The craft beer industry, generally, is a no bullshit zone – people place a premium on sincerity, and can sniff out BS in a conversation as easily as DMS in beer. So how do those on the front lines sell their beer? The short answer: honestly.
I spent a day with Tyler Nelson, a District Manager for San Diego-based Green Flash Brewing Company. He’s been to the brewery twice, but that doesn’t really matter, because his job is to sell beer in the Southeast – mainly Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina – and he knows the area well.
A Georgia native, Tyler is young for his job – attaining it by making connections and learning the industry in a restaurant setting.
We start the day at Tyler’s apartment, where he reviews sales reports in a program called VIP, which is fed via distributors from Tyler’s hundreds of vendors across the Southeast.
VIP allows reps to track their progress to see what’s doing well and what isn’t, and helps them plan their day. Depending on the brewery they represent, reps can be required to track every waking moment of their day, or left to their own devices so long as they function productively.
Tyler is of the latter ilk, and has planned a whirlwind day full of meetings. We’re focusing on a hip part of Atlanta with a lot of taps per square mile, though some days could have him driving out of state or nowhere at all.
After a vital cup of coffee we’re off to our first appointment, a hopping local liquor store. Tyler knows from VIP that Green Flash case sales at this particular store are slightly down, and aims to address that with the beer buyer, who also happens to be a good friend.
Upon arrival, we beeline for the Green Flash, noting its location (too low, eye level is best for sales), and the lack of a “case stack”, which increases visibility, and therefore sales. Tyler also ensures bottles are facing forward and pulled to the front of the shelf. No task is too small when the image of the brand is at stake.