7 Ways That Brands Can Optimize Their Domestic and International Logistics

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.

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 

USATT 2018 Early Bird Exhibitor Registration Now Open. Register Now and Save $800 on your Exhibitor Pricing.

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.    

USATT 2018 Early Bird Exhibitor Registration Now Open. Register Now and Save $800 on your Exhibitor Pricing.

 

What are Wine Distributors Really Looking for?

Get insights from Jim Ryan, SVP of the beer division of Constellation Brands, Giacomo Turone, VP of wine and spirits importer Palm Bay International and Scott Ades, CEO of The Winebow Group on what are wine distributors really looking for.

 

Want to hear more speakers like this?

USATT Conference 2018 will be live in New York City on May 16-17.

Learn from some of the most influential professionals in the beverage industry at the USA Trade Tasting educational conference. These presentations from industry leaders on today’s progressive ideas on marketing, sales and distribution will challenge and inspire you to grow your beverage company.

The conference will have TED-Style talks where speakers will give you an insight into the strategies and standards that the industry’s prominent thinkers are using to shape the marketplace around you.

Who are the Speakers?
Ranging from brand builders to marketing gurus, the educational conference is hosting remarkable experts who exhibit a truly heightened knowledge of the industry to give our visitors a clear understanding of the real life challenges that face them in the marketplace.

Who should attend?
Whether you are an importer, distributor, retailer, craft distillery, craft brewery or a boutique winery that’s just starting out, or work in sales with an importer/distributor or at an established beverage company, or simply wish to expand your skill set and gain a new perspective, USATT Conference is a must-attend event.

Join hundreds of fellow importers, distributors, winemakers, brewmasters, distillers, sales people and marketers at USA Trade Tasting Conference, designed to inspire and empower you with sales and marketing ideas—brought to you by Beverage Trade Network.

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.

 

Learn more about – Preparation to Pitching : How to Get and Grow With Your Distributors By Adam Lambert (Seller of Beer & Spirits)

wine distributors

USATT 2018 Early Bird Exhibitor Registration Now Open. Register Now and Save $800 on your Exhibitor Pricing.

Get Ready for USA Trade Tasting 2017

USATT 2017If you’re hoping to grow your beverage brand by breaking into the U.S. market, your mission is twofold. First: get your product in front of distributors, retailers, and importers. Second: learn as much as you possibly can to fine-tune your marketing strategy, tweak your product and packaging, and craft your communication to importers and distributors.

The United States Trade Tasting Conference provides a platform for you to do it all. Held May 16th and 17th, 2017 at the Metropolitan Pavilion in New York City, the show will bring together wineries, breweries, and distilleries with small- and medium-sized importers, retailers and distributors from the tri-state area, as well as press professionals. Brands that are hoping to grow their distribution in the U.S. will have a platform to show off their product, as well as network with others in the wine, beer, and spirits industry.

Brought to you by the Beverage Trade Network, the USATT 2017 will also feature talks by influential industry heavy-hitters, making it a great way to soak up knowledge from those who have figured out the formula for success in the beverage industry. From a lineup of presentations given by industry leaders at the conference to a Q & A session with experienced mentors, USATT is ideal for those who are serious about growing their brand.

Looking Back at 2016…

USATT 2017

The inaugural USA Trade Tasting Conference in 2016 was an immense success. It featured 180 exhibitors that included organizations from around the world. Wine brands from France, Italy, Australia, Portugal, and other leading wine-growing countries were featured. Attendees also got to taste and experience an assortment of spirits, craft beer, and cider brands. The response was immense, with over 2,000 people in attendance.

“We are extremely pleased with the response we’ve received from the exhibitor’s at USATT’s inaugural event,” said Sid Patel, CEO of Beverage Trade Network and Director of USA Trade Tasting. “The quality of the exhibitors and the satisfaction of the visitors has set the bar extremely high for years to come.”

In addition to giving beverage brands the ability to exhibit their products and network, USATT 2016 featured the wildly popular Brand Pitch Sessions, which gave importers and distributors the chance to experience emerging brands that are entirely new to the U.S. market.

Attendees were also able to attend master classes on topics such as whisky, the wines of South Africa, as well as one presented by the New York Wines Organization.

Topping it all off was the BTN Educational Conference. Chock full of presentations by experts in beverage sales, distribution, and marketing, the conference hosted a wealth of information for companies determined to grow their brands.

…And Forward to 2017

The United States Trade Tasting Conference 2017 promises to be two days of learning experiences, buying, selling, networking with industry peers, and having fun. Here’s an overview of what you can expect from USATT 2017.

Grand Tasting 

The best way to introduce your product to buyers is by giving them a taste, so a presence at the USATT Grand Tasting is a must. Conference attendees will meet beverage innovators and get the chance to taste products from 132 tasting stations. Each setup includes all you need to conduct a tasting; simply bring your product, sample cups, a roll-up banner, and marketing materials to make your table your own. More details about the Grand Tasting are available here.

Conference

USATT 2017USATT is about more than just putting your product out there; it’s also about learning and gaining valuable insight from industry leaders.

The USA Trade Tasting Educational Conference features presentations on things like marketing, sales, and distribution.

From growing your brand to crafting the perfect marketing strategy, the content presented here will inspire you and help you see things from a new perspective. It will also give you the chance to network and exchange ideas with others in the industry. Follow this link to find out more about the USATT Educational Conference.

USATT Show Deals

USATT Show Deals are the two-day only discounts from USATT Exhibitors for attendees of the show from the beverage industry. These are buying opportunities for distributors, importers, retailers, and brokers to get real savings with specials and deals offered only at USATT 2017. These offers are limited to USA Trade Tasting attendees and can be redeemed on the trade show floor, 11:00 am – 6:00 pm on May 16 and May 17, 2017.

Office Hours  

USATT 2017

USATT’s Office Hours is a Q & A session with speakers and mentors who can give you valuable advice on how to best market your new brand. They’ll help you understand things from the perspective of importers and distributors, explaining expectations for new brands and how you can best make an impression during your introductory communication with them. Learning from experienced mentors who can show you the ropes and help you avoid pitfalls is priceless when you’re starting out in the beverage industry. Let them show you the path to success.

USATT 2017

Register Now to be a Part of USATT 2017!

If you’re a domestic or international winery, a craft brewery, or a distillery who would like to meet with and get your product in front of U.S. distributors, retailers, and representatives from the press, USATT is the ideal opportunity for you to do so. It’s also an invaluable source of beverage industry education that can help you create a strategy to get ahead and grow your brand faster. Whether you wish to trade, network, or educate yourself, check out the USATT website for more details on attending and exhibiting.

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 2018 Early Bird Exhibitor Registration Now Open. Register Now and Save $800 on your Exhibitor Pricing.

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How to Get on the Radar Screen of a Wine Distributor or Importer?

At the Conference Sessions for USATT, held at the Metropolitan Pavilion in March 2016, there was a Panel that comprised of Jim Ryan, SVP of the beer division of Constellation Brands, Giacomo Turone, VP of wine and spirits importer Palm Bay International and Scott Ades, CEO of The Winebow Group. They were asked questions relevant to the attending audience comprising of distributors, importers, retailers and producers of alcoholic beverages.

Please read below, one of the questions that was put forth to the panel and their answers.

 QUESTION: “People obviously want to talk to you (as importers or distributors), so how do they get through the firewalls you put up? You’re hammered by phone calls, you can’t take everyone’s call, what can they do?”

 In today’s hyper-competitive market environment, importers and distributors are deluged by calls, as wine brands of all sizes try all types of tactics to get distribution within the all-important U.S. marketplace. So what can these brands really do to capture the attention of importers and distributors?

Scott Ades, CEO of The Winebow Group, suggests that the only way to get noticed is a combination of persistence and creativity. The other trick, he says, is to show importers that you’ve been getting a lot of press and media attention. That will sometimes open the door, since most importers are looking for emerging trends and unknown brands they can turn into a success.

USATT Panel Discussion

The participants of the recent panel discussion at the USATT Conference 2016 agreed, though, that it’s somewhat of a chicken-or-the-egg problem. How do you prove you’re a commercial success before you’re a commercial success? You need to start generating numbers that excite people, and you need to start getting trade media attention. If you can get a few articles written about you, you can tell other people about it.

Jim Ryan, a SVP with the beer division of Constellation Brands, says that smaller bands have to be “tenacious.” You have to be willing to try again and again, until you get a positive response. It also helps to attend industry events, since those are places where you can get face-to-face meetings and set up a display for people to learn about you. He stresses on the importance of being able to pour your product, sample them and speak to potential distributors and importers in a face to face setting. This really helps to make a connection rather than continuing to make cold calls over the phone.

Ultimately, though, finding the importer is not the end, it’s just the start for a new wine brand. They still need a sales solution, a marketing solution and a distribution solution. Too often, they turn to “brand ambassadors” and other “feet on the street” to build the brands. But that’s rarely scalable, and it’s also very expensive.

Giacomo Turone, a VP with the wine and spirits importer Palm Bay International, agrees. He says that brand ambassadors can get spread out too far. And half of their expenses are related to things like meals, hotels and plane trips – activities that are not helping to build the brand. Smaller brands need to focus on scaling, on growing and showing how they are unique within the marketplace. The best way to do that is for the brand owner – such as the founder of the business – to take a more visible role.

Ades also suggests that brands do some careful consideration of their business model and pricing. If you start with a price too low, you can never go higher. The price needs to be a realistic price that will fund your operations going forward. Given the costs of building a brand, Ades says that it’s better to invest in a brand without a brand ambassador.

Putting up real numbers is often the way to get the attention of any importer or distributor. And better yet if you can show velocity or momentum, in the form of sales that are increasing rapidly on a quarterly basis. That’s the best way to build a small brand from the ground up when you may have little initial volume. Thus don’t focus on the level of your sales – focus on the momentum and pace of those sales.

Hear the answer to this question at 22:27 minutes

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 2018 Early Bird Exhibitor Registration Now Open. Register Now and Save $800 on your Exhibitor Pricing.

Tips for Brands Looking for Wine Importers and Distributors in USA

At the Conference Sessions for USATT, held at the Metropolitan Pavilion in March 2016, there was a Panel that comprised of Jim Ryan, SVP of the beer division of Constellation Brands, Giacomo Turone, VP of wine and spirits importer Palm Bay International and Scott Ades, CEO of The Winebow Group. They were asked questions relevant to the attenting audience comprising of retailers, producers, importers and distributors of alcoholic beverages.

In this video Producers get solid tips for brands looking for wine importers and distributors in USA Please read below, one of the questions that was put forth to the panel and their answers.[ Also check out this webinar on How to Presenting your Brands to Wine Importers in USA ]

The Best Way to Pitch a Wine Importer or Distributor

If you’re looking to get your wines or spirits on the shelves of retail stores, you’ll have to know the best way to pitch a wine importer and distributor. You can think of them as the gatekeepers to getting your product on shelves. While they are obviously looking for products that are going to be profitable for them, they also want to hear the stories, expectations, and goals behind your wine.

As Scott Ades, CEO of The Winebow Group, explained, he gets a lot of calls and requests from people who would like to have their wines distributed. Sometimes, in fact, they simply ship bottles directly to him, hopeful that the most direct path is also the best path. But as Ades pointed out, he’s really looking for the “story” behind the wine and the winery. A good storytelling narrative can help to get his attention.

Of course, the situation is different if a wine is already established. In that case, the story may not matter as much as the actual facts about how the wine is already performing. But that’s seldom the case – instead, young unproven products must rely on a host of other factors – including early press coverage, overall competitive position, and pricing to cut through all the clutter.

Often, says Ades, if a wine is in a growing segment that’s not crowded yet, that can make a big difference in getting noticed. Giacomo Turone, a VP with the wine and spirits importer Palm Bay International, agrees. For him, being in a “hot category” is key. He’s looking at products from an overall portfolio perspective, and he’s always looking for emerging categories that are prepared for significant future growth.

To get a sense of where a wine is headed, he’ll take the time to talk to the people behind the brand. Data is important, but the personal characteristics are also important. If the wine is from overseas, he’ll want to see how the wine has performed in that foreign market first. He’ll also try to see if the wine is “press worthy” in terms of being a wine that he can present to the U.S. media. Is there a story already in place, or will he have to work with the wine to develop that whole storytelling narrative?

Finally, Jim Ryan, a SVP with the beer division of Constellation Brands, agrees that a wine doesn’t have to have “big growth” immediately. He tends to think in terms of 3-to-5-year time horizons. For him, the most attractive products to import are ones that are at the high-end, premium segment of the market, since that’s where the most growth is happening right now.

When he’s making the decision about a product, he’s thinking in terms of an entire portfolio. A wine or spirit brand should either complement the entire portfolio, or fill a void (what Ryan refers to as “white space”). As a final consideration, he’ll think about factors like ease of execution (i.e. how easy it is to import) and total investment required.

Ultimately, it all comes down to a single question: Why should a distributor be stocking your product and not somebody else’s? Having a story in place that lays out the expectations and goals of your product, and that helps to position your product as part of a broader portfolio of a wine distributor, can make all the difference.

Here the answer to this question at 3:25 minutes

Join the USATT 17 Conference. Meet state Importers and Distributors, Retailers and Press of USA in New York City to Grow Your Distribution.

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 2018 Early Bird Exhibitor Registration Now Open. Register Now and Save $800 on your Exhibitor Pricing.