Suppliers 101: Everything You Need to Know About Supplier Roles | Wine Enthusiast
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Suppliers 101: Everything You Need to Know About Supplier Roles


ForceBrands Decanter: Opening Up the Conversation

ForceBrands is the consumer product industry’s leading recruiting firm. Each month, the company’s leading recruiters and strategists share insider advice and insights about the wine world.

Thousands of new brands emerge on the scene each year, yet not all of them can hire. Supplier roles, however, have maintained a consistent level of hiring and are always in demand. But what exactly do suppliers do? And what are the pros and cons of these roles? We asked our expert recruiters to weigh in on what it’s like to work on the supply side of the beverage industry. Read on to discover the pros, the cons, and some inside tips for landing these roles.

What are Some Pro Tips for Breaking Into the Beverage Industry?
Starting your career in the spirit industry is challenging. It’s hard to get into. The best way to do it is to start from the ground floor working as a sales rep or working with a distributor. You need to prove that you have an independent motivation to have a tangible impact on the brand you are pursuing. They want someone who is going to be able to activate immediately. For a much larger supplier, the best way to get in is to get a master’s degree, have a BS in business administration, and have experience working in the CPG industry. Make sure you are getting a basic foundation in traditional knowledge of the industry and that’s what it will take to be entertained by a much larger supplier.

What Should Candidates Look for in a Company?
Candidates should look at the executive team and ask any of the following: Are they people with a proven track record in beer, wine, and spirits?; Do they have the financial background to run an effective team?; Do they focus on personal development and have the resources for it?; Do they have resources for experiential marketing? Brands that have an aggressive experience around their brand are the ones to go for — they’re investing in their people and in their customers.

Are There Any ‘Trendy’ Suppliers?
The trendiest, most noted brands are the ones having the best time attracting great talent. Those brands have a solid executive team, are well founded, and are ambitious enough to offer potential shares in the company because they want people in the trenches and invested in the brand for the long term.

What Qualifications Should Candidates Have?
It really depends on the size of the brand. For a smaller business, you need to be able to understand what their team’s expectation is of you. At a smaller brand, you’re going to be wearing so many hats. You won’t just be a sales manager. You will be writing all the deals with your distributors. At a small supplier, your responsibilities are far reaching and absolutely crucial to your business. For larger suppliers, the day-to-day is much more focused and direct.

What Makes One Candidate Stand Out From the Rest?
One thing that’s super important, especially with small to medium-sized companies, is the passion. If you’re not passionate about it, it won’t work. You have to be sure that you love it. There is no reason to work for a brand that you don’t love. There are so many opportunities out there in the spirits world and in the new suppliers. If you can’t find something you love, look elsewhere. And don’t be afraid to try something new.