How Breweries Can Get USA Distribution

Insights from Sid Patel, CEO, and Founder of Beverage Trade Network and USA Trade Tasting on How Breweries Can Get US Distribution

As you are planning your next meeting with your US distributor? be sure to go over your checklist and do a thorough review of your accounts. Every meeting counts and making the most of them means knowing what they are looking for. Do everything you can to make your beverage as desirable as possible and project confidence in your product’s ability to succeed (or continue to succeed) in your target markets. Here are a few ‘must-know’ tips to help get your products into the portfolios that matter most:

  1. Use referrals
    When contacting distributors for the first time — if you can’t get a referral, use a success story — distributors love to bet on “winners!”
  2. Good strategic fit/explore niches
    While the brand owner may think you have the greatest opportunity for success, the distributor may not see the strategic fit. Try to find a niche that is not covered by the distributor’s current portfolio.
  3. Brands need to “be wanted”
    Distributors will work harder and do a better job if they “want you,” rather than you “wanting them.”
  4. Try to be “first in.”
    If you are the 3rd Argentine Wine or the 4th Vodka, your chance of success in that house is far less than being first.
  5. Build your brand within a Network
    Selecting a beer house (A-B or M-C) for new wine & spirits and/or selecting a wine & spirits house for new craft beers (Wirtz or Glazers) can lead to better results due to FOCUS, time, energy and share-of-mind.
  6. Self-distribution is an option 
    If you can’t find a distributor who will work your brand, then consider doing it yourself.
  7. Work your brand once you’ve landed 
    Just shipping the brand into the warehouse does not guarantee success. With so many brands in any given house, you need to work every market with the sales force — once per quarter is a minimum visit. In core markets, once per month is a good visit schedule. Make sure you get to retail — don’t spend your entire time in the office — sales are generated on the street.

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