Sunday, February 14, 2010

Reps

Perhaps I’m just lucky that I have been able to spend the majority of my working life dealing with products I have a passion for. Perhaps I expect way too much, maybe I’m out of step with the world. But I would expect that if you are earning your living trying to sell a product that you should have a decent understanding of the product and perhaps a touch of enthusiasm for it. The number of reps who seem to have neither sometimes astounds me. This isn’t just the case in the liquor industry I used to come across it at times in the cheese world also.
With this year being billed as the ‘summer of cider’ there have been a lot of reps trying to get their wares on our shelves. Many of them, though not all, obviously had a rather limited knowledge of the product. Perhaps the prize goes to the rep who after serving me a sample of their rather sweet chilled cider over ice (somewhat akin to showing an artwork to an art buyer by driving them past the gallery window in a bus!) answered my question as to whether they were using cider varieties by saying “oh no, we don’t use rotten apples just nice ripe ones from the tree”. I was being a touch disingenuous as I already knew the answer and was just testing but the point is they should have known what I was talking about!
I suspect there are a number of beer reps out there who couldn’t name all the fundamental ingredients in a bottle of beer. How can we expect the punter’s understanding to improve if the person in charge of marketing a product is so limited? A bit of education goes a long way.

8 comments:

Greig McGill said...

Besides the ever-awesome Mr. Townshend, does anyone else in NZ actually make a real cider? Even Nally's isn't made with several varieties of cider apples as far as I can taste. There's quite a contingent of "real" cider lovers up here in the 'tron, and at the RCC (Alex amongst them) who've tasted the real stuff in the UK or France, and would love a proper cider. Instead they get continually insulted with the sweet, boring, mainstream offerings time and time again. CAMRC time? ;)

Kieran Haslett-Moore said...

The only other one is Three Rivers from Featherston who tragically stopped producing a couple of years ago. We are still selling the now vintage cider though. its made from cider varieties but fermented with an added yeast. Two types, Method Traditional and Spritzed. They used to do a still but its all sold out. Good stuff.

Greig McGill said...

Hrm, I'll advise those who need to know. You might get some orders soon...

yalnikim said...

I would assume that there should be a direct relationship between the quality of the product and the knowledge of the salesman... but I'm guessing there is not. Smaller breweries in NZ could do well by taking a step back and looking at their sales pitch. I'm sure many don't think they have time but the reality is that they will have all the time in the world for analysis when their business goes belly up.

steve nally said...

Just to clarify our cider "Nallys" it made with two varieties of apples. They are Granny smith's and Braeburn. We use actual apple juice squeezed for us by Darlings orchard in Ettrick. I lived in the Uk and France and have a love of cider and we have been making cider for 13 years. We also do a seasonal called heritage cider, we get people to collect apples from trees in back yards, farms etc bring them to the brewery and we press them and turn it into an 8%abv mixed variety cider.

steve nally said...

“Instead they get continually insulted with the sweet, boring, mainstream offerings time and time again” not sure if you are referring to our cider… hope not. One of the things about brewing cider making is using what you have locally, in NZ there are cider varieties just not enough commercially available to produce that particular style. The Nallys is the closet to English cider I can make commercially. We are one of a few that us fresh juice. In Europe there are many different types and styles… we make NZ cider

Kieran Haslett-Moore said...

Not sure if Greig was referring to Nallys, but in my opinion Nallys is one of the best NZ style ciders on the market.

Kieron Lattimer said...

As well as Martin Townshend the village of Upper Moutere is also home to Alex Peckham who will be rolling out his first 2010 vintage this year. Alex has acres of UK/French cider apples and will also be fermenting using wild yeasts.

The only other cider maker making cider this way will be the Berryman's near Queenstown - although at the moment they are using standard NZ apples until their orchard reaches maturity.