How Working on 3-Tier Relationships Can Help Breweries Grow

There’s never been more quality craft beer on the market. That means consumers have a lot of choices, and frankly, so do distributors.

“You have to give distributors a reason to do business with you,” said Scott Chaffee, the Sale Manager for California’s Dust Bowl Brewing. “In turn, you want your distributor to be pushing your products. It’s just not enough to have good beer. You have to provide the whole package — support, depth of portfolio, branding, marketing — so they want to sell your beer.

Dust Bowl, which produced nearly 7,000 barrels in 2016, makes it a priority to help facilitate the sale for their distributor.

“The easier we make it for them to sell our beer the better — it’s a win-win,” Chaffee said. “We believe it’s imperative to provide responsive service, superior marketing support, and of course, your product has to be high quality.”

Dust Bowl has sales reps for all its markets.

“A physical presence helps,” Chaffee said. “We are constantly trying to set ourselves apart from other breweries with exceptional customer service. We believe that a personal touch — even in the midst of growth — is vital.”

As far as retailer relationships, Dust Bowl works hard to provide the right product to the right account.

“Not all beers work for every retailer,” Chaffee said. “We’ve expanded our portfolio so we can be more deliberate with the beers we sell to certain accounts. The more successful we make our retailers, the more successful we will be.”

Chaffee added that he thinks it’s important to not only have good working relationships with upper management, breweries have to know and work hand-in-hand with the front lines of any distributor.

“The distributor’s sales team has to believe in your product and know they have the support of the brewery,” he said. “Our local distributor is a perfect example. They took a chance on a relative no-name brewery back in 2009. Today, they continue to account for our largest distributor sales, we’re breaking records together. We’ve built a mutual respect and commitment to growing together. We’ve maintained the relationship from day one.”

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