The 3 Ways to Increase Brewery Sales

“Money is plentiful for those who understand the simple laws which govern its acquisition.” -George Clayson

Craft beer sales growth had to slow down at some point. Perhaps that point is here for your brewery.

Store shelves aren’t getting any bigger and customers aren’t drinking more beer. Time to put on the thinking cap, get creative and explore new ways to increase the top line sales volume.

In this issue, we’ll review three ways to increase sales and how each can be applied to your beer business.

Business experts have shown that there are only three ways to increase sales. Seems like there should be a million ways to do this, but they fall into just three categories:

  1. Increase the number of customers
  2. Increase rate of sale (how much customers spend when they buy)
  3. Increase the frequency of sales (how often customers buy)

Let’s dig into the details of how to increase your beer sales.

Increase the Number of Customers

If you self-distribute, one approach to increase customers is to identify accounts in your market that don’t buy from you and then work to sell them beer.

You can run buy / no-buy reports, develop a targeted list of accounts that aren’t currently buying. This works, if you make the list and work the list.

This approach is also effective if you work with outside distributors. Ask them for the buy / no-buy reports. Ask what their plan is to market and sell to the accounts on the list that aren’t buying.

For your taproom, there are lots of ways to increase the number of customers coming to try your beer. Check out the course 7 Ways to Increase Taproom Revenue to get the details.

Increase the Rate of Sale

The rate of sale is how much your customers spend when they buy from you. This is determined by running a report of average sales per delivery for self-distribution, or outside distribution. For your taproom, run the average order per guest.

In my experience, regular customers tend to buy about the same amount every week. There are swings depending on the season or occasion – 4th of July week is crazy busy and the middle of February is slow, for example. Take out the highs lows and you’ll find that customers are in a routine and buy about the same amount every time.

One effective method to increase the rate of sale is to use the upsell. An upsell is a sales technique where the seller suggests additional purchases (upgrades or add-ons) that the customer may like. Amazon is brilliant at upselling customers: “Customers who bought this item also bought these items.”

Think about how you can apply the upsell your beer business. “Customers who bought your IPA also bought your summer seasonal.”

Your current customers are your best customers. They know, like and trust you and they are likely to buy more from you if you suggest products that will help grow their business. The upsell is a great way to increase the rate of sale.

Another idea to increase the rate of sale is to utilize e-commerce in your business. Consider an online list of your beer brands with descriptions, ratings and glamorous pictures.

Think about it this way, your sales person is responsible for selling all your brands. They can’t possibly pitch all the products to the retailer during a sales call. However, if the retailer has the option to browse your products online they may find more of what they need for their business.

If you have a large portfolio of beer products, the e-commerce option may be a good one to increase the rate of sale. Retailers can search your portfolio at their leisure, and in their own time. They don’t need to be rushed during a 15 minute sales call.

Increase the Frequency of Sales

The frequency of sales is how often your customers buy from you. A typical self-distro brewery delivers once a week to smaller accounts and maybe twice a week to larger retailers. Here again, there is a routine to the buying activity: the account places the order on a Tuesday and gets the delivery on a Wednesday. Rinse, wash, repeat.

To increase the frequency of sales, look for ways to give your customers additional buying opportunities.

Email marketing is a great way to announce new products, special offers or seasonal sales. Retailers won’t buy if they don’t know the buying opportunity is out there.

Tell customers about overstocks or discounted items. This gives you another opportunity to increase the frequency of customer purchases.

Another idea is to send targeted offers after a birthday or retailer anniversary. “Happy anniversary – we are celebrating ten years of business together.” Everyone loves an anniversary present, especially if it comes with a deal or new product reminder.

Wrap Up + Action Items

Unfortunately, the store shelves aren’t expanding and customers aren’t buying more beer these days. It’s time for you and your team to think outside the box and explore new ways to increase beer sales.

As business experts have shown us, there are three basic ways to increase sales:

  1. Increase the number of customers: Use the buy / no-buy Reports and create a targeted list of potential new customers.
  2. Increase rate of sale (how much retailers spend when they buy): Train your sales team in the upsell. Think about adding an e-commerce solution to your website – your retailers can shop your brands at their leisure, in their own time, and in their PJs.
  3. Increase the frequency of sales (how often retailers buy): Use email marketing to communicate new products, specials and even wish a retailer a happy anniversary. Retailers won’t buy more frequently unless they know there is a buying opportunity out there. Tell them.

The purpose of this article is to get you thinking about how you can increase sales in your beer business. While there are three main ways to increase sales, there’s no limit to the creativity and good ideas to accomplish the task. Now, get out there and grow that top line revenue.



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