Just over a month ago, several members of TNG attended the Ontario Craft Beer Conference (OCBC) in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. I was one of those attendees and as it was my first time attending this event, I found myself wide-eyed. I found it very interesting to immerse in the culture of craft beer for the day and learn from industry experts. In many ways, it’s a brave new world and fascinating to be part of it now.
Yes, There Are Similarities with Our Traditional Publishing Industry Clients
Passionate, dedicated, hard-working industry veterans and fresh upstart companies absolutely filled the room. About mid-way through the day however, what struck me as especially intriguing was that while there were many differences to our traditional customers within the publishing industry, there were also many similarities. In fact in some ways, I could almost imagine what the atmosphere might have been like at conferences in earlier days, when the magazine and book industry was just reaching its critical mass. The energy in the room was palatable!
Passion, Unique Offerings, Customer Advocates
While certainly a more casual crowd than publishers and those in the traditional supply chain where we have operated in the past, craft brewers share a strong passion about what it is they produce and bring to market. They have unique offerings and brands, and as a result, have customer advocates and evangelists for those brands. Each offers the customer a unique experience. The crafted beer is similar to that of a specific magazine brand or a best-selling book. They are, so much more than ‘cans of soup’ (or bottles of beer, should we say).
Craft Beer is a Complex Category
One of the frustrations that retail often experienced with the magazine category was that it was complex. It wasn’t like a can of soup. As such, they couldn’t be treated like cans of soup. Like magazines and books, certain craft beers will appeal to different people in different demographics and require distribution and category management into different stores and areas of the province. It is interesting to note that for more and more products, in our increasingly customer-customized world, this customization is becoming increasingly important. Craft beer is a unique differentiator.
Grocery Retail Accounts are also Unique
Grocery retail accounts that are now able to carry craft beer are excited! They do have some challenges however, and just like with magazines, retail accounts prefer consolidated distribution. Grocery retailers are so incredibly busy within any one day and get hundreds of deliveries through their back door. To have to receive a flat of beer here or a case or two, is difficult to manage and to schedule. That’s where craft brewers can look to TNG to help them out. We have great relationships at retail as well as regular scheduled deliveries. With consolidation everyone wins. The retailer can offer unique products that their customers want and differentiate themselves in their hyper-competitive environment. Craft breweries are able to get to a wider audience at grocery and it’s all done in a manner that is the least disruptive and with less hassle.
We are excited to be working with clients (traditional and our new) that are so passionate about the unique products they are offering to consumers, it really helps us be passionate too!