Tim Peyton, Retail Manager at Real Ale, manages shops in Twickenham and Maida Vale. With a retail experience, he shares his top tips for breweries selling beers to shops. 

1. Have striking artwork. Villages Brewery in Deptford is making really solid beers. The labels are very modern but not shouty; the labels really stand out without slapping you in the face. I would say most people buy loud arty stuff based on the label, but from a retailers perspective, I find it quite refreshing when a brewery isn’t doing that. However, loud cans are a proven formula, and it does work.

2. It’s nice to deal with good people. It’s generally not about offers, deals or even price, it’s just the quality of the beer and the personalities behind the brewery are a big factor. How easy are people to deal with? How enthusiastic are they?

3. Breweries need to have good marketing. 
Social media is massive, especially Instagram. Without that people wouldn’t know half the beers that breweries released. It does half of our job for us.

4. Have a core range. It’s definitely good to have a core range of beers. A pale, a lager and an IPA in an ideal world will tick most boxes.

5. Use the right format for the beer. At the presentation point, if you have a hugely hoppy modern, New England-style IPA in a 500ml bottle, that’s a little incongruous and we’d struggle to sell it to the right customers. We love cans, and I think every other shop would say the same thing. They’re an excellent platform for art and attractive for customers too: easy to chill for example. But there’s a time and a place for bottles, for darker beers and classic beers such as lagers.

6. Breweries need to offer a story. If the breweries have a great story, then it’s a selling point and if breweries are able to articulate that at the point of sale that will make them stand out. It’s very rare that they’ll personally tell us how a beer came about, and it would help.

7. The more information, the better. What hops are used, or malts. A lot of breweries are giving that information, but it would nice if even more would do it. Customers are seeking it out.

8. Steady on the specials. Innovation is great, and one-off specials are great, but when a brewery is pumping out so many, I think it loses its impact a bit. I believe that some breweries need to tone down the frequency of specials. If a beer is good, it should be given the space to exist.

9. Make great beer. If the beers are good, We’ll recommend it wherever it comes from.