Launching a new brand is a daunting process. Of course one has to ensure that you have a good product to start with, but no matter how much you love it, you need to get other people to feel the same about it as you do and have faith that there is a market for it. And you have to get the “Big Boys” to believe enough in it to buy in.
Every brand wants to be included in the big corporates product listing because of their massive buying power and the fact that their stores have a national footprint. Companies like Pick n Pay and Tops at Spar are by far the biggest and although they aren’t “small-business friendly” (I’ll get to this) we have to get our products in there if we want to ensure success. We’re in, and we’re working our backsides off to make it work.
The biggest reason why big companies aren’t small business friendly is that their payment terms can almost kill you off before you’ve even started! It’s one thing to get listed by head office, where you have to negotiate rebates (normally at about 7.5%) but then from there it’s up you to visit every store and convince the buyer or manager that your product needs to be in their store. Once an order has been made you are supplied with a purchase order that you then have 3 days to deliver before the paperwork expires.
But it’s their payment terms that are the biggest struggle! They will only pay 30 days from statement, which means that if I deliver today and supply an invoice to the store, I then have to provide a statement to head office at the end of the month and will be paid only 30 days thereafter. So for my business that is 60-days, but for Camelthorn Brewing Company it is probably 90-120 days depending on when stock was delivered to me. That’s a long time to wait for your money when you have already forked out for ingredients, equipment, rent, wages & salaries, transport, etc.
We still have to personally visit all the stores to get our stock on the shelves, and have to ensure that our service is consistent and reliable. And we often have to stand in queues behind the larger distribution companies that arrive with a truck-load of products. But that is par for the course – service and relationships are everything and so we do it.
We are grateful that we have excellent product and that we have the opportunity of being listed so that our product is available in store.
We’ve had some great orders going out – Pick n Pay Liquors at the Hypermarket in Brackenfell gave us a great order – including the Camelthorn Gift Boxes which either include a collection of 12 Camelthorn Brewing Company or 10 beers plus two stunning glasses. They also took lots of the seasonal Bok Weissbier (@ 7% this winter beer will keep you warm) as well as all the other expressions.
We have also delivered to many other Pick n Pay Liquors around the peninsula, including at De Ville Centre Durbanville, Cape Gate Brackenfell, Claremont, Plumstead, Tokai, Steenberg, Table View, Canal Walk, Strand, Platterkloof and Sea Point.
Tops at Spar is also a great supporter of Camelthorn Brewing Company with our stock being presented at Tops Cape Quarter, Hout Bay, Vredehoek, Die Boord and Table View. We are adding more every week!
Of course the more orders we get during the month, the better our statement will look at the end of the month, the bigger the payment at the end of the following month, the more beer we can get to more stores. It’s a necessary cycle – but you are the most important person in the equation, because if you aren’t buying we can’t sell.
So ask for the Camelthorn Brewing Company selection of beers and know that you aren’t only enjoying excellent quality micro-brewed beer, but you’re helping us brew more beer in 2 months time! That’s investing in the future, and that’s great! Life is too short for bad beer after all.