How This One Item Could Solidify a Relationship with an On-Prem Account

Collection of Hands hold business cards on white background

No matter if your brewery is self-distributed or works through a wholesaler — and you have a brand manager or salesperson in the market or not – creating a connection with your on-premise accounts can be difficult.

A discussion that took place at the Michigan Brewer’s Guild annual meetings during an open panel discussion on Taproom Management led to brewery owners and managers sharing a few ideas on how to strengthen those bonds, either by doing it yourself or with employees.

Sister Lakes Brewing founder Brian Morin explained that although they don’t have a salesperson in the market, the distribution partner that they work with covers a three-county territory around the brewery located in the Southwestern part of the state. He made sure to get a list of all the accounts that the brewery’s beer is distributed to and Morin will take his family out to these places to support those businesses.

“When we go out to eat, we choose to go to the places that sell our beer, and I would leave a business card if I don’t see the owner to just say thanks for pouring our beer.

“I’ve gotten a lot of good feedback on that.”

READ MORE: What is Your ROI on Wholesale Relationships?

Another idea that can be used by employees of your brewery is to let them go be a “secret shopper” on the company dime.

Good afternoon, morning, whatever it is, anyways, Harold Design Team Plus, I’m not a brewer, I don’t brew beer, I don’t distribute beer, I design breweries anyways, one of the thoughts is like me,

“You may be distributing, but who’s checking to make sure that where you’re distributing to is being sold and marketed properly,” said Harold Remlinger of DesignTeam Plus. He explained that he had heard of other breweries in the country giving employees a $10 gift card and to go to an account to sit at the bar and buy a beer and see if that location is actually pushing and selling your beer properly.

“If they’re not pulling from that place, go somewhere that you know they’re going to actually want to support your beer,” he said. “The worst thing could happen is that beer sits in the back and gets stale and then somebody buys it and it’s a bad experience.”

Morin added that at least once a year Sister Lakes will host the entire sales team of his distributor at the brewery as well.

“They get to taste our products and see what we’re all about,” he said. “They hear our story so we’re not just a product. They get to know the owners, they know our atmosphere. So when they go out and talk, they have something to talk about. That’s been really helpful.”

Photo courtesy Adobe Stock

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