The Sales Rep, a Backyard and The Middle Tier

This is the third edition in a 5 part series on the distribution of craft beer in Northern Colorado. To read the first article, click here, or for a history of distribution, here.

The ability to self-distribute their product is one that Odell Brewing Company holds dear. All bars, restaurants, and liquor stores within 10 miles of the brewery, located at 800 East Lincoln, have their beer delivered to them directly from the brewery by an employee of Odell’s. They call it their “backyard” and they sell more beer here than anywhere else. Outside of the backyard, Odell’s holds distribution contracts with American Eagle Distribution for Northern Colorado and several other distrubutors for the 10 states they reach, allowing them to have a better focus on their biggest accounts.

Most breweries have Sales Represenatives in addition to distributors for every region, such as Left Hand Brewing who distributes through C.R. Goodman, but is represented in Northern Colorado by sales rep Joe Shea. For their backyward, Odell’s combines these positions.I was recently able to sit down with a Sales Representative from Odell’s that is responsible for promotion, sale and distribution in the backyard, Nico Cherubin.  We sat on

Nico setting up at a recent pairing at The Welsh Rabbit Cheese Shop

Nico setting up at a recent pairing at The Welsh Rabbit Cheese Shop

top of kegs, sipping beer while a fork lift moved pallets of kegs from the cooler to a truck waiting in the dock.  Nico gave me an in depth look into his world. A world of beer that doesn’t involve a brew kettle, but a delivery truck.

We started with a tour of Odell’s where we walked right past the brewing equipment and straight to the back of the building. Here Nico pointed out floor to near-ceiling shelves full of posters, coasters, stickers and key chains. “This is where we grab promotional materials, to hang up in liquor stores, provide for bars or give away at events”, he told me. I had walked passed these shelves many times before, but now I stood in awe at the amount of product on the shelves. One of the main responsibilities Nico holds is to promote the beer. This can be everything from setting up displays in liquor stores, to attending beer dinners, tastings and festivals.

Next we headed to the cooler. While promotion is important, the star is the product that he is promoting. Cases of bottles and pallets stacked with kegs stood waiting to be delivered to an account. Nico is responsible for both making the sale, and getting the beer to the account. “The sales rep is the face of the brewery” he says, “our accounts really depend on us to be there for them”.  If a bar runs out of beer on a Saturday afternoon, Nico can have a new keg to them within the hour, something a traditional distributor isn’t as able to easily do.

Odell’s

Lugene rolls off the line and into boxes to be sent to accounts

Lugene rolls off the line and into boxes to be sent to accounts

also provides staff education to their accounts. Nico provides tastings, tours and more to ensure those serving their beer are knowledgeable on both the company and the product. “Educating people really helps the industry as a whole, not just Odells”, claimed Nico. Especially in an area with as many craft beer-related businesses as Northern Colorado, this is key.  He says that his favorite part of his job is doing hand sales at liquor stores. By offering samples, and a “bonus” beer if you purchase a six pack, Nico is educating the consumer.

Without great people like Nico, your favorite Odell’s beer would not get to your local bar or liquor store. While the physical act of moving the beer from one place to another is important, there are so many more aspects to his job. All of which are helping to make Odell’s a successful craft beer brand across the nation.

I have worked with Nico’s in the past on different events around town. His passion and knowledge for the product he sells was contagious. Nico claimed this is because, “it is really something I can get behind, it is easy to sell quality. This is a business of happiness, it’s really special to me”. I could have sat all evening chatting beer, industry and life with Nico, but we ended our chat in the noisy taproom where Odell employees and their families were gathering to listen to the band play. Next time you sip a 5 barrel on the patio of your favorite restaurant, think of the people that helped to get it to your glass.

Upcoming articles

May 23: The $1 million Warehouse

May 30: Rosie the Distributor

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