There is a funny thing about travel. Travel makes you see the world through a lens that is much bigger than what you are used to.
Said another way, travel can open your eyes to how others live, work, and enjoy life. As it relates to our business, the adult beverage business, looking at other brands, distributors, and suppliers can give you insight to your own business and brand.
I was just in Vienna where I saw Koval whisky in a shop on a random, cobble-stoned street in an obscure part of town. That is totally amazing to me, as my favorite dinner restaurant in NYC cannot get it, but this place in old Europe can.
It spotlights what is wrong with our distribution channels and three tier system as a whole. I speak all over America about the up and coming 4th tier, and how the web changes the game, but the three tier is here now, though flawed, it is something we much work with and within.
Rosen Retail gets calls all the time from orphaned brands. Orphaned brands are brands from small producers that want to make a go at the booze business. What are these brands to do? They are wines, spirits, and beers, and they are usually always artisanal. They are too small to be on the radar with SWS, and too big to be a hobby. What if there was a distribution system that handled brands with efficiency, that worked with 5,000 cases and less in production? What if there was an opportunity for an entrepreneur to create a network of small distributors that sold small brands?
Would that not take care of the common phrase, “it’s $4 cheaper at Costco”? The time is past competing with price on commodity brands.
I always comment about the rules of the game and how if the results suck, then change the rules or change the game.
I believe in my analytical heart that by being small, thinking small, and selling small, you can become big. Fact: there are 160,000 independent retailers in America, and the US Adult Beverage sales are at an all time high. The opportunity is there, just change the game.