Why a 20-Minute Phone Call Could Help Your Future Beer Batches

An interesting tidbit heard at the recent 2022 Ohio Craft Brewers conference regarding the importance of contracting.

Although being able to set up a contract as your brewery gets larger to help your supplier know how much they need to have on hand, even a simple phone call if you aren’t contracting helps as well.

“If everybody this week gave me a forecast we’d be in a lot better position,” said BSG Regional Sales Manager Grant McDonough to the group of Ohio brewery owners. “If you get into a habit of meeting up with your suppliers — a 20-minute phone call every six months and saying here’s what we got going on, this is my best guess.

“I won’t hold your feet to the fire on anything. We just need to kind of have an idea of what you got going on. Maybe you’re going to be making a lot more seltzer and it might not be that big for you. But if there’s like 50 other breweries doing the exact same thing, that has a lot of changes for suppliers. So just continue with those little touchpoints, they will add up over time.”

Andy Tveekrem of Cleveland’s Market Garden said his best advice is to have a good relationship with your supplier as much as you can, no matter your size.

“If you’re just kind of going online and clicking on a box of that and a pallet of that it’s totally anonymous,” he said. “[Suppliers] have no idea really who you are and you need to firm up the relationship there because that’s when you can get a benefit.

“A supplier will say, we’re having a problem getting this, it’s going to cost us a little bit more. Maybe they’ll hold the line for you if you’ve been a good customer for years. But if it’s just this totally anonymous, online ordering situation maybe not so much.”

Chris Davison of Columbus’ Wolf’s Ridge shared an example of how he thought they had enough labels coming for the next canning run. He got confirmation that the labels wouldn’t get to the brewery until a day after the run, so he got on the phone because he knew he had built a good relationship with prior purchases with his label-making company.

“Usually they’ll do it because we have a really good relationship with them, or they’ll do their best anyway,” he said. “The suppliers want to help you out. But you’ve got to have that relationship and you’ve got to work with them and try and ask for those things.”

Photo courtesy Market Garden

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