EP-043 Alan Moreno of Plank Road Tap Room
We’ve all been hearing about how competitive craft beer is getting, how hard it is to get tap handles and retail space, especially in a market like Chicago that’s flooded with breweries from both costs, plenty of European imports, not to mention our own booming production environment with everything from start-up nanos, to Goose Island, to rapidly developing suburban breweries with plenty of space to grow. There are few markets as jam-packed as Chicago right now.
But what does that really mean on the sales side? What’s it like to deal with so many new brands and new pressures, to perform. It’s partly an embarrassment of riches for retailers right now. But with that comes the hidden pressure to be loyal, or sometimes the explicit pressure to play favorites. And sometimes, it also means that retailers are gatekeeper to a huge market, and breweries and distributors are happy to pay for the the chance to play on your stage.
Today we’re going to talk to a relatively fresh face in Chicagoland’s retail scene. Way out in Elgin, IL Alan and Breanne Moreno started a taproom unlike anything the area had ever seen. It’s a beer desert out there, and they appear like a mirage on a small country road serving some of the area’s best beer. Sometimes that means he gets anything he wants, and sometimes that means he’s a target for manipulation as a premier account. Who wins? Well, it’s not always clear who wins. And today he’s here in the studio to talk to us about the many ups and downs of selling beer in such a tumultuous environment.