Monday 19 October 2015


But it's not like that on the TV when it's cool for cats

I've heard it said that the main thought behind all human interaction is this : "How do I get what I want from this person without me looking bad?"

There are many opinions about the exact point when an ostensible "Craft" brewery reaches the point of no longer being "Craft". The obvious one is it being bought by a macro. Other popular theories include supplying Tesco or contract brewing for other beer brands. But no, these aren't the real Endpoint of Craft.

No, it's when the brewery hires it's first member of staff specifically for Sales.

Though I've been cruel about the hidden intentions of some brewers in the past, it's probable that most of them do actually care about making the best beer they can. It's difficult to make a fortune as a microbrewery, so there must be other reasons for doing all that hard work with the mash run other than wanting to make millions.

It's fair to say that most went into it to make beer, and actually having to actively flog the stuff to distros and pubs is regarded as a chore. So, as soon as funds allow, a brewer hires someone to do the work of marketing and selling their beer.  No matter how good your product is, it's unlikely to sell itself.

How many of these sales staff actually know much about beer? Hard to say, but selling is fairly specialised in the 21st century. What isn't specialised is the product itself. Beer, Gin, ukuleles, 6mm steel tubing, the sales techniques are the same. Convince them they need it, and that you have it for them. For a "fair price", of course.  The Salesman doesn't need to like the product. He just has to sell it.  And he will use any means necessary to do so.

This blog post, and especially the comment section details what happens when the hitherto chummy world of Craft Beer collides with the world of modern marketing. And the Crafties are horrified. " Somebody tried to sell me beer and it turned out to be no good!", they cry. Well, yes, how do you think it gets sold? By it's own merits via Twitter?

The lesson to be learned here is : just because someone appears to be interested in you or your beer shop or pub, does not mean they care. They just want to sell their crap to you, and know being nice garners better results than rude pushiness.

People are not nice without a reason, I'm sorry to say.


  1. heh I'm nice to you because I like you.

    do you want to buy a 10 year old VW Golf?

  2. Had someone call me from a brewery once. I tried asking about the beer and the response was: "Oh, I don't actually drink beer!" That conversation didn't go much further.

    Now... at least in part your premise is wrong. A majority of the beer "sales" people I know are properly into beer... few come from generic sales backgrounds, many actually from bar/beer backgrounds of some sort. (Some are, of course, generic "sales people" - but this doesn't make them bad people... well, I like to live in hope.)

    I would modify you slightly: as soon as you hire a sales person who wears a suit... you may as well take yerself out back and end it all.

    Mostly the beer industry sales technique is either: here, have some free samples -OR- here, look how CHEAP our beer is. Sometimes both. Thankfully I generally select the breweries I'd like to deal with and go to them, rarely does it pan out well the other way around. There are 100s of breweries out there, and probably 50+ I'd love to work with. That's a lot of breweries for one small distributor... the newbies and folk I don't know don't stand much chance.

    1. Having dealt with millions of sales reps myself I could write a book on this.

      I'm actually not that bothered whether they drink or know about beer, more that they're agreeable and professional, do what they say they'll do, answer basic (not in depth) questions on the product and service offered without hesitation, and sort me out with a price. Prefer dealing with women because they tend to be more honest and approach it with more self-awareness in my experience. Some of the blokes adopt a wide boy persona that's obviously off putting.