every day.” 

This enthusiasm has been instrumental in propelling the company forward without the need to expand the team. Instead, Beaver has focused on improving the skills of the existing staff.

“We haven’t had to bring in more people,” he said. “We’re taking the guys that we currently have on staff and we’re elevating.”

A significant shift in Saucy Brew Works’ approach has been the enhanced use of data analytics. Before Beaver’s leadership, the team had a basic understanding of VIP data, but they have since progressed to using this information more strategically. 

“Now they’re really starting to figure out how to manage their wholesalers, what gap reports look like, and then beyond that, they’ve started looking at syndicated data to know what the category looks like outright,” he said. 

This analytical approach has been crucial in aligning their sales strategy with the needs of their retail partners. For instance, by analyzing data from Giant Eagle, one of their top retail partners, they identified that although they had a 93% saturation in the stores, no single item had more than 60% placement across different stores. 

This insight allowed them to focus on consistency and prioritize their top SKUs – like Juicy ASAP — to build a stronger brand presence.

A common challenge in the craft brewing industry is the temptation to chase the next big trend, which can dilute the focus on core products. Beaver addressed this by identifying the most important packages within their portfolio and concentrating efforts on a foundational brand that could become a staple in the market. 

“The biggest point is really identifying what our true priorities are,” he said. “A lot of craft breweries get caught up on the next hot thing without diluting the foundation of true core players within their portfolio.”.

By shifting the strategy to elevate core products and using limited-time offers (LTOs) and collaborations to support these priorities, Saucy Brew Works has been able to drive significant growth and build a more cohesive brand identity.

READ MORE: When and How to Implement a CRM System for Sales Team Boost

The impact of the pandemic which started in 2020 has highlighted the importance of off-premise sales channels, an area where Saucy Brew Works has placed increased emphasis. 

“COVID showed everybody that off-premise is one of the most important places to be. The on-premise is more and more challenging,” he said, “the saturation of the market has made sticking in an on-premise account difficult. But where you have opportunities in off-premise, you can really speak to customers a little bit easier.”

This shift has allowed Saucy to interact more meaningfully with customers and tailor their offerings to meet specific retail needs, rather than just pushing products from a sales sheet.

A crucial element of the brewery’s strategy has been fostering strong relationships with wholesalers and retailers. By using data to guide these partners and making informed decisions together, they have ensured alignment on priorities. 

“Our team has gotten much, much better at understanding syndicated data and then being able to use that data to guide wholesalers,” Beaver said. This collaborative approach ensures that both Saucy Brew Works and their partners are working towards common goals, making the sales process more efficient and effective.

As Beaver aptly puts it, “If you can sell, you can be taught to sell better.” At Saucy Brew Works, they are certainly proving that every day.

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