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Demystifying DtC Sales
by: Julia Herz, American Homebrewers Association

Great journalism often transcends beyond the ability to simply report the news. Powerful storytelling can compel, inspire, tantalize, excite, and better inform readers to venture out and explore bold new horizons.

Having worked on both sides of pitching brewery stories and receiving them, I can’t stress the importance of not only developing great relationships with regional beer media members, but also understanding how to utilize them best.
The first step is identifying and reaching out to the media members that best cover your area. Regional/local newspapers may have a brewery beat writer, but most likely utilize local business beat writers or food writers to cover breweries from time to time. National industry publications like my own,, as well as others like Good Beer Hunting, The Full Pint, Brewbound, VinePair, Hop Culture and more are also also worth a connection. That said when it comes to pitching stories, national industry publications may not be as interested in a small local bottle release where a local newspaper might be more inclined to cover.

If you have a truly sticky story, it might be worth reaching out to national outlets with a broader audience base like Bon Appetit, Forbes, USA Today, etc.. those publications all typically have brewery beat writers as well, though they can be a bit hard to track down, and when you do establish a connection, it becomes even more critical that you only pitch relevant stories.

I also recommend thinking about non-traditional media such as podcasts, influencers with strong followings on Instagram, TikTok, YouTubers and more. We’re now in an age where a video posted to a platform like TikTok can reach over 10,000 viewers and drive decision-making in an unbelievable way.
After connecting with these content producers and media members, it’s all about cultivating a relationship. Invites for previews of the most important releases, as well as for beer dinners, and special events can not only keep the beer fresh in their minds, but it can also help the creator to remain engaged in your brand’s story. While it is generally acceptable for breweries to offer free media samples and beers on-site, it may be wise not to overdo it at first to ensure the right intentions.

Finally, if this all feels daunting or overwhelming, I encourage for you to look into PR firms who have extensive experience working within the beer industry. My firm, The Porch Collective, as well as friends like Indie Creative Co. ET PR, TurnItUp Marketing, and RadCraft, have all worked with breweries of all sizes and have already developed great relationships to help get your brand’s story out to the right people.

Sales strategy should be at the forefront of your mind when starting a brewery. This is the phase where you graduate from homebrewer and humble beer fan to a licensed brewery owner and/or operator. You can produce some of the best beers in the world, but in order to make your beer your business, you must know how to sell your products.


A thorough understanding of the science behind successful selling will help you along the path towards profitability. Selling is more than just handing out samples and rattling off attributes like ABV and malt variants. Successful salespeople understand the essence of a brand, can identify and communicate their unique value propositions, and work hard to build long term relationships with customers. Selling is about providing the right product solution for the right customer. When you learn how to make a successful brand connection with your target customer and continue to provide valuable solutions for their needs, you establish long term brand loyalty that will continuously fuel demand for your products.


Sales can also take many forms - onsite from your taproom, self-distribution in the retail market segment, or mass distribution in the wholesale channel. In addition to making plans on where you will be selling your beer, you also need a definitive sales strategy to compliment your overall business goals. With the crowded nature of today’s craft beer market, a well-structured sales plan will give you a competitive edge over other brands that skip this step.


As your brand presence grows and demand increases, your sales plans will evolve as well. You should create short and long term sales plans, with specific timelines for expansion into various market segments. In your sales plans, you should take into consideration a timeline for market expansion, necessary sales personnel, the cost of sales materials, how you will formulate annual sales projections, and how to track your sales data.

Hoptown Handles American Made Tap Handles

Contributing Author

Tristan Chan                                                                                       Founder,


Tristan Chan is the Founder of, a national beer publication focused on telling great stories within the craft beer industry. Over the past eight years, their approach toward showcasing positivity within the industry, while showcasing craft beer through the context of pop culture has grown a formidable following. Tristan also recently launched his own marketing consulting firm, The Porch Collective, to help breweries and hospitality brands share their stories through PR, Social Media, Partnerships and overall Marketing Strategies.

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The country is beginning to see some semblance of normalcy since the COVID-19 vaccines have begun to roll out and case counts go down. Restaurants are beginning to allow sit down dining in limited capacity along with and bars and taprooms being allowed to let patrons sit down for a few drinks. As this reopening continues, make sure your brewery is ready to recapture (and possibly enhance) that once lost source of revenue and exposure. Here are few tips on how to successfully bring draft back.

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When you plan an extended trip somewhere, very few people just hit the road without any knowledge of their destination or how to get there. If you didn't, chances are that you will get lost or drive around in circles without any direction. To avoid this, you need a clear destination and assistance from tools that will route your best path, like a map or GPS.

You should apply this same concept to selling your beer. Your Sales Vision Plan will be the guiding 


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    Brand Identity: the visible elements of a brand, such as color, design, and logo, that identify and       
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    Branding: the marketing practice of actively shaping a distinctive brand.
    Brand Image: the actual result of these efforts, successful or unsuccessful


  • Identify Sales Channels

  • Identify Sales Timeline

  • Consider Sales Staff

  • Budget for Sales

  • Sales Projections

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  • Create Sales Goals

  • Create Sales Materials

  • Assess Market

  • Sales Training

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  • Work with District Sales Teams

  • Track & Analyze Sales Data

  • Optimize Sales Plans

  • Work with Key Distribution Personnel

  • Solicit New Distributors