Ever wonder how the craft beer for sale in your local beer store is chosen?  This week on Beer Notes, we are exploring how retailers choose their craft beer and some of the answers surprised even us.

Breweries hire sales people to represent their craft beer and try to get it on tap and on shelves in local hotels, restaurants, bars and liquor stores.  This is despite the fact that many of the distributors that actually sell the craft beer to these vendors also have sales people. Craft beer is a crowded category and the breweries need to get attention from buyers.

Customers suggest favorite craft beers to the retailers and in some cases, the buyer will actually purchase that beer and offer it for sale.  Interestingly, beercations are increasingly popular and the beer produced by breweries that travelers visit become favorites for purchase when the traveler returns home.   

The buying channel that surprised us was communicated by Tracy O’Quin, the owner of Villas Country Liquor Store in NJ.  She attends the Shore Craft Beer Fest every October in Ocean City, Maryland. This festival brings together almost twenty regional craft brewers and they serve almost 50 different styles of beer.  Tracy reported that, “When I am at the fest I watch and listen to the reactions and take note.” Before doing this personal research, Tracy had to rely on her sales reps.

Craft Beer festivals might not be the only avenue for personal research on available craft beers for retail sale, but it certainly is the most fun.  For Beer Notes, this is Anne Neely.


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