Beginning at our company’s inception, beer liberation through education has been of vast importance to our mission. We entrust this job to a team of Liberators who work tirelessly to share the best Short’s brews and Starcut Ciders throughout our state. Today we bring you a blog post written by the man, the myth, the legend, Sean Cudahy, our Southwest Michigan Liberator who shares with us a day in the life on the front lines of beer liberation.
As the alarm clock on my smart phone jingled right before 7am, my first thought naturally centered upon a cup of coffee. Today, though, I was feeling a bit healthier– herbal tea, it was.
Straight to the office I strolled (a.k.a. my kitchen table), and as the BBC news softly played in the background, I began planning where my travels would take me throughout my SW Michigan territory. This particular stretch of land covers the main vein markets of Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo, as well as a number of smaller coastal communities, starting in Ludington and ending in New Buffalo, which borders Indiana.
Close to home was the theme of day, so I began reading the weekly sales report for Kent County, SW Michigan’s largest market. I determined how many account visits I could make during the day, my spiral notebook provided ample room for planning and highlighting what I wanted to accomplish. A Liberator’s calendar is also vital, and I noticed I had a guided beer/cider tasting in the late afternoon. As soon as a few internal emails were taken care of, a short run and refreshing shower closed out the day’s administration phase. It was time to hit the pavement and start liberating the masses!
My travels brought me to a wide array of accounts, starting at local party stores. Here, owners and managers appreciate detailed updates on the unparalleled amount of offerings we release statewide. Our newest limited release, Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster, is slated to hit most stores within a few days. Anticipation is soaring, not only because it’s a delicious Double Belgian IPA, but because it is not scheduled to be bottled in 2016! Merchandising is another key element to calling upon these customers, so I made a conscious effort to ensure our beer and cider are all properly positioned, with point of sale marketing our brands in direct visibility.
The early afternoon is when the lunch rush closes out, with many of the working class returning to their careers. At this time, managers of restaurants, bars, and the like are more able to converse with their suppliers. Our cider division, Starcut Ciders, is now widely available statewide, and it is important to me that our accounts know what ciders we produce, and the vision behind our endeavor. A gastropub I happened to pinpoint for an optimal cider draft opportunity relayed that they had decided to add our flagship semi-dry Pulsar to their rotating cider draft line. I gave them a genuine thank you, something a Liberator cannot say enough of while speaking to customers.
Next, it was on to a meeting with a local Mexican restaurant, where their head chef, manager, and I locked in a date for our first collaborative event, a multi-course beer dinner. We also set a time in between, where we will meet together, in person, and discuss potential beer options, as well as overall logistics. I prefer this route because attempting to do this by email/phone can not only lend itself to confusion, but the personable atmosphere simply is not as present.
Finally, my last stop brought me to a well-known party store, where I conducted and carried out a free guided beer/cider tasting, lasting for several hours. These tastings are extremely valuable, not only because they help drive sales in a positive direction, but are prime opportunities to converse with our fans, the folks who keep our craft alive. That, friends, is the most rewarding experience for me.
No two days are alike for an SBC Liberator. Tomorrow will bring new accounts, challenges, and tasks, but nothing this team of beer-loving, Michigan living, knowledge giving, wanderers can’t handle. Be sure to say hi to Sean, Eric, Pauline, Rachel, Brian, or Woj the next time you attend an Short’s event!