How Importers and Distributors Can Build a Strong Sales Force

At the USATT17 Conference, Josh Wand, Founder of BevForce, shared his insights on how importers and distributors can build a strong sales force for the U.S. market. As Wand explained, it’s all about hiring the best team possible. he outlined two of the keys to employee retention: offering fair market value compensation and building a healthy, positive sales culture.

About Josh Wand :

Josh Wand is the Founder & Motivator in Chief of BevForce, a boutique recruiting and staffing agency that specializes in hiring strategies and organizational design for beverage companies. Wand developed BevForce to provide the beverage industry with a full-service hiring and job search platform that connects good people to great jobs.

BevForce is a comprehensive recruiting and staffing resource, providing services including executive recruiting, interim placement and a targeted industry job board at www.BevForce.com. BevForce is headquartered in New York, NY with an additional office in Los Angeles, California.

Prior to creating BevForce, Josh held positions at Southern Wine & SpiritsAV Imports and Sidebar Spirits. His role included business development, management of a national sales and distribution network, staffing the organization and instituting educational training programs for hotels and restaurant groups.

About the USA Trade Tasting:

USATT is an annual show for retailers, sommeliers, bartenders, importers and distributors to network, learn and find new opportunities to grow.

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. Visitor trade registrations are now open.

About the Event Organizer:
Beverage Trade Network (BTN) is a leading online marketing and B2B networking platform servicing suppliers, buyers and beverage professionals in the global beverage industry. BTN provides a selection of sourcing solutions for importers and distributors as well as an extensive range of marketing and distribution services for international suppliers. BTN also runs a line-up of B2B trade shows around the world. For more information about BTN, please visit www.beveragetradenetwork.com

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

7 Ways That Brands Can Optimize Their Domestic and International Logistics

Thomas Barfoed, Managing Director of JF Hillebrand USA, who had discussed the “7 Ways That Brands Can Optimize Their Domestic and International Logistics.” For example, he discussed how small and mid-size brands can optimize their shipments to the U.S., what logistical factors might impact margins and pricing, and how different modes of transportation can impact your go-to-market strategy.

About Thomas Barfoed

Thomas Barfoed is the Managing Director at JF Hillebrand USA, a company specialized in global logistics for wines, spirits, and beer. In the 17 years, he has been with the company, Thomas has held various leadership roles in key wine and spirits markets – starting first in his home country of Denmark, then Russia, Chile, Canada and now in the USA. He credits his time attending high school in Kansas City as part of the reason why the USA has always held a special interest for him; not only because of his experiences then but also for the diverse market and business opportunities today.

“Learning from different cultures and professional environments has always fascinated me and being able to foster development and expand business within those frameworks has become my personal motivation.” In his current role, Thomas oversees all activities involving import, export, domestic transport and integrated beverage logistics in the USA. He is based out of the JF Hillebrand USA headquarters in New Jersey where he lives with his family.

About The USA Trade Tasting:

USATT is an annual show for retailers, sommeliers, bartenders, importers and distributors to network, learn and find new opportunities to grow.

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. Visitor trade registrations are now open.

About the Event Organizer:
Beverage Trade Network (BTN) is a leading online marketing and B2B networking platform servicing suppliers, buyers and beverage professionals in the global beverage industry. BTN provides a selection of sourcing solutions for importers and distributors as well as an extensive range of marketing and distribution services for international suppliers. BTN also runs a line-up of B2B trade shows around the world. For more information about BTN, please visit www.beveragetradenetwork.com 

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

Make Your Wine Store a Lean, Mean, Selling Machine

Stephen Fahy of the Wine Library emphasized that producers always have to be thinking like a marketer. Wine brands, he said, need to take an activist approach to getting noticed within the U.S. marketplace. That means infusing your brand with passion and enthusiasm. And it also means staying one step ahead of what customers want in the marketplace, “Look for new angles, new perspectives, and new opportunities. Always.”

About Stephen Fahy: 

Stephen C. Fahy, DWS is the Sales Director and Senior Buyer at the Wine Library and is passionate about the business of direct-to-consumer wine education and the complete customer service experience. He has proven to be a specialist in finding and promoting a wide range of exciting wines from around the world, working directly with importers, distributors, and the wineries themselves. His palate is widely recognized by an ever-growing local, regional and national consumer base, due in large part to the extraordinary quality of the wines he selects to put on offer, and loves the excitement of the business, especially when his contagious enthusiasm spreads to others.

For more than a decade prior to Stephen’s role at the Wine Library, he managed and ran the wine retail programs for another key, large-scale wine merchants in both New Jersey and Manhattan. He also serviced and sold to some of Manhattan’s top restaurants and retailers while a Wine and Spirits Consultant with Winebow.

Stephen has been an active Adjunct Professor teaching “Concepts of the Sommelier” at Montclair State University. This three credit University course grounds students in the principles of wine tasting, key varietal and regional knowledge, and the service expectations of the wine professional in both on and off-premise settings. Stephen has also been actively consulting with the London-based research and business strategy firm, Wine Intelligence as a Research Associate specializing in the U.S. wine trade and consumer sector.

In 2011, Stephen earned his Diploma in Wine & Spirits (DWS), with Merit, from the Wine & Spirits Education Trust in London. He is the proud father of three girls and with his wife, enjoys the hustle and bustle of the Garden State where he lives, in northern New Jersey.

About USA Trade Tasting:

USATT is an annual show for retailers, sommeliers, bartenders, importers and distributors to network, learn and find new opportunities to grow.

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. Visitor trade registrations are now open.

About the Event Organizer:
Beverage Trade Network (BTN) is a leading online marketing and B2B networking platform servicing suppliers, buyers and beverage professionals in the global beverage industry. BTN provides a selection of sourcing solutions for importers and distributors as well as an extensive range of marketing and distribution services for international suppliers. BTN also runs a line-up of B2B trade shows around the world. For more information about BTN, please visit www.beveragetradenetwork.com 

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

Highlights from Day 2 of USATT 2017

After an exciting first day at the USATT 2017 conference that featured nearly 1,500 attendees, 138 exhibitors and the first-ever public U.S. tasting of wines from Chateau Rongzi in China, the second day continued with two new Master Classes, two VIP expert panels and a number of different speaker presentations focusing on how emerging brands can enter the U.S. wine and spirits market.

The second day kicked off with an interactive audience Q&A that focused on the specific problems and needs of foreign wine and spirits brands attempting to enter the U.S. market. The panel, moderated by Steve Raye of Bevology, featured Martin Sinkoff of Frederick Wildman, Michael Votto of Votto Vines, Michael Yurch of Blue Sky Group and Rob Bradshaw of Cape Classics. This group of experienced wine industry veterans shared their perspectives of what importers and distributors are really looking for when selecting a new brand for their portfolio.

As the panelists explained at the outset, importers and distributors get lots of cold calls, so you need to be interesting and stand out. As Rob Bradshaw pointed out, unique stories can instantly connect you with importers and distributors, so you need to make some kind of emotional bond with a buyer. Always have your story ready when talking with importers and distributors. Michael Votto emphasized that you always need to know what your specific category looks like in the U.S market and what your competitors are doing. And Martin Sinkoff suggested that you need to understand where your product fits within an importer’s portfolio.

Along the way, the panel’s participants fielded questions on everything from how global warming and climate change are impacting the wine industry to a discussion of new, non-traditional routes to navigate a very complex U.S. market. Michael Yurch noted that the bigger the distributor’s portfolio, the harder you have to work to become an important part of that portfolio. You need to be your own advocate. The difficulty, says Martin Sinkoff, is that, “The wine business is not one thing. It’s a very complex organism. Each retailer is looking for something different.” So you have to be constantly innovating.

The morning session also featured a Master Class on Portuguese wines, focusing on the wines of the Tejo region. Participants learned about Portugal’s winegrowing tradition and how the wines of the Tejo region are distinct. They also had a unique chance to sample some of the best wines from the region.

As on Day 1, the United States Trade Tasting 2017 event also featured a busy day on the showroom floor. Over 130 exhibitors from 20 countries showcased their products. Alongside wines from traditional wine producing countries like France and Italy were new wines from Eastern Europe (including Slovenia and Moldova), South Africa and China.

USATT 2017

In the afternoon session of the conference, participants had a chance to hear from Thomas Barfoed, Managing Director of JF Hillebrand USA, who discussed the “7 Ways That Brands Can Optimize Their Domestic and International Logistics.” For example, he discussed how small and mid-size brands can optimize their shipments to the U.S., what logistical factors might impact margins and pricing, and how different modes of transportation can impact your go-to-market strategy.

Gerry Schweitzer, the legendary marketing genius behind Leblon Cachaca, made a special appearance in the afternoon. He illustrated the right way to go about pitching a distributor, focusing on how to tell a convincing brand story. Your brand story, he says, has to be compelling, personal and easy to remember. It has to explain why your brand is unique and how to build your brand.

In some cases, as in the example of Leblon, you can own not just a category, but also the entire drink (as in the example of cachaca and the Brazilian caipirinha). Schweitzer provided plenty of relevant marketing examples from Leblon, including many tactics that today’s marketers might refer to as “guerilla marketing” (e.g. re-painting a DHL delivery truck as a hip and trendy cachaca delivery truck).

Richard Halstead, Chief Operating Officer of Wine Intelligence, then gave a talk on, “How to Win Retailers and Influence Them With Effective Merchandising and Programming.” He was joined on stage by Stephen Fahy of Wine Library, who was also a special guest during Day 1 of the event. The two talked about the best strategies and tactics for getting specialist retail stores to carry your specific product.

When thinking about specialist wine retailers that might carry your product, they suggested, it’s important to think in terms of two very different types of consumers – the consumers who are very brand-driven and the ones who are very “involved” and care a lot about how a specific product fits into their lifestyle. In general, these more involved consumers are younger, and they are starting to account for a larger and larger percentage of retail wine consumers.

Then, a press panel on “The Do’s and Don’ts For Getting Press Coverage For Your Brand in the USA” featured moderator Steve Raye of Bevology; Gregg Glaser, Publisher/Editor of Modern Distillery Age; William Tish, Managing Editor of Beverage Media; and David Spencer, Publisher, and Editor of iSante. The panel covered both the big picture view of how to generate media buzz for your product, as well as some of the granular details of marketing, such as how to prepare a pitch e-mail for editors of both online and offline publications.

The afternoon session concluded with a Beaujolais Master Class, in which participants had a chance to re-discover the light red wines of the Beaujolais wine region in France. The Master Class covered the unique characteristics of each of the Beaujolais Crus.

And, of course, the day ended with more activity on the main showroom floor. Even in the last hours of the event, importers and distributors were mingling with the exhibitors, looking for the perfect new product for their portfolio.

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

What Are the Top 5 Challenges in Wine Logistics?

When it comes to logistics and supply chain management, the two biggest challenges that are consistently brought up are optimization and risk management.  Finding the balance between reducing costs, time and inventory to gain competitive advantage while still protecting business from inevitable supply chain disruptions is no easy feat.  Add in multifaceted regulations, a fragile high-value product, and an international transport carrier environment constantly in flux, and you have the complex world of wine logistics.

We can’t talk about this topic without featuring the particular challenges for wine supply chains involving the US.  Now the largest wine consuming country, US beat out France and Italy, with 779 million gallons in 2015 according to the Wine Institute.  It’s easy to see why this is an attractive target market for both foreign and domestic wine producers.

To explore this topic further, we turned to JF Hillebrand, an international logistics provider specialized in beer, wines and spirits to provide industry insight on the key challenges and recommendations for the wine supply chain.

Getting the Most from Each Shipment

Wine by nature is a heavy commodity, 1 kilo to 1 liter, and when you add in wine bottles, packaging and pallets in standard ocean equipment, you have two common scenarios.  The available space in a twenty foot container will limit the load tonnage, and in a forty foot container the road weight allowances in the USA will limit the payload.

So how about shipping just the wine instead?  Bulk shipping has permitted wine shippers around the world to do just that, shifting the bottles and packaging out of the shipping container and to the destination markets.

Innovation in flexitank technology provided shippers a new bulk shipment method, more cost-effective and flexible than existing ISO tanks, which require strict cleaning standards to be met along with unit repositioning to balance the import and export demand.

JF Hillebrand’s VinBulk system more than doubles the capacity of a single twenty foot ocean container, safely transporting up to 24,000 liters of bulk wine compared to 10,584 liters of bottled wine.  It essentially transforms a twenty foot standard container into a bulk liquid transportation device or a bulk wine storage unit in the case of JF Hillebrand’s VinStore.

Reducing Temperature Risk to Product

To state it simply, wine is a temperature sensitive product.  Exposure to daily thermal fluctuations, extreme heat, cold and humidity in transport affects wine in transit, impacting bottled wines and packing or labels the most.  Given the factors of geography and seasonality in the supply chain, owners have had to determine for themselves what level of risk to take on shipping in dry containers or opting for the additional cost of operating refrigerated containers.

Taking the industry lead for temperature risk assessment on beer, wine and spirits, JF Hillebrand developed VinRoute, a predictive risk management tool.  The internal database of shipping routes and historical temperature and humidity data allows shippers to make informed decisions on container equipment selection.

Wine Logistics

Taking it a step further, the company developed VinLiner, a protective liner foil system designed for the alcoholic beverage industry that fits in dry containers, or over individual pallets, to reduce the effect of thermal shocks, extreme temperatures and humidity within a container.  It delivers that sweet spot between optimization and risk mitigation, providing cost savings compared with a traditional operating refrigerated shipping container without the load capacity reduction required in a refrigerated unit.

Keeping Product Safe in the Process  

Smart supply chain strategy should include standard processes and procedures to mitigate risk when possible, as well as insurance against claims and transport liability.

Some precautions are basic, bottled wine shipments require appropriate export packaging as well as container cargo loading, both for product protection and for load weight distribution.

For bulk wine shipments in flexitanks, container selection is a critical component for transport safety.  JF Hillebrand’s on-site technical assistance for container inspection, equipment fitting and loading or discharge operations ensures that product is professionally handled and compliant with local and international transport regulations.

For product protection beyond the supplier’s premises, businesses need to be aware of transport carriers’ limited liability clauses and terms of use.  For any international logistics operation, involving multiple modes of transportation and a sensitive or high-value product, a comprehensive cargo transport insurance policy such as JF Hillebrand’s VInsurance contracts reduce overall exposure in the event something does go wrong.

Staying up to Code

Keeping on top of the latest governmental regulations, including recent directives for USA food safety or maritime law amendments and protocols, is a daunting task for business owners.  Failure to meet deadlines or exact requirements can delay orders in the pipeline, and any loaded container stuck in a port terminal can rack up terminal fines in demurrage or container detention charges, and lead to additional fines or penalties for non-compliance.

Sometimes even the rules themselves can be unclear when new regulation comes into force without a clear and global statement as to its application or enforcement.  One such recent example was the verified gross mass mandate of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea.  The international maritime law amendment required shipments beyond 200 nautical miles offshore to provide the verified gross mass to the vessel and terminal operators prior to vessel loading.  How the weight was to be calculated, verified, transmitted to various ocean shipping carriers and container terminals, and enforced was left to the over 170 member countries that were part of that international convention.

JF Hillebrand took the lead in communicating the latest information to shippers as it took shape in the various countries through its local and global networks, then simply adjusted systems and processes to adapt to the new requirement.  As a result, the compliance deadline came and went without a hitch.

Adapting for the Exceptions  

With a category so broad as wine, which encompasses everyday sips to high-value one-of-a-kind bottles, information and supply chain visibility requirements are going to likewise need to be tailored to individual companies and their business models.

Investing and developing in-house information platforms for logistics and specific products can be cost-prohibitive and not always scalable in the case of acquisitions or changing industry requirements.  Outsourcing those activities with a logistics partner with strong IT platforms and experience in global wine markets has clear advantages.

JF Hillebrand pioneered AXIS, a custom order management systems specifically for beer, wine and spirits logistics, tailored to the appropriate level per client.  Owners of niche wine brands have real-time visibility to order flows, documentation, automated daily reporting and lead time analysis, while large-scale global brands owners participate in collaborative supply chain solutions that include advanced inventory management and full-scale forecasting, orders and stock control.

The Takeaway

Complex, demand-sensitive wine supply networks need both smart strategies and safety nets to stay efficient, adaptable and deliver results.  Thanks to technology and data that make predictive analysis a reality, third-party logistics providers can work in partnership with wine shippers to deliver sophisticated and customized solutions.  If winemaking is an art, then wine supply chain logistics is definitely a science.

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

It’s Revolution Time: Make your “Wine Store” a Lean, Mean, Selling Machine: Marketing that will Crush your Competition and Win Customers for Life.

Wine

(Image: Stephen Fahy)

Join Stephen Fahy, who is the Sales Director and Senior Buyer at the Wine Library in New York When he takes the stage at USA Trade Tasting Conference and gives his keynote on how wine & liquor store owners can create long term customers and grow their top line. Stephen Fahy is passionate about the business of direct-to-consumer wine education and the complete customer service experience. He has proven to be a specialist in finding and promoting a wide range of exciting wines from around the world, working directly with importers, distributors, and the wineries themselves. His palate is widely recognized by an ever-growing local, regional and national consumer base, due in large part to the extraordinary quality of the wines he selects to put on offer, and loves the excitement of the business, especially when his contagious enthusiasm spreads to others.

For more than a decade prior to Stephen’s role at the Wine Library, he managed and ran the wine retail programs for other key, large scale wine merchants in both New Jersey and Manhattan. He also serviced and sold to some of Manhattan’s top restaurants and retailers while a Wine and Spirits Consultant with Winebow.

Stephen has been an active Adjunct Professor teaching “Concepts of the Sommelier” at Montclair State University. This three credit University course grounds students in the principles of wine tasting, key varietal and regional knowledge, and the service expectations of the wine professional in both on and off-premise settings. Stephen has also been actively consulting with the London-based research and business strategy firm, Wine Intelligence as a Research Associate specializing in the U.S. wine trade and consumer sector.

In 2011, Stephen earned his Diploma in Wine & Spirits (DWS), with Merit, from the Wine & Spirits Education Trust in London. He is the proud father of three girls and with his wife, enjoys the hustle and bustle of the Garden State where he lives, in northern New Jersey.

Time & Venue :

The Metropolitan Pavilion in New York City on May 16th at 2.30 pm – 3:00 pm.

Grab your USATT conference passes and learn more from Stephen Fahy about How you can make your “wine store” a lean, mean, selling machine: Marketing that will crush your competition and win customers for life.

Wine

USATT Conference is limited to 300 people only. Register today to confirm your seat and learn all about Sales, Marketing and Distribution. USATT Conference ticket includes your entry into the grand tasting area as well. We hope to see you in NYC. View Speakers | View Full Schedule | Register.

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.

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