It’s difficult to know exactly how many wineries there are in the world, but certainly there are tens of thousands. Not all of them use a third-party distributor to get their wines in the hands of wine drinkers, but those that are looking to find a distributor for their brand are facing tougher competition.
The number of wine distributors is shrinking while the number of wineries is increasing. In the United States alone, the number of distributors decreased from 1,800 in 1995 to fewer than 1,200 in 2017, whereas the number of wineries has increased to more than 11,000, an increase of more than 50% since 2009.
Attending trade shows where distributors seek new brands is important, but the search for a distributor can’t rely on that alone. Here are 5 tips to increase your chances of looking attractive to distributors so you can find the right one for your wine brand.
Make their job easy. Distributors take serious looks at brands that already have a marketing strategy in place, know what the margins will be for a distributor, have appealing brand packaging that catches consumers’ eyes, and show that the distributor won’t have to do much work to make a brand look attractive to stores considering selling the brand.
Think outside the genre. Beer distributors diversify their portfolio by including wineries, and the wineries they represent have less competition within the distributor. Beer distributors also get into many more stores than most wine distributors, increasing the opportunity to get your wines into those additional shops.
Be active on social media. It’s attractive to already have a thriving social platform where you post regularly, interact with your followers, and have quality digital images and videos. Distributors will see that you’re serious about reaching the public.
Collect accolades. Enter your wines in competitions, and be able to share high scores and medals with distributors when they inquire. Also, send out wines to reputable reviewers so distributors can see those scores and reviews — if they’re favourable.
One last tip, as a winery seeking distribution but has not yet found the right one, you can benefit from increasing your direct to consumer sales experience on your websites. Wine drinkers – particularly those who are digital natives – not only expect an easy ordering experience, but they also expect to easily connect with wineries through digital platforms when they need more information. Emails, direct messages and inquiries made on social media posts need to be answered quickly or sales could be lost. The better your sales already are, the more attractive you’ll look to a distributor.