Winning with Data Drives 3 Sheeps

Grant Pauly grew up in a small business family and for five years before starting 3 Sheeps Brewing, he was running a precast concrete plant.

“My father would give me just enough rope to barely hang myself and then come in to help,” recalls Pauly during the cover story interview for the March/April issue of Brewer Mag. “He wanted to make sure that I learned what was important and what to pay attention to.”

READ MORE: Brewer Magazine March/April 2023 Digital Issue

Those lessons applied beyond concrete as he helped launch the Sheboygan, Wisconsin brand as a production brewery in 2011.

“I’m definitely a data guy, I love Excel. I could get lost in Excel sheets for hours looking at stuff like that,” he said. “It’s fun tracking and seeing what you can learn. That was a part of it, but then coming into beer and really just having good partners and our distributors was great to work with all through Wisconsin. They love craft too. And they appreciate and they see so much more than we do because they have all these brands out there. We don’t have to reinvent the wheel.”

Using data internally along with leaning on insights from fellow breweries and wholesale partners Pauly said they look forward to planning with projections of many kinds.

“We are big fans of data around here, tracking our points of distribution, rate of sale, so we can see where people are buying, or how they’re likely to buy it and making sure that they’re still buying us and we’re not making bad decisions,” Pauly said. “We’re up this January over last January quite a bit. And not just by total cases — that doesn’t mean as much as how many points distribution do you have — so that they are productive. It’s not just the case going somewhere​ and sitting there. Those outlets are good.

“There hasn’t been a year where we haven’t grown. So we were still planning on that. We work hard and our sales team is out there and they are phenomenal. I spend a lot of time on the road supporting them as well. Just trying to make sure that we keep giving ourselves opportunities to put the beer in places, and innovating.”

Last year, 3 Sheeps launched two more year-round brands, using the data provided them to help build.

“I don’t know that we’ve ever put out a beer to package without doing some test batches first,” Pauly said. “Whenever you’re looking at a new year-round beer, it’s pretty much a year-long process for us as we start doing tweaks, see what people think, do more tweaks, and try to really refine it. So it hits all the tenets of what is important for us when it comes to that beer.

“We’re always tweaking what we have to offer to make sure that we can keep growing.”

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