Q&A: Upgrading Your Brewery’s Sales Staff

As the brewery has grown, the need for a dedicated Director of Sales was apparent for Florida’s JDub’s Brewing Company.

That new role for the nearly 5-year-old company has been filled by Tim Snell, who has worked in more than just the brewery tier of the distribution system, starting with a distributor and most recently was the VP of Sales for the Florida Beer Company.

JDub’s Founder Jeremy Joerger said since opening in 2014, the crew has been learning on the job in just about every area of operations except brewing.

“As we continue to expand and grow, we’ve recently come to a point where it’s obvious that moving forward, we have to bring in someone with a specific expertise in sales and the Florida market,” he said. “Tim definitely fits the bill, and just as importantly, has a genuine and friendly nature that fits right into our culture here at JDub’s.”

BREWER: How was sales run before you arrived and how are you making changes to it?

SNELL: I am excited to meet the challenge of continuing growth for JDub’s Brewing. These brands and this team have enjoyed strong growth and reached a high level of sales in a relatively short period of time. There is a dedicated team of sales reps in place throughout, not only our backyard in Sarasota, but beyond in the other booming craft beer markets of Tampa, Ft Myers, Orlando, Miami, and Jacksonville. The core brands have been warmly received by supermarket and package store consumers, while both the core and limited/specialty releases have performed well in taprooms, bars, and restaurants across the Sunshine State. Our team of reps and distributor partners are passionate to get the JDub’s brands in the hands of the thirsty craft consumers looking for fun and interesting beers. I intend to support this growth and take it to the next level, where we can increase the distribution and availability by investing more resources, through additional reps telling the JDub’s story on the streets, here in Florida and beyond; and finding opportunities to bring more beer consumers in to the flavorful craft realm. As craft breweries, we are still only about 5% of the total beer market in Florida, but growing, and finding new fans every day. This place is just turning four with the fourth anniversary bash, “Dubfest”, next month (February 10) and will celebrate another great year of commitment to brewing and selling the highest quality, innovative brands and styles; oh yeah, and there’s a beerfest with sampling and great music on two stages all day and in to the night.

BREWER: What are some key factors for newer or smaller breweries to ponder when they are working toward off-premise sales?

SNELL: Our founder, Jeremy Joerger, has aggressively sought out ways to expand and meet the demand for these brands. Some of the biggest hurdles for small breweries are finding affordable and readily available packaging options, design components, even developing labeling and pricing; of all the considerations capacity becomes the utmost important. Also, a retail buyer needs reassurance that a small brew can get him what he needs, when he needs it. A big part of the solution [for JDub’s] was finding a partner in Brew Hub. Brew Hub works directly with JDub’s brewers and management to meet our high standards and produce excellent beer on a much larger scale than we could do otherwise. And with strong distributor partners like JJ Taylor and Cavalier, off-premise becomes about making the taproom experience a take-home experience and sharing a Poolside Kolsch or Passion Wheat with family and friends by your own pool or patio; or pouring a creamy Bell Cow Milk Chocolate Porter or a well-balanced UpTop IPA at your home bar, or kitchen table. Growlers are great; getting one of your favorite JDub’s six packs right up the street at Publix is a shopping pleasure.

BREWER: When it comes to hiring for sales, what do you look for? How much can be learned by the hire to do craft beer sales vs. “having it” to help your brewery?

SNELL: I look for a passion for craft beer and a fire inside to tell the world about these great beers. A thorough knowledge of brands and styles is most important and naturally comes with this passion for craft beer. Also a the candidate must fit the culture not only of this industry but also this brewery. This is a fun place to live and work. As craft beer salespeople we are among the most blessed sales force in all the world. It hard to have a bad day when you have such a dynamic and ever-changing portfolio to represent, so this industry attracts fun and interesting people. This stuff just never gets old because it’s always evolving to the next level and creating excitement along the way. Try not to smile when you reminisce about your first craft beer, it’s like your first kiss. With craft beer you get to fall in love over and over again and share the great news with your friends, family, and acquaintances. You can’t help but be fun and have fun selling craft beer. I also think all good craft sales folks should have a penchant for the numbers and be dedicated and comfortable speaking to a business owner or manager about the profitability and magical appeal of craft beer. Craft beer is not just for small, dark, steam-punk adorned quarters on the edge of industrial parks. Craft beer is here for the masses to enjoy and experiment with. It’s not only for the young, or the old; the geeks, or the snobs. It’s here to stay and it’s here for everyone to enjoy and celebrate life with. Like Ben Franklin said: it’s proof God loves us and wants us to be happy!

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