When I ventured into the world of sales, I found myself thrown into the mix without much preparation. While I had been associated with the company for a long time and interacted with customers at taproom events, restaurant locations, and even our accounts, the transition to sales brought along a steep learning curve. Sure, I could sell our beer and convince customers to try a craft beer instead of their usual Miller Lite, but there was a crucial step in between – getting the beer off our lines and into the hands of customers through distributors.

Like many craft beer companies, I was navigating a system long dominated and shaped by macro breweries. As a newcomer, one of the initial challenges was the language barrier. Meetings, emails, and excel forms I encountered were filled with industry-specific terms and jargon, from retail pricing to logistic issues. In one of my first distributor meetings, I appeared to be diligently taking notes, when in reality, I was jotting down reminders to figure out what certain terms meant so I could fully grasp what I had just agreed to.

Sure, I could have asked for clarification, but when you are dealing with individuals holding particular titles or owning breweries, or sitting next to your new employer, it can be intimidating to lean over and ask, “Um, what does FOB mean?”

That’s when I decided to sit down and compile a list of the various terms that made an already overwhelming job even more complex. I reflected on the questions that Google couldn’t fully answer and the knowledge that I had gained through context clues, trial and error, or the kindness of a work friend or another brewery owner who showed mercy. I realized that having a reference point would be incredibly valuable for small breweries starting out or new sales representatives entering the scene. Even as a seasoned professional, knowing these terms can come in handy when assisting new employees or helping brewers understand certain aspects of sales.

So, I am here to offer you a free PDF, encompassing the essential brewery sales and distribution terms that once blocked my path. If you think there are terms missing from this list that caused you similar confusion, please feel free to share, and I’ll be more than happy to create a version 2 with your valuable input.