October 2019 | Directors Corner
VICE PRESIDENT OF SALES – BEER
What is your background and career path at Heidelberg?
I first got a “taste” for the beer business while working at the Blue Moon Saloon during my years at the University of Cincinnati. After graduating with a degree in business and economics, I continued working there for a couple of years as a bartender. I joined the beer sales team at Ohio Valley in 2002.
I was promoted to District Manager in 2005 and then was named General Sales Manager of the OV beer division in 2009. As the company was structuring its corporate team, I was selected to be corporate Director of Sales-Beer and then was promoted to Vice President of Sales-Beer in 2016. Just this year I was appointed to the Executive Team.
What are your job responsibilities and priorities?
In my current position I work closely with Senior VP Greg Michalec to oversee the company’s entire beer business (other than Anheuser-Busch products). We call it “All Other Beer” or “AOB,” and the category is complex with multiple suppliers and territories, not to mention new products coming on board on a daily basis.
My biggest priority is driving our key brands during key selling periods. Greg and I also work hard at keeping positive, strong relationships with our suppliers, and of course we are focused on assisting the Beer GSMs and General Managers in each market.
Inventory management is another huge part of the job while trying to project the changing needs of the marketplace. We work closely with the chain team, too, because 50% of ALL beer business in Ohio is done at chain stores!
Any recent accomplishments from your team?
I am proud of the AOB sales and management team as we just celebrated the million-case mark for White Claw (Ohio Valley, Dayton, Toledo, Lorain, Columbus and Youngstown). We also just celebrated selling a million cases of Boston Beer products (on a rolling 12-month calendar basis). Boston Beer is handled at Ohio Valley, Dayton, Toledo and Lorain.
Who do you interact with on a regular basis?
I touch every part of our “wheel” every day as well as our beer suppliers. Each market’s beer sales professionals, GSMs and GMs are important but our IT team, Supply and Pricing teams, Operations, Admin Team – everyone works toward our corporate goals.
What alcohol beverage trends are you seeing?
It’s not JUST the seltzers that are doing well; ALL FMBs (Flavored Malt Beverages) are flying. We’re lucky to handle Mike’s, Twisted Tea and Seagram’s, all solid and doing well. We just have never seen explosive sales like seltzers! NEVER! It’s a four-year trend and we know it will slow down eventually.
We also are seeing good sales numbers with beer imports. The only part of the beer business that is struggling is domestics and crafts. I don’t think these trends will change in the next 12 months.
How has the business and/or the company changed since you joined Heidelberg?
Heidelberg is now a big corporation, not a bunch of different companies like it was in 2002. A lot of folks who work at one site may not realize how much streamlining has been going on behind the scenes and how much work has gone into our corporate structure.
As far as the business goes: You can’t get bored! When I first entered the beer business, it was all domestic beer, then the rage was all craft beer, and now it’s all about FMBs. The day you get bored, the business changes on you! It’s fast-paced, and that’s the way I like it.
How do you like to spend time when you’re away from work?
I have three active children: Jack (10), Lila (9) and Hank (2). The oldest two are into soccer and basketball, so my wife Summer and I are always headed to one of their games or practices. I also love to play golf whenever I get the chance.
HAVE A STORY?
Report news for the next issue of Roar On or email editors MIKE VANDER WOUDE