First, we discussed different topics that wholesalers deal with when working with suppliers and we took an oath to participate which I think was odd since when I'm at these I find there is some point in time when I want to stand up and yell at some one to quit their whining. The topics were:
How do you handle brewery rep visits: some good ideas came out of this such as ride with forms, no ride withs in the last three months of the year, putting them to work at beer dinners, and one interesting one was to work with competing wholesaler and their brewery rep to do a beer dinner together (not a fan of that idea).
Picking new local suppliers: consistency was mentioned once which was good because I was wrestling to take off the straight jacket I put on so I don't get too crazy making remarks like" HELLO, does anyone here give a shit about consistency?" And capacity wasn't discussed but they discussed custom contracts with small brewers and those problems. I think you wait until their capacity can handle selling to the entire market.
Brokers, are they good, bad, or do they help: general feeling is that they don't help and are bad for the entire three tier system.
After that we had a presentation on using social media and why you should use it. It was a very good thorough presentation that should help every wholesaler that took notes during it. However, I noticed quite a few weren't taking notes which means they already know all about it or they aren't doing it and aren't planning on doing it, I believe it's the latter. I took notes and I use social media and see the results from it so I wonder why people can't understand the need to do this.
The presenter covered three types of social media, blogging, Twitter and Facebook, and how to use them including his daily routine of about 30 minutes and a total of less then three hours a week. He keeps it at three hours a day and believes that is plenty though I've seen research where social media people that have done three hours a week for four years increase their time up to nine hours and believe it's important to do that.
I would share names and links but there is a rule about quoting people so I can't give you any of that unless I talked to the presenters and got their approval which I didn't do. And that was delivered by a big guy that was looking at me when I was playing around with my video recorder just to see if it could focus in the dark room, so I don't know if I can even mention his name because then it would be like quoting him so I won't. The second day will be interesting because we break into groups with like size wholesalers with similar suppliers however in some areas these wholesalers are selling craft beer into the other ones footprint. So, I'm wearing my old cage fighting outfit for this one.