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Craft Beer Sales: How to Gain a Competitive Advantage Selling Your Brand in a Saturated Craft Beer Market

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By Tera Dacek

What makes one craft beer or distributor better at sales than another? How do you get your brand to stand out in a sea of cans, bottles, or tap handles where everyone is trying to do the same thing?

An interview in December with Dave Mevoli, regional market manager of Duvel Moortgat USA and lead instructor for UVM’s Business of Craft Beer Sales class, left us with one of our favorite lines of advice for those seeking a career in craft beer sales: “Make friends. Sell beer.”

But what does this look like, and how do we accomplish this on a daily basis to help us sell more beer?

Tell your story.

Know your product and share its life cycle. Understand the brewing process, the ingredients, and its complexities and be able to excitedly describe it to someone who knows nothing about craft beer.

Perhaps you have a story behind the name of the beer or know why the artist who created the label illustrated it the way he did. Get to know your audience and tell the story that you think will be most relevant and interesting to them.

Find your ambassadors and align with the right partners.

Are people already talking about your brand organically? The reason social media is great is that it allows for conversation. Join in. Thank them, or better yet invite them to an early-release event. Boom—now you’ve got brand champions.

Aligning with strategic partners is also an amazing way to elevate your brand to drive sales. This does not necessarily have to be an expensive endeavor like an event sponsorship or media buy. Think about bloggers, craft beer clubs, and community events. Get the conversation going, invite them into your brewery to meet the brewer, and build those relationships.

Engage with your retailers and don’t underestimate the power of a good handshake!

According to Ryan Chaffin, marketing director of Farrell Distributing, “These days it’s vital to have a strong digital prescence, be aligned with good partners, and be responsive to what consumers are asking for and telling you they want to see. But in an age of all this activity, both from a competitive standpoint and marketing platforms, the power of putting a face to the brand at retail and engaging in meaningful dialogue with buyers is sometimes overlooked.”

He adds, “When the buyers at these establishments have you and your brand on their mind, it drives your business and positions you for new releases and new space when it becomes available.”

Interested in gaining a competitive edge in craft beer sales? Learn about UVM’s Business of Craft Beer sales program. Visit

Business of Beer

-Tera Dacek is a consultant and freelance writer. She most recently worked as Marketing Manager for Alchemy and Science.