Do Wine Ratings Still Matter?

Wine RatingsIn a recent post by The Post and Courier on wine ratings and how they used to help wine retailers drive sales, we can clearly see how wine ratings and reviews by friends is helping consumers decide which wine they should buy.

Here is a brief on the article that was published by them on August 24.

Wine critics and the scores they assign to bottles have declined in prestige so precipitously that a recent in-house study at Whole Foods Market showed customers are more likely to make buying decisions based on friends’, relatives’ and salespeople’s suggestions.

At first glance, it appears this is exactly the scenario that wine makers and distributors desired. Throughout the 1990s, the industry lamented how much power was bound up in point ratings that reflected one man’s personal preferences: “Retailers used (scores) instead of training their staff and learning the wines themselves,” recalled wine writer Jordan Mackay, who this afternoon moderated the BevCon Charleston panel on calibrating drinker interests in a post-critic world.

Mackay was joined by Grassroots Wines’ Harry Root; master sommelier Bobby Stuckey and Whole Foods’ Devon Broglie, who shared the market data. “The future is not in scores,” Brogile said.

But it turns out that wine ratings and scores were helpful in ways that wine professionals may not have appreciated during the dual reign of Robert Parker and Larry Stone.

“There’s a whole generation that only knows about the negatives of the critic,” Stuckey said. “They say, ‘oh, I’m so happy Parker is irrelevant.’ But he was being an advocate of all of this. Whether you liked his power or not, it was amazing. He’d go very deep, and you could see the excitement of the consumer.” […] Read full article

On the flip side…

We think wine ratings still matter for trade as it helps you with extra points when you are pitching your product to a retailer. Read this article produced by BTN on why product ratings still matter in trade.

For brands entering new markets it is often difficult to compete against larger companies, especially when unknown labels are allocated to retail shelves packed with competing varieties. Without a clear selling point or increased brand visibility from innovative programming, small and medium sized companies have a hard time winning over new markets.

Big brand name alcoholic beverages are able to rely on their reputation as a category leader to win-over the average costumer. Their international marketing teams have built a tremendous amount of value over decades of hard work and retailers carry them because their market share rarely changes by wide margins year after year. They dependably pull high volume traffic into bottle-shops (and chain stores) on a regular basis which establishes steady cash flow the retailer can depend on.

Unfamiliar brand names do not have the same luxury and must develop their reputation as a high-performing label in order to secure their position across their retail accounts. Often, ratings displayed on shelf-talkers or bottle hangers are adopted as a brand’s best chance at focusing attention on their label because they are a cost friendly option that effectively promotes a notion of perceived value to customers.

In other words, ratings act as a door opener for small and medium alcoholic beverage brands looking to compete against bigger suppliers in new markets, but should wineries, breweries and distilleries really buy into the phenomenon?

Let’s discuss this question in an open format at USATT’s office hours sessions where other brand owners, distributors and even retailers themselves can help us answer the question. If you have more questions like that and need help, feel free to ask your question now and we will post it in USATT’s community and email you the answer report.

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.

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A Community Of Beer, Spirits and Wine Importers and Distributors Announced

Welcome to Beer, Spirits and Wine Importers and Distributors community group. This is a group where you can ask any questions about sales, marketing and distribution about the US market and we will try and answer that for you and involve experts to help answer that question. We also aim to connect you all with each other so you can network and grow. Please don’t promote your brands or services, lets try and ask questions or share some insights or information that you think will be beneficial to other members. Thank you and hope we all can stay connected here.

USATT March 23 - 2016-1-15 spirits and wine importers

With the launch of office hours at USA Trade Tasting, we will bring forward the questions and discussions of the facebook group at the conference.

USATT’s Office Hours sessions give you a chance to talk one-on-one with speakers and mentors. We bring in dozens of experts so you can get targeted advice on everything from sales and distribution to operations and management.

USA Trade Tasting and conference focused exclusively on the Wine, Craft Beer, Cider and Spirits industry in USA.

The USA alcoholic beverage industry has shown steady growth for more than a decade, including explosive growth within the craft beer and spirits industries.

USA producers and international brands looking to expand in USA are in need of a dynamic business event that provides an opportunity to share their latest products and services, learn from experienced industry leaders and connect with new distribution contacts.

Get the conversation started and ask your beer, spirits and wine importers or distribution business question here.

ask-question spirits and wine importers

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.

USA Trade Tasting 2017 Buyers Registration Now Open RSVP NOW

Looking To Grow Distribution in USA?

Then get involved with the USA Trade Tasting 17. Book your exhibitor spot by March 20, 2017.

USA Trade Tasting (USATT) is an annual trade only event in New York city helping producers connect with wine, beer, spirits importers, distributors, retailers and press of USA. Meet Importers, State Distributors, Retailers and Press of USA in New York City.

Eventbrite - 2017 USA Trade Tasting - Exhibitor Registration Portal Book By March 20,2017

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.

USA Trade Tasting 2017 Buyers Registration Now Open. RSVP NOW

 

 

How to Sell Your Wine, Beer and Spirits Direct to Restaurants and Sommeliers

Unique Partnership between USATT and iSanté Magazine Facilitates Direct Wine Sales to Restaurants

isante - Beer and Spirits

iSanté and USA Trade Tasting have partnered to provide wine brand owners with an innovative sales solution which gives them direct access to restaurant trade.

Leveraging the strengths of the USATT Direct platform and the influence of iSante Magazine’s network, brand owners looking to penetrate new on-premise markets will be able to access a wide range of influential decision makers like never before.

The USATT Direct platform, which utilizes MHW, ltd.’s services, gives restaurant owners the power to immediately fulfill their purchase orders from wineries around the world.  By pairing this service with the trade network of Sommeliers and Restauranteurs that iSante Magazine represents, brand owners will have unprecedented power to generate a streamlined sales model that directly targets the restaurant trade.

“The market has always needed a program like this in place,” said USA Trade Tasting President, Sid Patel. “Building relationships across multiple tiers has been something of a nightmare for international suppliers and one of the biggest problems for wine brand owners is generating trade interest on the ground. Both USATT and iSanté have been working tirelessly to connect the global retail trade, and we believe our partnership is a big step forward.   For restaurant owners to finally be able to seamlessly source new products directly from the supplier is huge.”

For restaurant owners and sommeliers, the partnership will allow them to change the way they look at sourcing new brands.  Because the USATT direct program is structured in such a way that allows them to work with any international brand, it will also give them a much needed increase in variety to consider.

For brand owners and suppliers, the partnership greatly increases their ability to convince VIP accounts to take on their labels.  With the logistical support of MHW and USATT, as well as the media presence and network of iSanté, brand owners will have the necessary influence to confidently conduct business and directly service the on-premise trade.

USA Trade Tasting (USATT) is an annual adult beverage trade trade tasting and business conference where brand owners can connect with importers, state distributors, retailers and press of USA. 2017 USATT will be hosted in New York City on May 16-17. Backed with conference sessions, USATT helps exhibitors develop their sales network and adopt successful distribution strategies.

With instructional seminars exploring practical ways to address the current market, executives from some of the country’s leading companies will present their tried and true blue-prints to successfully maneuvering in the US industry. Get involved with 2017 USATT and grow your distribution.

USATT’s Office Hours sessions give you a chance to talk one-on-one with speakers and mentors. We bring in dozens of experts so you can get targeted advice on everything from sales and distribution to operations and management.

USA Trade Tasting and conference focused exclusively on the Wine, Craft Beer, Cider and Spirits industry in USA.

If you are a wine, beer or spirits producer or an USA importer looking to grow, USATT is the perfect platform to help you connect with state distributors, importers and retailers in USA.

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.

USA Trade Tasting 2017 Buyers Registration Now Open RSVP NOW

Top 10 Mistakes Export Brands Make When Entering the US Market

With proper preparation and guidance, the US market can be a lucrative business venture for international wine, beer and spirit brand owners.

In today’s competitive market, it is important to recognize that U.S. importers and distributors are tenaciously trying to minimize risk. For international brands trying to find new partners, it can be very difficult to penetrate the market as each potential partner will scrutinize their brands to ensure that they are positioned to sell through and guarantee repeat inventory orders.

Your task as their supply partner is to provide them assurances that you understand what it means to be successful in the US market and that you have the necessary resources to implement a winning go-to market strategy.

With proper preparation and guidance, the US market can be a lucrative business venture for international brand owners. However, prepared as you might think you are, sometimes your targeted partners aren’t interested because you have made one crucial mistake.

So, What steps can you take to successfully prepare your brand for the US market?

BTN gets insight from Steve Raye, President of Bevology Inc, on the top ten most common mistakes international wine, beer and spirit brands make when trying to enter the US market.

1. Doing it By Yourself

The first step to becoming successful in the US market is to hire someone who ACTUALLY understands the US market. It is an incredibly complex business landscape and thinking that you can do it all by yourself is a big mistake.

You should look at hiring someone who not only knows and understands the US market, but also has a deep experience managing import brand introductions. While some professionals may think they understand the US market, they may not be practiced in managing all of the challenges import brands face.

In order to avoid costly mistakes that can set you back months or impede your ability to properly market your brand, consider hiring someone who can prioritize your checklist and make sure that you are doing the right things in the right order.

2. Thinking Distributors Will Build Your Brand

The simple truth is that distributors will not help you build your brand. US distributors have their hands full with their current suppliers and they expect you to do all of the ground work to get your brand off to a strong start.

A good way to ensure you can build your brand as you get going is to set realistic expectations. You don’t want to set 100,000 case goals in a foreign market where you have no history or brand recognition. It just isn’t realistic and both you and your distributor will likely be disappointed by your performance.

If you set expectations that are easily achievable, you are more like to satisfy your partners by showing them that you are reaching your target depletions. Building your brand is your responsibility. If you commit to providing the resources and staff to drive distribution and sell through your retail accounts, you will most likely surpass your goals and give your distributor and retail partners every reason to give you more accounts and up your volume.

3. Launching Too Big and Too Fast

Don’t try and “paint” the states. The US is composed of 52 different markets. You have to consider each state, plus Washington DC and Montgomerie County, as independent regulatory entities and understand the rules and regulations of each.

To try and launch a national brand is like trying to launch in 52 different countries at the same time. You may want to be in New York and California, but they are as fundamentally different as Sweden is to Germany […] Continue reading at source Beverage Trade Network Academy

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.

USA Trade Tasting 2017 Buyers Registration Now Open RSVP NOW

 

 

What Are Wine and Spirits Retailers Really Looking For?

Michael A. Berkoff, CEO of BevMax, a wine and spirits retailer based in CT, USA on what a US wine and spirits retailers like himself is really looking for.

Michael Berkoff, CEO, BevMax - Wine and Spirits Retailers

Michael Berkoff, CEO, BevMax

Michael A. Berkoff, CEO of BevMax and fourth-generation retailer gives insights to Importers and Distributors on what a US wine and spirits retailers like himself is really looking for. Berkoff, who has more than 35 years of experience in the liquor retail industry, runs the company’s day-to-day activities via its numerous departments.

USATT: What’s the most important thing distributor’s should know when talking with new accounts?

Berkoff: Understand my business. When calling on accounts, it’s important to understand what kind of promotions we like to participate in, how and how often (or not at all) the account likes to be visited or contacted by their suppliers, what the customer profiles are for their different stores and how account-specific supplier programs are developed.

 

USATT: What advice can you give distributors looking to pitch a new brand.

Berkoff: Here are 4 main things that I am interested to hear from a distributor when they are pitching me a new brand.

1. Why do I need this product and where does it fit..what makes it different.
2. What sets that product apart from the competitors in that category or the niche.
3. What is the marketing plan that brand owners have and how will distributors support it along with the brand owner.
4. We are looking at what support is provided. For example, in our store the most important thing for us is getting ‘liquid to lips’ and that is doing in store tastings.

If the above is met, we can at least consider and are willing to take the product into our stores and give the product a placement. Once that is done, we look at the product report and see how it moves over 30 days. As an example we are looking to sell 12 bottles in a month at the very least. If this does not happen, we need to replace the product and give a new brand the same chance.

Distributors can join USATT’s office hour sessions to continue the dialogue on how other distributors are supporting their wine and spirits retailers in new brand introductions.

wine-retailers

More about Wholesaler’s Office Hour Session:

USATT’s Office Hours sessions give you a chance to talk one-on-one with speakers and mentors. We bring in dozens of experts so you can get targeted advice on everything from sales and distribution to operations and management. As a wholesaler you will be able to learn effective techniques on pitching your portfolio to wine and spirits retailers.

Who:

Office Hours are for Importers, Distributors, Retailers and Suppliers who want informed feedback on business ideas and challenges. Our mentors have real-world expertise in a range of topics.

What:

There will be 4 sessions, each of an hour’s duration. If you are an importer, you are recommended to attend the Import business office hour session. If you are a distributor, you are recommended to attend the Distribution business office hour session and so on. Each session will have experts from your domain.

For example: The Distributor Office Hour session will have one expert from sales, one from management, one from legal and one from operations. This will allow you to ask questions ranging from sales to operations about your distribution business.

Seats are limited to 200 people per session. You must pre-register and select your office hour sessions.

When:

Distributor’s Office Hour Session: May 16, 1pm to 2pm.

Importer’s Office Hour Session: May 16, 4pm to 5pm.

Supplier’s Office Hour Session: May 17, 9.30am to 10.30am.

Retailer’s Office Hour Session: May 16, 1pm to 2pm.

Set up:

The set up is a mix of class room and chair-only set up. Those who need to work on laptops may sit on the chairs that have desks with them.

What it’s not:

1) We’re committed to creating a lively learning atmosphere, and we require that all participants abide by our code of conduct. These conversations are fun, but Office Hours is not a speed-dating event.

2) It’s also not a pitching event; mentors appreciate your questions, not requests for taking your brand.

3) It’s not one to one, you will be in a session room of 200 people and your questions will be open and in public. This is an open session where you will also benefit from other attendees’ questions.

Why:

We’re excited to host this format as a way of helping you learn about solutions for real-world business problems and ask questions related to your business.

Moderator: Steve Raye, President of Bevology Inc.

Wine Import Business

Steve Raye is President of Bevology, a marketing consulting company specializing in spirits and wine. Steve has more than two decades of Drinks Industry experience, beginning with Diageo-predecessor Heublein. As a Managing Partner of Brand Action Team for ten years, he specialized in helping new-to-the-U.S. brands manage their entry into the American market.

On the wine side Steve also has significant experience working with country and regional wine trade promotion agencies including Austria, Australia, Chile, Spain, Santorini and Ribera del Duero and Rueda. He is also a consultant to Vinitaly and has managed U.S. trade PR for ProWein. On the spirits side he directed the entire brand development from concept through design, launch, and execution for Singani 63 from Bolivia and Pisco Portón from Peru. Steve is a recognized thought leader who writes and speaks on the issues driving the American Drinks market. He has spoken at Vinitaly, Wine2Wine, Vino2016, London Wine Fair, WSWA, U.S. Drinks Conference, Tales of the Cocktail. Join the office hours at USATT

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.

USA Trade Tasting 2017 Buyers Registration Now Open RSVP NOW