Trade Show Tips for Wineries, Breweries and Distilleries: Opening Deals at Events

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Wine Trade Show Tips

Finding ways to generate interest in your brands at a trade show goes beyond just stating that you will be present and are open for business.   Here is a guide to what you should be focusing on as you prepare, attend and wind-down from a trade event.

Pre-Event

In order to fully take advantage of the time you spend at trade shows, it is important to promote the fact that you will be attending the event.  Create excitement and start prospecting.  Show the trade you are investing in their market and that you are ready to do what it takes to generate a successful sales network.

Request visitor lists from the event organizer and start networking way in advance.  If you can’t get a list from the organizers, actively seek out information on who is attending through social networks, like LinkedIn and twitter, as you communicate your intent to be there as well.  Ask for meetings from key accounts before, during or after the show.

The moment you arrive in the city, you should have your calendar filled with meetings.  The more meetings you have, the easier it will be for you to land the distribution agreement you are looking for.

At the event

When you are at your booth, you should always try and understand your visitor and talk about them, not you. It is important to connect on a personal level.  Craft a few 30 second pitches that you can deliver after you understand their profile.

Your pitch should accurately describe how your brand is positioned to succeed in their market and your focus should be on getting a sit-down meeting with them in the near feature.

A good way to approach your event participation is to prepare your pitches around a door opener SKU for which you can really tell your story.  It should be at very good price point for their market, highly awarded and should always highlight your unique selling proposition.  Don’t try and sell all of your brands at once.

Talk to visitors about how you are there to invest in the market and help them support the brand with market work and store tastings to grow sales.  Offer to buy them lunch and ask for a sit down meeting.

Have a trade packet that includes point of sale examples, pictures of case-displays, and testimonials of proven history from other importers and distributors.

It’s also good practice to stay active on social media throughout the event to try and drive traffic to your booth as well as to connect with recent contacts you’ve made.

Remember – for an importer and a distributor, you are just another case of wine. The bottom line is that dollar per case multiplied by how fast that case moves is the ONLY thing distributors are worried about.  That’s their business.

Post-Event

Don’t forget to follow up with all of your new contacts. Send thank you emails within 48 hours in which you confirm or set up a meeting.  Try and create a funnel where you end up doing 20 meetings at each stage of the event.

Whether it is pre, at or post show, this should result in you sending 10-20 proposals, which will hopefully translate into 5 solid prospects and ultimately one to two sales.

Trade shows are all about networking.  Buyers aren’t going to simply taste your product and sign a distribution agreement on the spot.  If you don’t try and set meetings you won’t get anything out of attending!

This information should help you understand how to successfully approach trade shows.

Looking to grow your distribution in USA?

USA Trade Tasting (USATT) is an annual adult beverage trade specialist trade tasting and business conference that promotes sustainable growth in the independent beverage industry by helping boutique wineries, craft breweries, craft distilleries, importers, distributors, retailers and beverage companies to learn, source and grow.

Exhibit your brand at USA Trade Tasting (USATT) and get the attention of USA’s leading importers, important distributors, high-profile retail merchants, and influential media executives.

Event Producer: Beverage Trade Network

USA Trade Tasting is brought to you by Beverage Trade Network, the leading online platform dedicated to connecting the global beverage industry. Beverage Trade Network (BTN) successfully connects wineries, breweries, distilleries and brand owners with international importers, distributors, brokers and beverage industry professionals on a daily basis. Strong partnerships with international and US organizations have helped BTN establish USA Trade Tasting as a premiere sales and marketing event committed to connecting the beverage industry.

USATT_FB_Pic_1200x630_0516_2-11

Every year, the USATT Show brings together small and medium sized importers, distributors, retailers and press professionals of the US wine, spirits and beer industry in New York City for 2 days of learning, buying and selling, networking and fun — all designed to help participants grow their bottom line.

USA Trade Tasting 2018 Exhibitor Registrations Now Open.Become an Exhibitor Now.

 

How to Get Your Wine News On Industry News Pages

Ever find yourself asking, “How come nobody will pick up my news story on my winery?”

winIt is one of those inevitable questions that arise after submitting your news to hundreds of media outlets in the hope of building solid media coverage on your winery’s breaking story.

So, how can you actually get the attention of leading wine industry press publications?

Here is what Lewis Purdue from Wine Industry Insight had to say about how to get your wine news picked up in in his post,  “How Do I Get My News Included In Wine Industry Insight?”

I get this question frequently. So here’s a quick guide.  Please also read, What’s Of Interest To News Fetch Subscribers?

NEWS, NEWS, NEWS AND ONLY NEWS

First, it must be news and written like news.

Wandering, overblown, self-congratulatory pieces filled with gushing superlatives are not news.

Second, your news must be business, or industry related, not primarily consumer news like events, medals, dinners or other items in the bullets below.

EXISTING LINKS
The easiest way to get into Wine Industry Insight is to send me an existing web link from a credible news source that I can consider for News Fetch. News relevance is the same as listed above (and as excluded, below).

OTHER VOICES
If it passes those tests, then you you can post the item yourself on Wine Industry Insight as part of the “Other Voices” section in the left-hand column at http://www.wineindustryinsight.com

Just go here: http://www.wineindustryinsight.com/OtherVoices/register.php and you can start as soon as I verify your registration.

If you have any doubts about whether an item is appropriate, just send me an email before you post.

If your article or links are good, then I’ll include them as a link in News Fetch which goes to 18,500+ wine trade subscribers Monday through Friday.

WHAT’S NOT OF INTEREST TO WINE INDUSTRY INSIGHT SUBSCRIBERS
I’ve been keeping track of emails and comments from Wine Industry Insight’s News Fetch subscribers about what they find of interest … and not.
Always remember, anything that’s of primary interest to a consumer is not of interest.

Here are a few that will not make it (in no particular order):

• Wine competition prizes, medals etc.
• New “looks”, branding, new bottle sizes.
• Consumer promotions and festivals.
• Charity events, cause marketing, and contribution unless they are TRULY AMAZING — If you just gave your winery away to the Goodwill or UNICEF, that’s a story.
• Almost all “Green” campaign topics. If you have discovered how to produce cold fusion power from lees, that’s a different story.
• New tasting room, barrel aging facility
• New varietals
• No prizes, wine of the year etc.
• All news releases with any quote containing the words “we are thrilled” will be deleted.
• Consumer awards, contests, winemaker dinners, tastings, tasting room expansion, barrel room expansion, water for dogs and designated drivers
• Winery named best whatever
• Screw caps or corks?
• New brands
• New wines
• Wine and food festival
• No web site re-design, label redesign, bottles, corks etc.
• No more “sustainable certification” and “green energy” stories. Everybody needs to do these. It’s the green equivalent of saying “We have Internet access!”
• Wine and food matching
• Wine and music
• Water to wine … wine to water.

All of the above can change if you have something that is truly, TRULY new. Only unique stores of interest to your wine industry peers and not just to consumers will make the cut.

About Lewis Purdue

Lewis_Purdue - wine newsLewis Perdue is Editor and Publisher of Wine Industry Insight whose daily News Fetch executive email briefing enjoys the largest subscription base (22,000+) in the North American wine industry.  He founded Wines West, a Los Angeles-based wine import and distribution company specializing in high-end Italian brands.  Lewis also founded Wine Business Monthly in 1991, which remains the American wine industry’s largest circulated print publication.

Looking to grow your distribution in USA?

USA Trade Tasting (USATT) is an annual adult beverage trade specialist trade tasting and business conference that promotes sustainable growth in the independent beverage industry by helping boutique wineries, craft breweries, craft distilleries, importers, distributors, retailers and beverage companies to learn, source and grow.

Exhibit your brand at USA Trade Tasting (USATT) and get the attention of USA’s leading importers, important distributors, high-profile retail merchants, and influential media executives.

Event Producer: Beverage Trade Network

USA Trade Tasting is brought to you by Beverage Trade Network, the leading online platform dedicated to connecting the global beverage industry. Beverage Trade Network (BTN) successfully connects wineries, breweries, distilleries and brand owners with international importers, distributors, brokers and beverage industry professionals on a daily basis. Strong partnerships with international and US organizations have helped BTN establish USA Trade Tasting as a premiere sales and marketing event committed to connecting the beverage industry.

Every year, the USATT Show brings together small and medium sized importers, distributors, retailers and press professionals of the US wine, spirits and beer industry in New York City for 2 days of learning, buying and selling, networking and fun — all designed to help participants grow their bottom line.

USA Trade Tasting 2018 Exhibitor Registrations Now Open.Become an Exhibitor Now.

 

 

How do you get editors interested in your wine, beer or spirits brand story?

7 Tips From Leading Beverage Magazine Editors On Crafting Your Pitch To Industry Publications

How to pitch your brand to pressBTN gets insight from some of the leading editors in the beverage industry on what editor’s look for when selecting their next story. Here’s what they had to say:

1. Nathan Gogoll – Magazine Editor at The Australian & New Zealand Grapegrower & Winemaker

Don’t pay a marketing agency to blast your latest news to every single journalist on their contact list. Instead, just target publications you think the story has the best fit with. (Journalists and editors love an exclusive, so consider just sending the news to one publication)

Keep your release short and make yourself available for follow-up interviews. Have a selection of high-resolution current photos on offer.

2. Sarah Lewis – Managing Editor at Hardie Grant Media

The key to securing coverage is tailoring your pitch to the specific title/editor – do your research to ensure you’re connecting with the right person and that the concept is relevant to their audience. We receive so many pitches on a daily basis and the ones that stand out are well conceived and personally written (not a cut-and-paste job that you’ve sent to 10 other editors).

And if you are going to cut and paste, be sure to change the salutation and title! I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve received pitches with the competitor’s name in the body of the email… “We think such and such would be a great fit for [enter key competitor here].” Instant delete.

Where possible, include links to previous articles or posts that best demonstrate your skills and point of view.

Finally, follow up with a phone call. This can be as simple as saying you just wanted to check they received your pitch, and asking if you can provide any extra info at this stage. Don’t be pushy or presumptuous, but do put a voice to the name.

3. Annette Shailer – Editor at Beer & Brewer

In this day and age high quality images are vital to gaining coverage in the print and online, so it’s important to invest in these.

In regards to the content, it’s nice to hear about the people behind the brews as well as the flavor profile. A human interest angle usually resonates well with the audience and don’t forget images of the people are just as important as the brewery and bottle shots are.

Finally, a couple of killer quotes from the brewer or owner go a long way, especially if they’re talking about something they are passionate about that’s a bit different and quirky.

4. Keith Wallace – Author and ‘Wine Blog Awards’ Winner for “Best Wine Reviews 2014”

I take interest in stories that have a narrative beyond the usual press release. For real traction, the story has to be newsworthy outside of the beverage trade. Compelling human-interest stories attract a larger audience, especially if they include a degree of conflict. Be willing to get dangerous!

For instance, the Wine School of Philadelphia got significant national attention a few years ago for “Sommelier Smackdown” after the WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) sued for trademark violation. ” It was a scary situation, but it also was a funny story. It ended up landing the school in every major newspapers in the country, and a few magazines, too. The willingness to turn a dark chapter in the school’s interest into the humorous “wrestlers versus sommeliers” storyline actually solidified the school’s reputation and nearly doubled enrollment.

5. Anna Warwick – Currently Asia Pacific Freelance Editor

Be aware that media are constantly looking for new material so if you can make a contact and make it easy for them to access your ideas, that’s the way forward. Put some thought into the point of difference of your angle and really sell – as in put some real heart into your idea or suggestion.

If you have facts to put across make them dot points.
If you have a personality to interview give a brief bio and interesting quote.

Make your emails short and to the point. Send quality emails over quantity. Send a few punchy ideas rather than stacks of emails. If you have the advertising schedules for that publication you will get an idea of how far ahead of print times you need to get material to editors. Make your ideas seasonal and relevant to current events/topics.

6. Meridith May – Publisher/Editorial Director at The Tasting Panel Magazine & The SOMM Journal

Got an interesting pitch? Instead of a page-long email which no one wants to read, start with a phone call – yes, a phone call. I may not have time to hear the whole thing, but a personal touch is still appreciated.

Let me know you’re taking the time because you want that story in MY magazine, not just throwing it out anywhere to see who’ll respond.

7. Tips from Beverage Trade Network

Education is one of the best ways to inspire great columns. Giving editors a story that actually provides insightful content to their readers is to truly show them that you have something special to offer to their publication.

There are millions of brands around the world who claim that they are the next big story. They assert that they are unique, that they are on the leading edge of innovation, or that their story is simply too exciting to pass up. Whatever the reason, they seem to think that media companies should actually consider their self-absorbed stories for their next piece.

Instead, talk about how you have triumphed over your latest setback and give tips on how you did it. Let down your guard and be honest about what it means to be in business. For example, instead of talking about how great your latest PR stunt was, give your readers a behind-the-scenes look at what you went through to get it done. Talk about your employees and how they had to work day in and day out even though you know they’ve been going through personal struggles of their own.

Don’t exclaim your brilliance, explain your method. Find what truly makes your company (or your brand) special and examine the parts as you dissect it piece by piece. Once you have all the pieces of the puzzle in front of you, touch on the brilliance of each brush stroke of the painting as you narrate the practice of putting it all back together again.

The above article will help you establish a strong overview on how you can plan your PR strategy and send your story to press and media.

Join us in New York City at the USATT Conference to get in-depth insight into top sales, distribution and marketing techniques being used in the wine, beer and spirits industry

Looking to grow your distribution in USA?

USA Trade Tasting (USATT) is an annual adult beverage trade specialist trade tasting and business conference that promotes sustainable growth in the independent beverage industry by helping boutique wineries, craft breweries, craft distilleries, importers, distributors, retailers and beverage companies to learn, source and grow.

Exhibit your brand at USA Trade Tasting (USATT) and get the attention of USA’s leading importers, important distributors, high-profile retail merchants, and influential media executives.

Event Producer: Beverage Trade Network

USA Trade Tasting is brought to you by Beverage Trade Network, the leading online platform dedicated to connecting the global beverage industry. Beverage Trade Network (BTN) successfully connects wineries, breweries, distilleries and brand owners with international importers, distributors, brokers and beverage industry professionals on a daily basis. Strong partnerships with international and US organizations have helped BTN establish USA Trade Tasting as a premiere sales and marketing event committed to connecting the beverage industry.

Every year, the USATT Show brings together small and medium sized importers, distributors, retailers and press professionals of the US wine, spirits and beer industry in New York City for 2 days of learning, buying and selling, networking and fun — all designed to help participants grow their bottom line.

USA Trade Tasting 2018 Exhibitor Registrations Now Open.Become an Exhibitor Now.

 

How to optimize small marketing budgets to grow your brand

Beverage Trade Network interviews Hannah Hanley of Heritage Distilling Company on how to optimize small marketing budgets to support your retailers and build your brand.

1. On-premise sales are often a godsend for small producers looking to boost sales, especially if they self-distribute. What are some strategies to help brand awareness at on premise locations?

Work hard to create relationships with key bars and restaurants to leverage the exposure of on-premise sales into increased off-premise sales. It’s no secret that when a potential customer tastes a product in a delicious cocktail, they are more willing to purchase a bottle of product so they can reproduce that cocktail at home. As brand recognition grows, bars and restaurants start seeking out popular products. A good rule of thumb is to always follow up with them in person and work to create a personal relationship in order to ensure your drinks are placed on their menus.

Social media can also land inquiries from bars across the U.S. and distributors in various states, Canada and around the world. As you grow your company and refine your products, target your messaging, marketability and placement – develop better marketing strategies and collateral tied to the placement of products and their audiences. You have to understand your audience before you can sell to them. Trying to sell a high-end craft gin to an on-premise “beer and a shot” bar doesn’t make sense. Likewise, trying to sell a flavored moonshine to a high-end steakhouse likely won’t yield success either. It’s all about finding the right fit for your brand and giving your retailer the necessary attention that they need Continue reading

8 Key Points On Pricing Your Wine, Beer & Spirits for Sustainable Growth

8 Key Points On Pricing Your Wine, Beer & Spirits for Sustainable GrowthBringing a new wine, beer and spirits to market means taking a good look at your product, understanding your price category and pricing your wine, beer and spirits to succeed. Getting your finance department as much information as possible on your competition and target market will help them better price your wine, beer and spirits for growth.

Should you include your support program costs in your price?

What should your overall price be in a foreign on-premise account?

USATT takes a look at how to price your wine, beer and spirits. Here are 8 key points to consider:

Start studying your target markets by looking at your competition at the retail level – look at the pricing categories and get realistic. Once you’ve got a good grasp on what other similar wine, beer and spirits are selling for, follow up by competitively pricing your product.

Here are some tips on how you can guarantee trade buyer interest and get your product from your production line onto the shelves of retailers and into the drinks menu of restaurants at a competitive price.

1. First and Foremost, Buy Low

You should be buying hard and low. Every cent saved on your costs will be needed further down the line. As mark-up is added by importers, distributors and retailers your costs will translate into a magnified price. You’ll also be able to put your savings into marketing and incentive programs to help sell your product. Don’t skimp on quality, but always try and get the best possible deal for your dollar.

2. Only Have One Line Price.

Have a set line price and list all labels in the line at your price point. Simple sells. Branding is all about perception, so let the brand send a unanimous message. When you set one price for your line, it’s easy for your distributor, your retailer and your consumers to remember your products and it also evenly promotes your various labels. Even if you are going to lose a little on one of your labels, it’s better to maintain your brand position then start by listing your line-up at different prices, so long as your overall line-up is bringing in a healthy margin.

3. Plan on 40% Margin for your Distributor.

When launching a new brand, it’s imperative to get your distributors fully on board. Allowing your distributors a chance at 40-50% gives them the incentive they need to put your brand at the top of their priority list. Distributor’s are business men and the more exciting the profit margin you can offer them the more enticed they will be to help you move your cases. Established brands can target 33% as a good starting point, but don’t be surprised if your distributor pressures you to help pad their margin.

4. Plan on 30% Margin for your Importer

For 3 tier markets, like the USA, it’s best to plan on importers looking for beverages with at least 30% margin. Remember, this usually translates into 50% Mark-up. Your importers are key parts of your distribution chain and will you will want to work closely with them to set up strong partnerships with your distributors. Take the time to get to know your importer and give them a large margin to help encourage a long lasting relationship.

5. Budget 10% for your Programs.

In today’s industry, you need to provide quality support programs and incentive packages for your distributors to ensure your products sell. If you don’t have enough in the budget to put into support groups then you should incorporate your support program prices into your overall bottle price. Look at your budgeted costs for in store merchandising and support programs and figure how much of it you can realistically cover in your price.

6. Plan on 30% for Yourself.

Perhaps the most important thing to consider is that, life long dream hobby or not, you need to protect your investment. Don’t make the mistake of planning a brand at break even points with the hope of growing your popularity and your margins down the road.

Almost always, your costs will go up and your distribution and import partners will pressure you into dropping your prices. Pricing your margin at 30% gives you the flexibility and resources necessary to grow your brand in the future.

7. Spend Extra on Quality Labels and Packaging

Color cartons, premium packaging, and top quality labels go a long way toward convincing your customers (from your importers to your consumers) that your brand is worth the extra dollar. This is one area that we strongly advise you not to skimp on. Properly marketing your wine, beer and spirits beverage products can mean the difference between a best seller and a struggling brand line up.

8. Maintain your Margins

Convincing Distributors and Importers to keep their prices consistent can be difficult. Once orders are steady there will be pressure to grow your brand. Usually, this means that distributors will want to see your brand discounted in order to increase volume and expand your distribution, but try to achieve your expansion without letting your margins shrink. Increase your brand value by increasing your price along with your volume push or convince your distributors and retailers that your support programs will be enough to get your brand moving. If neither are successful, then be sure you are ready to meet the growing demands of your customers – discount, order compliance and all.

Ultimately, your beverages should be able to move – no matter what price they are. It’s never a good idea to plan your sales strategy on a one time sale. Develop your partnerships with distributors, importers and retailers based on a line up of products that are priced to reflect the dedication you put into planning your product. As your consumer base grows look at ways to increase your brand value and pad the bottom line. Brand extensions and earning the right to increase prices takes patience and dedication, so take the time to look at your price from top to bottom and make sure you are ready to go to market.

The above article will help you establish a strong price point for the USA market when you pitch your brand to retailers and distributors.

Event Producer: Beverage Trade Network

USA Trade Tasting is brought to you by Beverage Trade Network, the leading online platform dedicated to connecting the global beverage industry. Beverage Trade Network (BTN) successfully connects wineries, breweries, distilleries and brand owners with international importers, distributors, brokers and beverage industry professionals on a daily basis. Strong partnerships with international and US organizations have helped BTN establish USA Trade Tasting as a premiere sales and marketing event committed to connecting the beverage industry.

Every year, the USATT Show brings together small and medium sized importers, distributors, retailers and press professionals of the US wine, spirits and beer industry in New York City for 2 days of learning, buying and selling, networking and fun — all designed to help participants grow their bottom line.

USA Trade Tasting 2018 Exhibitor Registrations Now Open.Become an Exhibitor Now.

 

How To Take Your Wine Brand National

After you find an effective import solution to get your wines into the USA, building your wine brand into a national icon means understanding the ins and outs of state compliance and building your brand from the retail shelf back to your winery. A solid understanding of each market, the business practices of your partners and the peculiarities of your customer base are all important aspects of your market entry strategy.

Wine Brand Building in USA

The Wait Wines, A Store Chain Placement

Here are ten tips to get your wine brand ready to expand distribution, develop a resilient sales process and successfully become a national brand in the USA:

1. Understand what everybody wants at every level of the distribution channel and be prepared to give it to them.

The distributor’s owners always want to have a strategic advantage when they are selecting a new product for their profile. For example, some distributors might want:

  • · you to pre-sell a retailer in their territory;
  • · the exclusive rights on your product;
  • · support program budgets;
  • · the chance to do more business with their key retailers.

Before you even go to the distributor find out specifically what is they want to see from new brands in their portfolio because it is essential that you figure out what will make them confident enough to take on your brand.

Retailers have very similar desires to distributors. They want your product to sell and aren’t willing to wait around for a non-performing SKU to gain market traction. They want you to have a hungry consumer base in their local market that is asking for your product and a clear merchandising/support program that outlines how you are going to increase sales. Talk to key retailers and mold your sales process to cater to their market specifics.

2. Start small and don’t spread yourself too thin. Get the reputation of being a hot mover even if it is in a small market area.

There is nothing worse than being labeled a slow mover when you are starting out. If you spread yourself too thin you won’t be able to take advantage of any new opportunities that come your way. Chances are you won’t be able to service your accounts up to the necessary standards either.

Limit your markets to areas where you can implement immediate changes and have an immediate impact on the success of your brand. When you start small you learn about all of the different challenges that you are going to face while also giving yourself the ability to limit any setbacks before they create any long lasting negative consequences. You always want to make sure that your product is moving at a steady velocity and that there is always healthy demand for your offering.

3. Outsource compliance: Hire a professional company to advise you and file the myriad of forms, documents, and licenses.

Don’t try to do all of this yourself – it is just too complicated. Every state has their own laws, regulations and business practices. In some states, you won’t be able to advertise or sell your alcoholic beverage in the same way you have been in previous markets. For instance, in some states you might not be able to offer a retailer any free product when you are dealing with large orders. However, you might be able to offer them the same large order at a price that corresponds to a smaller order. You have to know all of the nuances of how business is done in each and every territory, so get a pro on your side. It pays to hire a consultant, it doesn’t cost, because one non-compliance fine can easily be the equivalent of what you pay your consultant over the course of a year.

4. Hire a brand building consultant with knowledge of the U.S. distribution, compliance, and retail requirements.

Again – Get a Professional! Hire yourself a proven brand consultant who understands all of the challenges that a wine brand is going to face entering the US market. A brand building consultant will know who the best distributors are, the relationships that they have with retailers and any compliance issues you might come up against. These guys will guide you around all of the pot holes and get you moving quickly down the road to national distribution. They understand who to do business with and who to stay away from and will pay for themselves in very little time.

5. Get distributors who have an interest in seeing your product get to the shelf and stay there.

If you go with a large distributor that tempts you by saying that they are a multi-state distributor, be sure they are willing to put in the work and get your product on their partners’ shelves. Often, brand owners find out to late that their distribution partners haven’t lifted a finger towards putting their products on shelves across their network.

When you are starting a brand try to identify little guys who are motivated to be successful and are ready to give every item in their book the attention that it needs. Smaller distributors need to build their market presence and shelf space, so they are generally more dedicated to keeping your brand on the shelf. However, you have to be careful with small distributors because they may not have the financial wherewithal to pay their bills on time. Bigger distributor might not keep you on the shelf, but they are going to stay current with their accounts.

Generally, you can always start with a smaller distributor and build your brand before moving on to a larger distributor, but the opposite isn’t always true.

6. Be wary of brokers who say “I’ll take care of the merchandising.” If you choose to use brokers make sure they are hands on.

You always have to worry about what is going on in the market. If you do go forward with a broker make sure they are ready to put their feet to the ground and not just playing golf with the buyer. Find out what other brands your broker represents and how each is performing in your new territory. Call brand reps and get information from the horse’s mouth. Go into the retail stores and take a look at what shelf space those brands occupy and if there is evidence of strong merchandising. In other words, do your research! The reputation of your broker will reflect on your brand, so take this decision seriously.

Often, you are much better off hiring a representative over a broker, but there are many very successful and conscientious brokers who will work hard to build your brand for you.

7. Have a representative in every territory.

This is the hardest pill for people to swallow: Distributors are not going to do any merchandising with a new brand.

In fact, the distributor is not going to build your brand at all and your representative has to be ready to do all of the heavy lifting. They will have to make all of the sales calls, presentations, follow ups, visits, and stock checks. Make sure you hire hard working representatives that believe in your brand.

Ultimately, you will be able to trust your distributor, but only after you prove to them that your product is moving at a steady velocity. They need to see blood from the beast before they are going to out there and fight for you.

8. Choose a label, logo, and catch phrase that is easy to recognize, pronounce, and remember. Don’t get cute!

When consumers go into a wine store or wine section of a chain store in the USA and are looking at all of the different labels on offer, it is easy for them to get overwhelmed. Most people don’t know how to buy a wine or even what they want. The best way to keep your brand top-of-mind is to keep it simple. Stand out by making sure that your label can be seen and read from 4 feet away.

9. Don’t enter the market with too many SKUs. Keep it down to 2 or 3 until you are established.

A lot of brand owners go into the market with a range of products, but this can actually dilute your chance at brand awareness. It is hard enough to get any shelf space, so try and keep your range to one or two SKUs because it will be easier for you to argue for two or three faces showing. If you go in with multiple varietals, you are going to have your brand name on multiple shelves, but you won’t have any ‘brand width’. The question is, “Is it easier for people to remember your brand if you are known for one or two varietals, or is it easier for people to remember your brand if you are known for five?”

When you get started your ‘brand-width’ is extremely narrow. Your distributor rep’s mind share, your retailer’s mind share, the clerks mind share, and the consumers mind share is very small – they just don’t know about your brand yet, so don’t confuse them with a wide range of products.

10. Stand for more than your product. Support groups and their causes that are in the vicinity of the retail stores where you are for sale.

When you take part in your community you are gaining the attention of a much larger group of people who have already given their support to an organization which is a community fundraiser of a non-profit that they believe in. If you show as a supporter then the members of the organization are going to take note because you have become an integral part of what it is they believe in and can touch them one-on-one.

Fundraisers rarely have the ability or opportunity to get their message out across the market, so offer your brand as an ambassador and support them through your channels as well. Put shelf talkers or bottle neck hangers in local accounts that advertise the upcoming event and in return ask the event to help support you through podium mentions, referrals and logo placements on emails, websites and invitations.

Supporting groups, fundraisers and non-profits in local markets give your buyers a social reason, not just a mercantile reason, to buy your product. You will gain much more credibility and your retail and distribution partners will quickly become your advocates in the wine industry as well.

Join us in New York City at the USATT Conference to get in-depth insight into top sales, distribution and marketing techniques being used in the wine, beer and spirits industry.

Event Producer: Beverage Trade Network

USA Trade Tasting is brought to you by Beverage Trade Network, the leading online platform dedicated to connecting the global beverage industry. Beverage Trade Network (BTN) successfully connects wineries, breweries, distilleries and brand owners with international importers, distributors, brokers and beverage industry professionals on a daily basis. Strong partnerships with international and US organizations have helped BTN establish USA Trade Tasting as a premiere sales and marketing event committed to connecting the beverage industry.

Every year, the USATT Show brings together small and medium sized importers, distributors, retailers and press professionals of the US wine, spirits and beer industry in New York City for 2 days of learning, buying and selling, networking and fun — all designed to help participants grow their bottom line.

USA Trade Tasting 2018 Exhibitor Registrations Now Open.Become an Exhibitor Now.