How you Brewin’? As Craft Beer Demand Increases, So Should Your Last-Mile Efforts

After a long day on the job, most would agree that there is nothing quite like sitting down and having a nice, cold beer. And the general population seems to agree considering that beer is the most widely consumed alcoholic beverage in the world, and the third most popular out of all beverages, coming in just after water and tea.

While beer is easily considered a global industry, Americans in particular have embraced the brews with open arms (and stomachs.) In fact, the U.S. consumes about 20 gallons of beer per capita annually, and to meet that demand there are more than 6,300 U.S. breweries in production trying to fill that need - which also means delivering those brews to customers, restaurants and bars quickly and efficiently.

But these homegrown operations aren’t just fulfilling the American desire for hoppy flavor; they are raking in the big bucks in a highly competitive U.S. market. For 2018, the anticipated revenue for U.S. breweries is projected at just about $35 billion, and that market is only expected to grow. In fact, experts believe that the industry will increase at an annualized rate of 2.5% over the next five years, resulting in an estimated revenue of $39.6 billion by 2023.

In celebration of the U.S. and its bevy of brewery success, beer drinkers across the nation will prepare to raise a pint for National American Beer Day on October 27; meaning breweries across the nation will be assembling their fleets to distribute the frothy beverages to restaurants and bars alike. And while some customers will turn to the easy-to-find and traditional American lagers produced by the larger beer providers, like Anheuser-Busch, there has been a shift in consumer demand for specialty beers at smaller, craft breweries, such as American pale ales (favored by 7.5 percent of consumers), amber ales ( 4.4 percent) and American IPAs ( 24.6 percent).

San Francisco-based Fort Point Beer Company has risen to the occasion to meet the bubbling U.S. client call for such craft beers. Self described as “the product of a thriving American craft beer culture, shaped by deeply San Franciscan values: quality craftsmanship and a spirit of innovation,” the thriving West Coast business has cultivated a reputation for creating “balanced, thoughtful beers that reference traditional styles but are by no means bound to them.”

Their collection of beers certainly reflects that ideology. From several popular pale ale options, like Mosaic Park (India Pale Ale), Villager (San Francisco Style India Pale Ale), and Animal (Tropical India Pale Ale), to more unique brews, like Westfalia (Nuremberg inspired Red Ale) and Nitro (Summer Porter), Fort Point has lived up to its claim of crafting a “deft and impassioned brewing style.” And their customer base has certainly taken notice.

In order to meet the rising demand and dispense their refined brews to bars, restaurants and stores, Fort Point Beer Co. needed a way to quickly and efficiently deliver to their client-base. That’s where the route optimization software from WorkWave Route Manager came in. As Fort Point Beer Co.’s Logistics Manager Nora Batho points out, the decision to partner with Route Manager was “based on [the] increased volume of beer we needed to move as a company deciding to self-distribute in the Bay Area.”

“We use the Route Manager on a daily basis to be able to build dynamic routes for each of our drivers,” Batho says. “It has definitely kept us flexible in responding to quick expansion of our distribution needs.”

In addition to growing with the business and helping the Fort Point fleet handle their increase in deliveries, Batho notes that the Route Manager software has been beneficial in its ability to provide vital data and customization to best streamline operations on future routes. “It allowed us some flexible API integration with mapping stops throughout the day, so we are better able to plan ahead and strategize delivery zones in real time,” she says. “The degree of flexibility in building custom fields, the ability to edit routes with the drag-and-drop feature, and dispatching routes for driver access - these all have tremendously increased our responsiveness and route efficiency.”

Fort Point has proven its prowess in managing delivery obstacles through self-distribution. For other breweries who have opted out of, or do not have the option to perform deliveries on their own it is essential for them to obtain control of distribution networks. Because getting the goods to the consumer is just as important and developing the drink, after all. As Fort Point has shown, industry players must be self-sufficient or have access to distribution networks in order to get their beer sold to their thirsty customers. But the “last mile”, or the product’s journey from warehouse to customer, is often the most complicated and costly part of the shipping process for businesses.

Not to mention the fact that this is the part of the business process that proves key to customer satisfaction. Because if a business can’t meet the customer’s expectation of fast, free delivery, then chances are the customer is going to walk away with the message that they were not a priority.

Fortunately, there are sophisticated, technical solutions readily available to help breweries big and small tackle their last mile efficiently and effectively. As Fort Point demonstrates, Route Manager enables businesses to achieve total transparency during the delivery process, as well as provide drivers with detailed instructions while they are in the field, supply GPS tracking to confirm vehicle location 24/7, block certain areas from the route to ensure speedy and productive deliveries, and much more.

By proactively approaching last mile efforts breweries can immediately see an impressive ROI in several areas, but perhaps the most critical improvement is in time savings. Instead of spending countless hours planning out how to best transport their carefully crafted cases of beer, breweries can instead spend more time hopping into new brew ventures and profitably share their passion with thirsty consumers everywhere.

So don’t be bitter when it comes to your delivery strategy. Give one of our professionals a call today at 866-497-4993 and drink up all the solutions that WorkWave Route Manager has brewing for you.

Subscribe for Updates!