Florida has dozens of new craft breweries which need to grow their consumer brand. Just like any specialty food company, they are up against the behemoth beer producers who have lobbyists and marketing budgets that start-ups can only wish for. But the people have spoken and a new bill is about to be passed to allow greater sales opportunities. Craft Beer Legislation in Florida

Prior to the good fight being won, how have they been addressing this barrier to entry? They have taprooms attached to their production facilities. Think of the tasting rooms next to wineries in Sonoma, CA. You go there, hang out with your friends, play bocce, the staff is informed, it’s a fun experience. Next time you go to a restaurant or the liquor store, you are likely to ask, “What local beers do you carry?” This helps the brewery get their product distributed and find a new market beyond their local taproom effort.

So how can a specialty food producer replicate this concept? Have a retail outlet of your own where you provide the ultimate experience of your product to your targeted consumer. Here are some examples:

  • Be part of your weekly farmer’s market….or multiple ones in your region.
  • Have a store within a store….rent a small space in a larger retailer where you manage the inventory and staff.
  • Renovate a building into a Food Hub and rent the excess space to other kindred producers.The Future of Specialty Food Retailing
  • Have a retail store attached to your production facility. You can have limited hours rather than staffing it like the mall.
  • Do Pop-Ups….at festivals, art shows, sporting events. Just pick wisely, keeping in mind your target audience.
  • Take over the breakfast/lunch counter in an office building….and upgrade the menu with your product.
  • Be a resource for demos at your local schools, girl scouts, charity events, and TV station.
  • Sell on curetted web sites like Poketo or Etsy; you’ll need to lots of social media and PR to push sales

How to keep the love flowing:

  • Capture email addresses so you can keep in touch with your database of fans.
  •  Have flash sales, monthly promotions, contests and recipes ongoing. Send these via email, post to your social media and update your web site. Change it up EVERY week!
  • Create a delivery service, or have a drop off location for orders by the case.
  • Team up with other local purveyors to have food community events at a local farm, CSA or retailer.

Share what works for your business’s retail model or in your community!

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