Summer is here. Officially not yet, but the weather says different. Memorial Day has come and gone and all over America the summer booze season is upon us. Typing as I am flying to our NYC office a few story lines are emerging already. Rosé is hot but not sun hot. Still popular but not like in years past. Makers are getting more impatient for sales because there are more new makers in the game stealing mind share. Finally- Gig selling is a real thing and happening all over America, and now across the beer, wine, and spirit category.
Rosé- Rosé has been the shiny penny for at least 4 years now. Rosé was and is so hot that every restaurant has a WBG placement on the menu and every wine shop has 5 case stacking on the floor. The dirty little secret is that as good as your rosé is, or you perceive it to be, it is still a price game. We at BevStrat get emails and power point decks all day /every day from makers that have the “best” rosé. The US consumer does not care if you are Austrian, French or California grapes, but rather care very much if they bottle price is 7.00-12.99. This price segment is the only rosé category that is growing currently. The American consumer does not care if you are imported or your wine was walked here from California over a path paved with gold. The price point is the price point. A few years ago there was such a mad rush for rosé that price was 3rd on the decision tree and all price points sold, now, choice drives up selection and down price points. To all makers- read above, and than read it again.
The impatient maker- 7 years, 7 years, 7 years. We are running into this a lot lately and it needs to be mentioned. The Casa Amigos sale and the success of Whispering Angel, etc have falsely made the maker think that this is the norm and not the abnormal. I have spoken for years about the 50,000 brands trying to come to market and the 500 that are regularly selling in market. If you are not one of the 500 that are killing it, you need to buckle in for the long haul. We are getting a flurry of makers that have what we in the office call, CAS (Casa Amigos Syndrome), The illness that comes with thinking that there is one billion dollars waiting for you when you hit the 60,000 case mark. Just not possible. We have recently purged a few makers, and it was not easy, when the product expectation does not meet the market reality. The market is slow, unforgiving, and dominated by big distribution in the key market states. Often sales are slowed by those very distributors that are taking share of mind just to slow your brand down. Real life Godfather stuff. A patient maker is a successful maker and eventually sales/ time/ cases will all be in line with expectation.
The Gig Selling model – BevStrat (us) has sellers all over America. We position our sales teams to mirror the states where the majority of selling traction exists. We cover the other states but traditionally that is mostly on a need to activate basis. One thing we are toying with is our Gig sales teams. It works for Uber, Postmates, and others- why couldn’t it work with adult beverage sales people? Imagine a workforce that “logs-in” when they want to work and “logs-off” when they do not want to work. You can cut down on wasted time and wasted payroll and amp up the percentage of sales to payroll equation that is often used as a measuring stick. We are beta testing Gig sales teams in Vegas, LA, NY and MN and are having some good success there with some strong depletions. It turns out sales people are very happy when they can work the brands they want in the time that they want. Stay tuned for more on that.
So as Summer takes its turn at the plate a few final thoughts. More and more brands enter the market every day but more and more drinkers do not. In fact, as pot works on becoming more legal the liquor space is going to have a seismic shift. Not only does a brand owner need to fight their fellow brand owner in a specific category, but now pot is in the ring as well looking to tag in. Enjoy your summer my readers it is just training wheels for the holiday season 2018. Winter sales are made on Summer placements.