Retail Merchandiser - March/April 2012 - (Page 83)

Beverage Retailer KOHLER DISTRIBUTING CO. Passion for its Craft Kohler Distributing Co. is not only an advocate for quality beer – it serves a valuable sales tool for niche breweries, thanks to its craft and specialty beer division. O ther companies may scale back in times of economic instability, but Kohler Distributing Co. – a Hawthorne, N.J.based beer and wine wholesaler that sells more than 6 million cases a year – has forged ahead, undertaking new initiatives over the past few years to maximize efficiency, drive growth and improve its bottom line. “We show our partners our commitment to growth and to the well-being of our brands by investing in our people and resources,” says Frank Politano, vice president of sales and marketing. “We felt that by investing when times are tough, we would be more poised to compete when things do turn around.” In the wake of the economic downturn, Kohler Distributing shifted its business development focus to adding new and/or growing existing specialty beer brands, such as craft brews and niche imports, outside of its core beer portfolio. This has been a strategic advantage for the company since “the growth of the craft segment has been the only growth in the beer business in the past few years,” Politano maintains. Special Attention Instead of assigning craft and specialty beers to its existing sales force – which already oversees a large portfolio of American staples such as Coors Light, Heineken and Corona – Kohler Distributing understood that specialty beers require special attention. “We realized that this segment requires a separate sales focus with people who are more knowledgeable about beer and how it’s made, the characteristics of it and what it pairs up with,” Politano says. Three years ago, Kohler Distributing put a management team in place to oversee the craft and specialty beer division, and it continues to recruit “craft sales advocates” to represent their respective brands. “When we recruit new sales advocates, we look for March/April 2012 retail merchandiser 83

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Retail Merchandiser - March/April 2012

Retail Merchandiser - March/April 2012
Creating Value
Design Strategies
Toy Fair 2012 Wrap-Up
Expo West 2012 Wrap-Up
Fashion Week
Category Insight
China Sourcing Fair 2012 Preview
Cover Story: Jessica Simpson
charming CHARLIE
Fantastic Sams
The Bargain! Shop
Sportsman’s Warehouse
Fruth Pharmacy
Apricot Lane Boutique
Hi-School Pharmacy
Hallmark Cards Canada
Metropolitan Transportation Authority
Rubie’s Costume Co.
Fashion Angels
K’NEX Brands
Total Wine & More
Sigel’s Beverages
O&W Inc.
New Hampshire State Liquor Commission
Kohler Distributing Co.
New & Notable

Retail Merchandiser - March/April 2012