What U.S. Retailers Are Looking for and How to Pitch Them

On a daily basis, a wine and liquor retailer/wholesaler must manage a litany of items. Among those things is a slew of requests from a large number of winemakers who are eager to get their offerings on store shelves. When making a pitch to them, its important for a representative to be focused and respectful of the retailers time. Also vital is the ability to make a brand stand out from the rest in a crowded U.S. market.  

Meet the Retailers Needs

One of the most important themes in any sales pitch? Authenticity.  Retailers will be looking for an authentic story that tells of provenance. Theyll pass this along to the customers to help improve a brands identity. Ben von Doussa, USA Market Entry Manager for Wine Australia, likes to remind winemakers that every year the TTB approves a whopping 180,000 to 200,000 SKUs for wine and spirits in the United States. Because of this, a sales pitch must be incredibly compelling in order to garner any attention.

Wine Australias vision, going forward, is for Australia to be recognized as the worlds pre-eminent wine-producing company.Another key to standing out in the U.S. market is to focus on what makes Australian fine wines special when compared to other countries. Discussion of the diverse, unique regionality and superior terroirs found throughout Australia, as well as the skilled and innovative people behind the wine, helps to set Aussie wines apart from those made by other wine-producing hard hitters. The exciting thing about this? Its exactly what U.S. retailers are currently looking for. They want luxury wine offerings with a story and a sense of provenance behind them. Moving forward with this information in hand, Wine Australia is confident that Aussie wines have the capacity to be recognized as the best in the world.

What do U.S. retailers want from the New Australia? Listening to the needs of retailers is important and when von Doussa contacted them to talk specifics, they expressed excitement about the potential of new offerings to revitalize the Australian wine category. There have been approximately 50 Australian brands competing for an ever-shrinking amount of American shelf space over the past years. Retailers are looking for something new to attract customersattention.  

The story of origin is critically important in these new brands. Wine consumers want to purchase wine with a sense of place. As they open a bottle over dinner with friends, they want to be able to discuss where the grapes were grown, the purity of the water used to grow them and the growing conditions that make that region different from the rest.

Authenticity is also a significant factor to consider. When entry-level brands flooded into the U.S. wine market, it resulted in damage to the overall image of the Australian wine industry among American consumers. Retailers decided that most Australian brands werent able to deliver the kind of quality-to-price ratio that they needed. Margins matter, and representatives must demonstrate that offerings from the Australian category are capable of delivering the margins seen by other segments such as California or Europe. Its no longer acceptable for fine Australian wines to be perceived as an entry-level product.

In forming a sales pitch, there should be three areas of focus. Lead with all the specifics that make a wine unique. Media ratings from third-party sources like Wine Spectator are highly valued in the U.S. market. In addition to this, provenance, authenticity and a wines extraordinary value through luxury price points will help build a story that retailers want to hear. U.S. retailers are very motivated by driving margin, especially with the online competition that exists in the wine market. To top off the triad of sales pitch organization, offering regional exclusives is an excellent strategy to help build a relationship with various retailers.

Know the Customer

As wine representatives pitch various retailers, their presentation should vary according to the needs of each individual business. These needs are defined by the shopping behaviors of the customer base of that retailer. For instance, warehouse club Costco is perhaps the holy grail of accounts for wine brands. This is because they move a high volume of product, selling it to customers who arent concerned with price point and make wine purchases based on reviews and ratings. This differentiates Costco from other clubs such as BJs and Sams. They cater to a customer base that is primarily motivated by price point and is looking for cost-effective wine options.

Apart from Costco, stores with specialty wine programs should be another area of intense focus for winemakers and their representatives. Places like Earth Fare and Wegmans cater to wine-centric customers who love having a good story behind their wine. Customers who frequent specialty wine shops spend lots of time researching online ratings and are drawn to great quality wine with attractive packaging.

Grocery chains can prove to be a tough nut to crack for luxury wine brands, but ignoring them is a grave error. Brands that can break into a grocery store such as Kroger or Publix at a luxury price point will enjoy the ability to move a large amount of product. Grocery stores want quality wine and are happy to provide a selection for their customers who are looking for a higher price point. However, the current selection of Aussie wines being presented at most grocery stores is being sold as entry-level, low-cost offerings. Grocery stores run in contrast with the drug store wine market in the U.S., where customers are primarily motivated by a wines price point and packaging and are typically shopping for the lowest-priced products. These are not the best choice to focus on for sales.

Independent wine retailers such as Sherry-Lehman and Binnys in Chicago provide a market where price point is not an issue for the clientele. These kinds of retailers sell to a customer that is focused on ratings, as well as a wines story. Before making a choice, these customers need to know where their wine is from, how it was made and what makes it different from the brand sitting directly next to it on the shelf.  

As years go by, more and more of the wine market is playing out on the internet. Sites such as Wine.com and WTSO cater to customers who do intensive research before making a wine purchase. Ratings play heavily with these customers, and they are interested to know the story behind any brand they consider buying. Price point is not a leading priority for online wine customers.

Wine and liquor chains with multiple locations such as ABC or Apple Jack function similarly to specialty grocery stores. They market wine by placing a spotlight on ratings and the story. Attractive packaging also works to garner the attention of customers in these stores. Small mom and pop stores cater to customers who are primarily focused on ratings and packaging. Although the price point isnt a big concern, mom and pop stores can prove to be challenging due to low-volume sales. A supplier will need to cover extensive ground to reach substantial numbers with independent retail stores.

Success in the U.S. wine market truly comes down to research and preparation. Price points are best determined by looking at the competition. Winemakers and their representatives must have a unique, compelling story preparedone that makes the retailer and the customer feel a connection with a given brand. Representatives must arrive at each store with an understanding of what aspects of wine purchasing are important to that specific customer base. Keeping these things in mind will greatly increase a brands chances of edging out the international competition in the teeming and ever-changing U.S. market.    

2018 Exhibitor Super Early Bird Registration Is Now Open. Secure Your Best Price Now And Grow In Us Market.

Heritage Distilling Company – Brand Pitch session at USATT 2016

Heritage Distilling Company. (HDC) is the most awarded craft distillery in North America 2 years in a row from the American Distilling Institute. HDC makes vodkas, gins, and whiskeys including over 24 naturally flavored vodkas.

More information about Heritage Distilling Company can be found at Heritage Distiling and about Brand Pitch sessions at www.usatradetasting.com

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.

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.

 

2018 Exhibitor Super Early Bird Registration Is Now Open. Secure Your Best Price Now And Grow In Us Market.

 

 

Marauda Rum – Brand Pitch session at USATT 2016

Marauda rum is the independently owned and operated producer of Marauda Steelpan Rum, launched in November 2015. Steelpan has become 2015’s most awarded spirit in the world, with 14 medals.

More information about Marauda Rum can be found at Marauda Rum and about Brand Pitch sessions at www.usatradetasting.com

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.

Marauda RumWith 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.

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.

 

2018 Exhibitor Super Early Bird Registration Is Now Open. Secure Your Best Price Now And Grow In Us Market.

Standard Spirit Distillery – Brand Pitch Session at USATT 2016

“Originally distilling in Brooklyn for over a decade has shaped our entire process from mash to still construction making a truly original small batch handcrafted spirit. Our Rye & Corn Heartcut Moonshine is made from local NY rye and corn making a full bodied and smooth grain forward spirit. And our Rye & Oak Wormwood Craft Absinthe focuses on the essence of absinthe – wormwood. Unlike traditional absinthe, our wormwood spirit is distilled and oak aged to finish like a whiskey – no anise or licorice – bottling the heart of whiskey and the feel of absinthe. This is the mark of Standard Spirit Distillery, giving you something you won’t find anywhere else by redefining what spirits can be and setting a new standard.”

More information about Standard Spirit Distillery can be found at Standard Spirit Distillery and about Brand Pitch sessions at www.usatradetasting.com

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.

If you are a wine, beer or spirits producer (domestic or international) or an USA importer looking to grow state distribution, USATT is the perfect platform to help you connect with state distributors, importers and retailers in USA. Exhibitor registrations are now open. Learn more about pricing and how to exhibit here.

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.

2018 Exhibitor Super Early Bird Registration Is Now Open. Secure Your Best Price Now And Grow In Us Market.

Koelenhof Winery – Brand Pitch Session at USATT 2016

Koelenhof Winery emerged from humble beginnings as a bulk wine producer. The winery was established in 1941, with the De Vries family at the helm. Members of the family continue to play an integral role at the winery, supported by a dedicated team of staff and loyal partners worldwide. Recently awarded South Africa’s Best Value Cellar Overall offering superb quality married with excellent value.

More information about Koelenhof Winery can be found at Koelenhof Winery  and about Brand Pitch sessions at  www.usatradetasting.com

 

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.

Koelenhof WineryWith 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.

If you are a wine, beer or spirits producer (domestic or international) or an USA importer looking to grow state distribution, USATT is the perfect platform to help you connect with state distributors, importers and retailers in USA. Exhibitor registrations are now open. Learn more about pricing and how to exhibit here.

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.

2018 Exhibitor Super Early Bird Registration Is Now Open. Secure Your Best Price Now And Grow In Us Market.

 

UniWines – Brand Pitch Session at USATT 2016

Through a consumer driven approach and strong company values, uniWines Vineyards have grown to be one of the top 5 largest primary producers in SA in under ten years. Our broad one-stop-shop portfolio includes everything from bulk and bottled wine, to craft beer and artisan Grappa. We aim to establish long-term, mutually beneficial partnerships and have done so in more than 20 countries worldwide.

More information about uniWines can be found at uniWines and about Brand Pitch sessions at  www.usatradetasting.com

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.

uniwinesWith 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.

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.

 

2018 Exhibitor Super Early Bird Registration Is Now Open. Secure Your Best Price Now And Grow In Us Market.