The Tasting Panel magazine

December 2014

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Page 46 of 136

46  /  the tasting panel  /  december 2014 DIGITAL MARKETING O nce upon a time, much of the beverage industry functioned on the business model of a linear marketing channel, where suppliers counted on distributors to get their products to on- and off-premise accounts and, ultimately, consumers. However, the real world and the beverage industry don't work that simply. Cort Kinker, consultant at Equinox Technology Partners, observes that in spite of the distance between producers and final consumers, producers want to directly connect to their markets. "Given industry consolidation, suppliers have found it increasingly necessary to be more involved in partnering with their distributors to assure brand success," notes Kinker. "Software solutions now exist for wine, spirits and beer producers who want to be more in control of their sales destiny in our very complex three-tier marketplace." This is where St. Helena, CA–based GreatVines—man- aged by CEO John Collins and co-founders Tim Jones and Jim Thompson—comes in. Kinker, who worked closely with the owners of Tanduay Asian Rum to launch their product in the U.S., purchased GreatVines licenses and hired Equinox in 2013 to implement the system to his specifications. In effect, he was a supplier—and a brand champion—looking for the benefits that GreatVines provides. "I negotiated with and signed the contracts on behalf of Tanduay," explains Kinker, "and convinced the client that purchasing GreatVines and hiring Equinox was the right way to go to provide transparency into our sales process and to best measure and efficiently report on the metrics we had all agreed were important to capture during the launch and building of the brand." Kinker is not alone in touting the benefits of GreatVines. Other brands profiting from GreatVines' bev- erage-selling solutions include wineries Pahlmeyer and Chateau Montelena, Willamette Valley Vineyards, Piper- Heidsieck and Dry Creek Vineyard; craft brewers Kona Brewing Company and Deschutes Brewery; and spirit brands Deep Eddy, Three Olives, The Macallan, High West and Avión Tequila; and major industry players Bacardi, Pernod Ricard, William Grant & Sons and Rémy Cointreau. Jones, a 20-year beverage industry veteran, explains he co-founded GreatVines because he embraced the challenges and rewards of growing brands like Leblon Cachaça through the three-tier system. "GreatVines is designed to help beverage companies execute their sales initiatives the right way, and better than their competition," says Jones. "Our sales execution and management platform helps them plan, execute and measure all important sales drivers. We partner with data providers like Nielsen so companies can visualize their sales results and execution data together. Better still, it's completely mobile, employing the latest technology." GreatVines also helps producers and distributor clients of all sizes better enhance their trade relationships with a single place to store all their data, buyers' titles, email address and phone numbers linked to purchase history and account segmentation, as well as sales activity and survey data. "It can be costly and time consuming to build valuable trade relationships," continues Kinker. "Every consumer who buys your brand touches the trade, so it's empower- ing to have insight into who your distributor customers are, what they are buying and how to make a meaningful connection to better understand why they've chosen your product." While spreadsheet programs like Excel are useful, Kinker explains they aren't collaborative. Information in a static spreadsheet can age quickly and is not as read- ily sharable as information acquired and stored in the cloud-based GreatVines. Current users attest that having everything in one place makes their business flow better. "GreatVines has helped us drive trade sales teams to activate brands to new heights, measure the results and pro- vide visibility throughout our entire organization," shares VP Strategic Accounts, Rémy Cointreau USA Scott Gifford. Derek Hahm, Chief of Staff, Craft Brew Alliance, mirrors Scott's sentiments, adding how using GreatVines has been "game changing in the management of our business." For more information, go to CLOUD-BASED SALES MANAGEMENT AND MARKETING TOOL GREATVINES MAKES HARVESTING AND UTILIZING VITAL INFORMATION EASIER FOR BEVERAGE SUPPLIERS by Elyse Glickman Thriving on the "Vines" GreatVines' cloud-based solution provides transparency by making all brand- related sales information accessible.

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