Small business: Trade shows - Alan Spinks

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Alan Spinks, Head of Sales and Distribution, Deep Creek Brewing Co.

Deep Creek Brewing's Alan Spinks. Photo / Supplied
Deep Creek Brewing's Alan Spinks. Photo / Supplied

Tell us about Deep Creek Brewing:

Deep Creek Brewing Co. is a throwback to the days when you could head down to your local village, hang out with great friends, drink exciting brews and eat fantastic food. All in an environment, which exuded the timeless value of fine, hand-crafted quality.

We're passionate about producing and serving fantastic, flavour fuelled beers. To do this we use the finest ingredients we can. Our enthusiasm was born in this fine country; and inspired from friends here and around the globe.

Which trade shows do you go to and why?

Beervana, the Auckland Beer Festival, the Great Kiwi Beer Festival in Christchurch and we are due to attend the Tauranga food show in July, the South Island Hospitality trade show in September and Taste of Auckland.

We tend to limit our attendance to food and beverage shows. This provides the ideal audience. We also try to attend home shows especially within our direct geographical area as this provides an ideal opportunity to showcase our brand to quite large numbers of local businesses/people.

Our attendance is primarily to promote our brand. We are in a large market where there is huge choice. Trade shows offer us the opportunity to be able to showcase our beers, which you don't get with your product sitting on a shelf in a store. We target trade shows within a geographical area where we have a presence: for instance a bar or store that stocks our craft beer. As we grow we look at trade shows within areas where we believe there is market opportunity.

Would you like to attend more?

As a small business we restrict which shows we attend due to the costs involved. Also we have to consider meeting demand. To introduce a product to market and then be unable to deliver that demand would be highly detrimental to our brand.

With the bigger trade shows they are usually under contract with the large food and beverage companies. Within these contracts there are limitations on the number of other food and beverage businesses that can present at the shows. In some cases they are the only beverage at the shows.

What are you trying to get out of a trade show each time?

Our aim is to make people aware of our brand. We are in a huge market with a lot of competition. Craft beer is emerging as a fast growing section of the beverage market. Trade shows also allows us to improve our recipes based on the feedback from tastings.

People are generally emotionally attached to their favourite beer possibly through generations so we want people to taste our products in an environment where we can discuss methods, ingredient used and offer free samples. We want to show people what beer used to taste like and what it can be today.

What is the cost of having a stall at a trade show?

Costs vary from $800 to $5000 the more you spend the better position you get.

Usually only the big companies can afford the larger stands. We don't tend to make any money attending trade shows but the value we get out of attending these shows is brand awareness. They also offer the opportunity to build relationships with potential customers.

What business deals have emerged from previous trade shows?

Trade shows have provided a great opportunity, for instance we met a purchasing manager for one of New Zealand's bigger hotels. We are working with them to become a registered vendor which would mean a big boost to our business.

A number of smart SMEs are running topic workshops for clients and others, setting the agenda of discussion in their field of expertise. Tell us your stories.

- NZ Herald

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