Four Ways to Merchandise Craft Beer for More Sales


Shopping for craft beer can be a daunting experience for both new and veteran craft consumers. Each week it seems as if a dozen new beers are fighting for limited shelf space, either because new seasonals have arrived, the local brewery finally started packaging its own beer or a larger brewery from out of state entered into the marketplace. The sheer amount of brand selection, beer styles and terminology can be enough to cause a consumer to panic, freeze or worse, leave the store without making a purchase.

So how can you make sure your customers leave your store happy, or better yet, after making a few big purchases? The key: effective merchandising. 

To make sure your customers experience the best your store has to offer, we’ve compiled some of the best merchandising advice from across the web.


S.E.T. Yourself Up for Success

When looking for the best advice on merchandising, it helps to start with the authority on all things craft beer: The Brewers Association. The group’s Market Development Committee has developed an online guide for retailers who are interested in selling more craft beer. In the guide, the BA identifies three key principles for sales success: Space, Experience and Trade Up, or S.E.T.

According to the BA, having the right space for craft, making the shopping experience easy and always trading up will keep your assortment and merchandising well-tuned to capture all the growth and sales you can.



Think Style for a While

The beer selection at most retail shops has traditionally been organized by region.  A few stores throughout the U.S., however, are beginning to organize their aisles by style, an approach designed to better suit craft beer consumers and millennials who shop by style more often than they do brand.

Market Watch Magazine profiled a few retail stores who have had success with this unusual approach. Specialty retailors and larger chain stores especially have reported already seeing strong merits by displaying their beer selection by style. For those larger chains, their success comes from the ability to do single bottle sales and mix six-packs by beer style. At the specialty shops, the familiarity of shopping for wine by style made making the beer aisle mirror that layout an easy decision. 



Save Space for Seasonals

If seasonal releases were their own beer style category, it would be the second most sold craft beer style in the U.S. The reason? Consumers continue to want something new they haven’t tried before, and they essentially have demanded the brewers to create new seasonal releases, year-after-year.

“It is almost a self-fulfilling prophecy that the consumers will always want that new beer, and brewers are responding by constantly crafting something new,” said Therese Rednor, Breakthru Colorado On-Premise Area Manager for Beer and Craft Spirits.

Knowing that there will always be an influx of new seasonal brews coming into the market, it might be beneficial to dedicate a section of your shelves strictly to seasonal offerings. This way, customers who are looking to try something new can navigate directly to that section of the store and you in turn can capitalize on quick seasonal sales.

Read more of Rednor’s seasonal selling advice.


Don’t Forget: High-Volume Brands Equal High Profits

Local brands may be getting all of the attention as of late, but smart retailers know that much of their sales and profit come from long established, national brands that consumers know well.

According to Beverage Dynamics, shoppers are not as loyal to a specific store as you would hope these days, so to encourage loyalty and stay relevant and competitive, retailers still need to provide easy access to the brands that move at pace. These brands include national and regional craft breweries with iconic flagship products that your customers know and recognize. Ideally, the more recognizable the brand, the more floor space it should be given. Large floor displays also give retailers an opportunity for cross-merchandising. For example, displays can help sell a “plus one,” such as a 12-pack plus a different six-pack or a 12-pack plus snacks or glassware.



For more merchandising advice, reach out to your Breakthru Beverage Sales Consultant.

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