Joining a trade organization (or three) and traveling to a trade show is a big expense for many craft distillers. Ensure your investment pays off with these three ways to prepare for craft distillery trade shows.
Don’t Miss Early Bird Rates
Trade show organizers start early, and so should you. Put their important dates on your calendar. Most big trade shows offer “early bird” rates to attendees. Taking advantage can save you money, as can membership in the sponsoring organization.
Plan Your Route on the Exhibit Floor
Keep an eye on the exhibitor list, and create a list of vendor booths to visit. Review the exhibit hall map, and look at vendor and distributor websites before you meet their representatives live on the floor. That way, you can prepare a list of questions and gauge responses to determine if the vendor can provide the equipment or supplies you need.
You may also find displays from services that cater to craft distillers. Perhaps you’re looking for help from an experienced spirits marketing agency that can help you more effectively communicate your brand to your target demographic. Or maybe you’re looking for a software company that provides an innovative inventory tracking system or a better way to monitor your distillation process.
Distributors also exhibit at craft alcohol trade shows. They may want you to sign on with them to bring your craft product to a new geographic area or to expand their offerings to retailers. Assess whether such a partnership would be a positive step forward for your brand.
Choose Sessions Strategically
The schedule of sessions at many trade shows can be overwhelming. New distillers can be tempted to attend more sessions than they should. Maximize your time on the exhibit floor, and choose sessions to attend that will benefit your business at the stage you’re in now. Focus on education for new distilleries if that’s where you are. Or attend sessions that provide updates on regulations to stay on top of the ever-shifting world of licensing, taxes, and online sales.
Trade shows can be a bit overwhelming without advance planning. Narrowing the list of exhibitors you’d like to meet, carefully selecting sessions to attend, and clearly determining your goals are the best ways to prepare for craft distillery trade shows. With thoughtful preparation and scheduling, you’ll get the best benefit from your investment in attending your next industry event.