Craft breweries are adored for the exceptional quality of their products and the diverse range of beers they offer, including seasonal rotations and unique inspired creations. This ever-evolving nature is what keeps the craft brewery scene exhilarating.

The thrill lies in the perpetual demand for creativity within craft breweries – from conceptualizing labels and inventing distinctive beer names to crafting novel and innovative brews.

However, a challenge arises in gauging the optimal brewing quantity. Financial constraints are real, and having unsold beer on hand incurs additional costs for disposal, resulting in losses of labor, time, and materials. The process of producing beloved beers can occasionally feel like a precarious endeavor.

To address this issue, we opted to institute a preorder system following a few sales setbacks. Here’s a comprehensive guide to implementing an effective preorder strategy:

  1. Strategize Your Release Schedule: While spontaneity may seem creatively liberating, adopting a more structured approach and planning at least three months in advance can unlock new opportunities. A solid plan enables negotiations with retail chains that require lead time and enhances inventory management and production scheduling. Counterintuitively, proactive planning can pave the way for greater success and efficiency.
  2. Craft a Quarterly Release Calendar: A thorough release calendar is pivotal in keeping distributors informed about upcoming beer launches for the current quarter. This calendar should encompass essential details such as beer names, styles, ABV (alcohol by volume), UPC (universal product code), pricing, packaging options, and release dates. Distributors armed with this information can make informed decisions on stocking and promoting products, ultimately boosting brewery success.
  3. Create Informative Sales Sheets: Crafting effective sales sheets requires integrating key details. These sheets should feature beer names, available label designs, comprehensive beer descriptions including distinctive flavor notes and ingredients. Additional details such as ABV, UPC, pricing, package types, and release dates also merit inclusion. This comprehensive information empowers sales representatives and distributors to make informed choices in promoting and selling your beer.
  4. Streamline Information Dissemination: Effective communication with sales teams and distributors necessitates leveraging digital platforms and email correspondence. Utilizing an online portal like BrewOptix’s brand catalog or file-sharing services such as Box facilitates information flow and teamwork. Centralized access to crucial documents enhances productivity and communication efficiency.
  5. Set Clear Preorder Deadlines: Timely and lucid communication of preorder deadlines is crucial. Send reminders via email and engage in direct conversations with distributors. A proactive approach of reminding a few weeks before the deadline, once the week of the deadline, and even on the due date can avert confusion or missed deadlines, ensuring a seamless preorder process.
  6. Establish a Preorder Collection System: Choose from a range of channels for preorder collection, such as digital forms, online spreadsheets, or messaging platforms. Notable options include Google Sheets and Jotform.
  7. Gather Preorders and Determine Batch Numbers: Accurate taproom calculations encompass several factors, including team beer requirements and taproom logistics. Creating a dedicated sheet for organizing this data is advised. Downloadable resources, like our complimentary sheet, guarantee precision and efficiency in your calculations.

While adopting a preorder system won’t be a panacea for all challenges, it undoubtedly enhances control over releases and cultivates distributor relationships. Furthermore, this process paves the way for engaging with a promising facet of distribution business: chains. Chains often demand long lead times, spanning 6-9 months, for decision-making and resets. By initiating this process now, you will be primed to collaborate effectively with them in the future.