Beer Knowledge vs Branding

*Originally written by Billy Meagor who quit us.

Selling is not always easy, but if the person is knowledgeable, driven and knows what they must achieve for success, it can be a little easier.  For beer sales, there will always be challenges that a rep will face, whether it’s a pain-in-the-ass customer, competitors, lack of communication, or just not having the tools you need to be successful.  I personally follow the six P’s: Prior Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance.  This allows me to be prepared daily for what I need to accomplish.

In beer sales, beer knowledge is obviously very important (go figure) but an interesting question was presented to me, which is more important: Marketing/Branding of a beer or beer knowledge? This is a great question. Some beer buyers are very interested in what goes into the beers we brew, but in my opinion, most are interested in the branding of a beer.  Does the beer logo stand out, does the handle look cool and what marketing tools are available i.e. posters, coasters, shirts? Unfortunately, branding can sell a beer more than beer knowledge.  If the handle is stylish and stands out, buyers often will buy a keg no matter what the beer tastes like.  This may be why you may see a lot of the beers you do, not because of the taste, but because the logo stands out.  I remember rolling out a new beer when I was working for a distributor and buyers bought the beer solely because the tap handle was hand carved into a tree!  Luckily, the beer was good, but this is a great example of branding helping sell a beer.  

As a beer rep, you must be knowledgeable about the beer.  There are buyers that will be more interested in what goes in a beer and the taste verse the branding, but the marketing of a beer is just as important.  Lucky for us at Iron Horse Brewery, we have kick ass beer and a great marketing team that creates fantastic logo’s and branding for our beers.

2 comments on “Beer Knowledge vs BrandingAdd Your Comment

  1. Seth on

    Sadly for the masses, branding is what attracts most to a beer. For me it is knowledge. I believe the beer should sell itself. If the beer is good, and the person selling it believes it you could have dog poop on your label and people will still buy it. Word of mouth is always what gets me to try a new beer. Keep making great beer. I’m a believer in your product and recommend it to everyone looking.

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  2. Brenda B on

    For me, I spend more time trying to find information about the brew on the labels. Sure, having a cool label “gets them in the door,” but damn it, tell me what your brew is all about. I could drink a great beer in a plain bottle/can, IF it is the quality beer I am searching for. By being too colorful – in graphics or avoiding providing a flavor profile description – I waste a lot of my beer budget being disappointed. Please stop leaving me with a pretty label without an idea of what you’ve spent time perfecting.

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