How to Show Appreciation to Retail Clients

Urban Artifact understands that over​-​the​-​bar sales at a taproom is important and can be vital to the growth of a brewery, but sometimes in the haste to pull consumers to the brewery with special releases, retail partners get left in the cold.

The Cincinnati brewery understood those concerns and now uses what it calls it’s “Retail Appreciation Program“​ to enhance retail sales as well.​

“The brewery taproom was meant to help spur the growth of craft beer by giving breweries a means to market their beer directly to consumers,” the brewery wrote in a letter to retail outfits. “The taproom has allowed breweries a way to build a brand name and sell additional beer at retail pricing, which has helped buffer the razor-thin margins inherent in running a small craft brewery.

“Taprooms were never intended to take business away from retailers, but instead grow the craft beer market at large; a rising tide raises all ships.”

The Retailer Appreciation Program features beers exclusively made for retail locations in draft and cans, meaning that none of ​the beer will see the brewery’s taproom.

“Our goals have always been to do what is best for our brewery and what is best for you, our retail partners,” the letter explains to retailers. “But, in reality, that shared goal is not always apparent; whether you look at us or any of the over 300 craft brewers that are now operating in Ohio.

“Within the past year, we’ve noticed a changing climate in the world of the brewery-retailer relation. There are more taprooms than ever, and whether some people, associations, or businesses want to admit it or not, there is a growing tension between brewery taprooms and retailer partners.”

This divide, it adds, is spurred on by the rapid expanse of brewery taprooms and more breweries are relying heavily on taprooms to sell the majority of their beer. There are also handfuls of breweries, in Ohio and around the country, opening multiple taprooms across its distribution footprint.

“This is further cutting into sales of their retailer partners which they are calling on week after week for sales,” the brewery writes. “Of course, none of this is illegal, but to us at Urban Artifact, it is not within the spirit of the law and the three-tier system.”

Along with each release, the UA taproom staff is prepared to direct customers to retailers in their own neighborhoods where they will be able to purchase beers released through the Retailer Appreciation Program.

“We want our customers to explore their neighborhoods and support their hyper-local retailers,” the brewery wrote. “We care about our relationships with our retail partners, both large and small, and we hope with this public gesture that we can continue to grow and nurture our retail partnerships.”

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