Sales Tactics for the Taproom and Wholesale Distribution

It’s summertime in Florida and that means one thing…

Kids are out of school.

My son just finished eighth grade and he’s off to high school this fall and we’re super pumped for him!

Now, his school doesn’t do a formal graduation, but I’m seeing a lot of my friends’ schools having formal eighth grade graduations where kids walk across the stage, obtain a diploma, take a photo…and there’s even valedictorian and salutatorian speeches.

Hey kids…don’t peak too early.

But what is an eighth grade graduation?

Eighth grade is just part of the journey to twelfth grade. Of course, when you graduate high school we want a massive celebration!

But I personally think that a lot of this eighth grade graduation stuff is simply our society giving participation awards.

You have to go through eighth to get to twelfth. But we’re giving a participation award halfway along the way? I’m not feeling it.

But this got me thinking and leads me to today’s topic…

You gotta do more than just show up

Are you handing out participation awards at your brewery? It’s a valid question because the people you’re hiring have been raised in this participation era over the last 20 years, right?

Lots of validation, lots of chatter, and that’s not all a bad thing. But is that validation and chatter moving the ball forward? Is it working toward your mission?

It’s summertime. The busiest time of the year for your business. You will likely generate more revenue over the next four months than you will the majority of the rest of the year.

Which leads me to another question I have for you…

What should your focus be for the next four months?


Now this is going to be a bit of a mindset shift for some of your team members because they’re used to just clocking in, doing the job, clocking out, and moving on.

But I encourage you to place a heavy focus on sales this summer. Just talking about it more often will plant a seed for them. However, talking won’t be enough.

We need to go a step further, and we need to invest in our taproom and wholesale teams in order to generate more sales. And when I say the word “invest” I’m talking about…

  • Consistent weekly meetings

  • Incentives

  • Formal sales training

If we keep sales top-of-mind this summer, then the mindset shift within your team can start to happen. Let’s break down what this can look like in your business.

Moving the (Sales) Ball Forward

Let’s start with something simple.

I suggest having a weekly meeting where you get together and talk about the wins and challenges from the last week. This gives your team the opportunity to relive what is fresh in their mind and how the team can either double down on the wins or adjust to tackle the challenges.

When you’re getting the team together I also suggest using incentives, games, or contests to help increase the sales focus for that week.

If we are just talking about increasing sales in the taproom for example, we need to be thinking about:

  • How do we get that incremental pint sale?

  • How do we get a merch sale?

  • How do we get the four pack or six pack to-go sale?

These are all things that your taproom team can become more comfortable and gain confidence in offering with practice. It comes down to the conversation that is being had with the customer, listening to what they’re asking for, watching what they’re drinking, and then presenting them with an offer.

It becomes a call to action.

This is a typical baseline sales training right concept where you give the customer a call to action just by asking them a question:

Another pint for you?

We just got our limited print shirts back in stock, any chance you’d want to purchase one?

Would you like to take a four pack or six pack home with you today?


What about on the wholesale side of things? We have a few more challenges there.

The #1 Issue with Wholesale Sales

The number one issue with wholesale right now is overcoming objections.

If you Google “sales objections training,” you’re going to uncover a whole subset of sales training. It’s gotta be the number one subset of sales training out there because overcoming objections is quite literally what we are doing when we ask someone to purchase something.

You may be overcoming an objection with a wholesaler, and this could be based on a new style or SKU you want to roll out. Or you may be dealing with an objection with an account.

Objections often come in the form of:

  • “We don’t have the shelf space.”

  • “We can’t buy more beer.”

  • “We only want one of your styles, not two of your styles.”

These are all no’s.

And with the proper training and face-to-face roleplaying, this becomes easier to handle for your sales team. Make sure your sales reps are getting this type of training, so that when they are out in the field and are presented with these objections, they can knock it out of the park.

Summer-y Time

We covered a lot today, so in summary:

  • The next four months are about taproom and wholesale sales

  • Get a weekly meeting on the calendar, try team incentives, and invest in sales training

  • Your taproom team can gain incremental sales wins just by asking the customer

  • Wholesale objections are part of the game, make sure your reps know how to play ball

But if I had to sum up today’s big picture topic into one thing and one thing only…

I want to stop rewarding participation alone, and I want to start rewarding sales results.

Talk to you soon.


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