Sales may be one of the world’s oldest professions but it’s certainly not the easiest. To be able to sell a product or a service to someone takes a special individual. A good salesperson is persistent, resourceful and passionate. All quality traits that lead to success in Sales.
But your sales acumen is really put to the test when applying for that killer job. Instead of a product or service, now you’re having to sell YOURSELF to an employer. A good salesperson should never have a problem finding or creating a job. However, I’ve met individuals who had great skills as a salesperson, but forgot to bring those skills to the interview.
The landscape of the craft beer industry is changing everyday here in the U.S. As smaller breweries establish themselves in the market, BIG BEER is taking advantage with one buy-out after another. [AB Buys Devils Backbone Brewing Co.] What does it all mean? The growth of craft beer isn’t slowing down anytime soon. It’s a good time to be in Sales for the craft beer industry!
Craft Brewery Sales Strategy
There really is no one-size-fits-all sales strategy for the brewery business since Section 3 of the 21st Amendment gave the power of control for alcohol to the states. The result is a variety of industry regulations, differing from state to state. These regulations affect how a brewery will navigate their sales strategy in and out of state lines.
With the complexity of sales and distribution for the craft beer industry, not every sales job is going to have the same responsibilities. However, the requirements and education needed will most likely be the same across the board. A craft brewer who is allowed to self-distribute in their state, will sell directly to the consumer, either by brewpub, taproom or local accounts. On the other hand, a brewery may be restricted from direct sales because of the Three-Tier-System and depend upon a distributor for product sales. You will need to know the alcohol laws in your state to determine if you look for a sales job with a brewery, a distributor or both.
Job Description For A Brewery Sales Representative
Sales Representatives typically cover a territory that requires a certain amount of daily travel. Depending on the size of the territory, you may work directly from home or start your day from the brewery. The larger the brewery, the larger the sales team who are responsible for both “on-premise” (restaurant) and “off-premise” (retail) accounts.
As mentioned before, depending upon the alcohol regulations in the state where you work, the daily responsibilities of a brewery salesperson may differ from brewery to brewery. We looked at the hundreds of Sales Representative job listings breweries have posted with us and came up with a general list of essential duties.
Essential Duties of a Craft Brewery Sales Representative
- Observe all state and federal laws for the sale, merchandising, and promotion of brewery products.
- Achieve sales goals for revenue and volume growth.
- Visiting brewery accounts, tracking and monitoring sales growth.
- Submitting sales reports.
- Opening new accounts.
- Assisting distributor partners in promoting sales and marketing programs.
- Implementing sales and marketing programs for the brewery portfolio.
Breweries will also post the job requirements for the Sales Representative position, to weed out applicants who don’t fit their criteria. Breweries often require applicants to have two or more years experience in the beverage industry. If you already have that experience with a brewery or distributor, it’s definitely a plus.
Here is a recent Sales Representative “Job Overview” from a job listing by Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project;
The Colorado Brewery Sales Representative (“CO Sales Rep”) sells Crooked Stave’s products by interacting with established customers and developing new market growth. The position is responsible for ensuring that sales goals are met by strategically increasing sales volume through sustainable growth. This position involves a considerable amount of time in the field visiting accounts, educating and building existing and new relationships in order to forge strong partnerships.
Most likely, you will read the requirement of “must have excellent communication skills, and strong negotiation skills,” etc. Don’t overlook these as job-requirement-jargon. Always give the employer exactly what they ask for, so be sure to highlight communication and negotiation skills in your resume and/or cover letter. Then, when you get the interview, bring up examples of these skills. Remember, you’re selling YOU.
Benefits of Working As A Sales Rep In Craft Beer
What if you’re the greatest salesperson on the planet, but you have no experience in the beverage industry? Can you still work for craft beer? Absolutely! In Cindy Molchany’s The Ultimate Guide To A Career in Craft Beer ebook, she makes the observation, “ the craft beer industry tends to celebrate and reward talent and passion just as much as education and experience. If you’re passionate, if you’re open to being taught, and if you’re not afraid of hard work, there is usually a position for you.”
If you have no previous beverage experience, be sure to highlight your transferable skills. Transferable skills? These are skills you’ve learned in one industry that carry over into a different industry. [How Understanding Your Transferable Skills Can Get You A Job]
We don’t know many people who wouldn’t LOVE to work in craft beer. Being a Sales Representative for a brewery definitely has it’s perks. Here’s three we thought of, off the top of our heads;
- Flexibility. As long as goals are met, a Sales Rep job is great for someone who likes to work independently and have a dynamic work schedule.
- Promoting & selling craft beer is a lot more fun than… selling brake pads!
- If you have a passion for craft beer, a good personality, and enjoy helping people, then you can make a good career.
Ready to start a career as a Sales Rep in the craft beer industry? Head on over to our Craft Beer Jobs Page, scroll our list of job openings, and apply, Cheers!