The Tasting Panel magazine

October 2015

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Page 138 of 140

138  /  the tasting panel  /  october 2015 Amber Briggs doesn't shy away from the hard work that comes with building a strong career in California, one of the most competitive markets in this industry. When she began her fulltime career at Safeway, she simultaneously completed her B.A. "The educational experience, which was unique to professionals, allowed me to learn from those already working in various industries," mused Briggs. "Applying everything I learned from colleagues during the day, and working with classmates at night was instrumental in helping me to move up in the organization." After mastering the finesse as a Category Manager of various business units within the company, Briggs made the move into buying wine in 2011, where she learned about the complexities and intricacies of the alcohol beverage industry. Her sights always set on the alcohol category, Briggs' experience in running the wine program set her up to eventually manage spirits for the entire country by 2014. Currently, she's looking to further develop her passion for the psychology behind consumer buying practices: "Spirits are so trendy and innovative that seeing where the category is going is like putting your finger to the wind. The reality is that what consumers think they want, they don't always buy in store. So the question is: How do you take how consumers are thinking and behaving, and translate it to what they do in store?" After a decade-long career with Safeway, Briggs is now the Assistant Sales Manager of Spirits for Albertsons, Vons and Pavilions, the largest division in the company. With the recent merger, Briggs says her next steps will focus on "blending the two corporate philosophies and the best of each banner, to take the category to the next level." TAKING INVENTORY WITH . . . Innovation in brands, new products and what is driving the trends. Understanding customer behavior and why they buy what they buy. The craft spirits movement. Keeping up on cocktail trends. Working with like-minded professionals who are enthusiastic about the industry. The miscon- ception about the industry being one big party. It is a lot of fun, but it is also a lot of hard work. Long presentation decks. Tardiness. Inaccurate paperwork. Pushy sales calls. THE "5" LIST AMBER BRIGGS' TOP FIVE FAVES: AMBER BRIGGS' TOP FIVE PET PEEVES AMBER BRIGGS ASSISTANT SALES MANAGER, SPIRITS, ALBERTSONS, VONS AND PAVILIONS by Amanda Mannshahia / photos by Dustin Downing

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