The Challenges that Pollock Sees as a Local Sales Manager from Another State

This is a part of a continuing series of Q&As with members of the brewing community from across the US. Brewer Magazine will share business and personal insights from Brewmasters, Head Brewers, Brewing Managers, Sales Directors, QCQA Managers and others each weekend to help you get to know each other better in the industry and learn more to better develop your own brand.

John Pollock, Indiana Market Manager, Shorts Brewing — Bellaire, Michigan

BREWER: What do you feel have been new challenges in your position that have helped push you and make you better at your job?
POLLOCK: The continued proliferation of small local breweries is a great and encouraging sign, but also can make the job difficult. When nearly every town across the country is within a short drive of a brewery that is putting out some pretty solid beer, it makes convincing accounts near there to carry your products even harder. So much of the job is selling your brewery as much as the beer and why that account should carry your beer even though you may be located in a different city, state, or even time zone. I believe I work for one of the most amazing, innovative breweries that you’ll find anywhere, and this has really driven me every day to go out and share the stories and products that make us unique. Seeing how amazing and creative our brewers, marketing team, merchandise team, and all the other parts of the brewery are on a daily basis really makes me want to go out and show the world what we have to offer. 

BREWER: Why did you enter the craft beer industry and what makes you love being a part of it and staying in it?
POLLOCK: The craft industry has been a passion of mine for a long time, even before working in the industry. I always found myself checking out a local brewery whenever I was in a new town just to see what the local scene was like. Craft beer and the industry around it is one of the few things any more that truly has a regional character and feel. Every state has their own breweries that they are proud of, styles that they specialize in, and specific traditions that are unique to the area. On top of that, the craft community is (most of the time) a pretty friendly and cooperative industry, even if you are competing for the same draft lines or cooler placements. The collaboration and cooperation between competing breweries is something you don’t see in most other industries. 

BREWER: What are some recent trends within your job and expertise in the industry that you’ve tried or are excited about trying?
POLLOCK: I love seeing how many craft breweries are making beers that appeal to the general public as a whole. There are so many great Lagers, easy drinking Pale Ales, Ambers, Browns, and Wheats that can really reach not just the craft consumer, but the casual beer drinker as well. I love working at a brewery where our best selling beer, Local’s Light, fits in just as well at a craft bar as it does a football tailgate. 

BREWER: What was your business’s greatest accomplishment during the past year, and what are your goals for your brewery this year?
POLLOCK: Seeing the growth of Local’s Light has been really amazing over this past year. Having people who very much consider themselves “not craft drinkers” tell me Local’s Light is their new favorite beer is a really encouraging sign for the growth that is to come. 

BREWER: What are some changes in the industry that you’ve observed in the past few years, and how has your business adapted to it to stay competitive?
POLLOCK: The shifting trends and tastes of the market is always a challenge in the craft industry. Seemingly every 3-6 months there will be a new trend that everyone starts to make and sell, and then almost as fast that style goes away. Short’s is finding success by following what works for us and what made us popular in the first place instead of chasing trends as much as possible. I believe that if you stick to what you know, what you do well, and what you can do better than most other places you’ll go far further than trying to do the same thing that everyone else is doing.

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