I missed posting last week as I was out in Las Vegas doing a week of work-withs alongside a distributor partner, Wirtz Beverage Nevada. Over the years, I have found work-withs to be the most effective way to spread the Tanteo message and personally meet bar managers, owners, bartenders, barbacks, servers, liquor store owners, sommeliers, store clerks, and all of the great individuals at the distributor tier connects us with. Our work with days consist of selling Tanteo together, building relationships, and having a good time. Today I wanted to help explain work-withs to those unfamiliar with the spirits business and give a few pointers I have picked up along the way.
The Basics: Ever since the repeal of prohibition, the spirits industry has been a three tier system: a supplier - a distributor - a retailer. Tanteo is a supplier. We make Tequila and import it into the states. From there, we sell to our distributor partners, and in the case of Nevada, Wirtz Beverage Nevada. (Tanteo has one distributor per state with a few exceptions). Our distributor partners sell, market, and deliver Tanteo to retailers (bars, restaurants, and liquor stores). The retailers then sell Tanteo and other alcoholic beverages to the consumers. An effect of the three-tier system is a lack of control by any one tier. A company like Tanteo does not have as much control as Apple or Prada for example on how consumers interact with the brand. Tanteo cannot open a bar, nor can Tanteo ship directly to consumers. Essentially, this means that it is my job to help guide the process of Tanteo from distilling to consumption by the consumer. During work-withs, I am ensuring our distributor partners are expressing the brand in the best way possible.
The work-withs is the most efficient way for me to help control this process. Work-withs are scheduled days in the field with the sales teams from our different distributor partners that let us educate the distributor on the finer points of selling Tanteo and allows us to visit accounts and spread the message of using Tanteo to Spice up your Margarita. They usually start by getting in the care of a sales representative from the distributor, end with a happy hour cocktail, and in the middle combine a lot of chatting while driving, or “Windshield Time”. Below are a few lessons I have learned from my work-withs over the years
1. Drink a Lot of Coffee: Work-withs can be exhausting. While it is a lot of fun going from bar to bar, you need to stay on and this requires a little caffeine fix. You want to be memorable to the person you are working with, but also to all the people you meet throughout the day. The push to stay on, combined with weekly cross country traveling, staying on top of office work, and late-nights visiting accounts after the work-with mean you need to maintain a sustained energy level. Stay perky, and keep coffee at hand.
2. Don’t Judge an Account By its Sign (door): Friends always ask me where I am planning to go when I am out visiting a new city during work-withs. The short answer is I have no idea. Most of the time, I am not even sure what accounts I am seeing until I walk through the door of the account. Some of these doors do seem more promising than others (our top accounts tend to be cool cocktail lounges and modern Mexican restaurants), but I have also had great success at dive bars, sushi spots, burger joints, and casinos. Successful work with trips are all about having an open mind and going with what the day gives you.
3. Make New Friends: It is easy to feel a little groundhog day on work-withs - you wake up in a hotel bed in a new city, drive around the city with someone new, and taste and talk about Tanteo Jalapeño Margaritas all day long. It is easy to get a routine, but the fun part of the work with is asking questions, and really getting to know the people and the cities you travel to. Work-withs have led to conversations ranging from religion to politics, urban planning to technological innovation. They have also led to brewery tours, YouTube videos, and even a call to 911. Ask questions, get to know the new city and your new friend you are working with and have a sense of adventure.
While it is not as glamorous as many of my friends think, work-withs are a unique part of selling spirits. When done successfully, they are actually a lot of fun. The tips above have helped me spread the Tanteo message, as well as fulfilled me in making new connections and exploring new cities.
Para la Buena Vida,