Brent Felice, on-premise field sales manager with Coopers Brewery, and Kevin Gregg from the Exeter Hotel, talk to TheShout about what’s working for them right now, the secrets of a good working relationship and some of the trade’s current challenges.
Coopers' Brent Felice (l) and Kevin Gregg from the Exeter Hotel
Brent: Spent seven years at Nike in South Australia before joining Coopers in 2004 as a sales rep. In 2006 he was looking after the key national accounts Coles and Woolworths and in 2007 was also put in charge of sponsorships. In July 2015 he was appointed to his current position.
Kevin: Obtained his first job in the hotel industry when he was 18, working in a hotel in Peterborough in regional South Australia for his current business partner. Sixteen years ago, he and his now business partner bought the Exeter Hotel in Adelaide.
How are you finding the current market?
Brent: It’s very competitive and we doing more to maintain our share. There are no free kicks and on-premise in particular has lots of challenges with pricing and licencing laws. It’s getting very expensive to buy alcohol and people are increasingly buying packaged beer to drink at home rather than vising hotels.
Kevin: The Exeter is trading pretty well, but on-premise in general is tough. The biggest hurdles businesses like ours face are the costs of compliance. Both State and Federal Governments for years have been saying they are all about cutting red tape, but we are seeing more and more of it all the time. Sometimes it’s really quite minor, but it all adds up. Discounting by national liquor outlets is also making things tough, but the uniqueness of our hotel means we are going OK.
What deals or promotions are working for you at the moment?
Brent: We are doing an on-premise tap promotion with the Exeter with Mild Ale 3.5%, the beer of the v8s, in the lead up to Clipsal, Coopers Clear with our recent brand refresh and Dark Ale which is always a fantastic seller at the Exeter.
Kevin: We have an ongoing promotion where we offer a couple of different Coopers’ pints on special on a rotation basis. We don’t have a bottle shop so these promotions work well for us. At the moment we are offering Coopers’ Dark Ale, Clear and Mild Ale 3.5% on special.
What do you enjoy most about the job?
Brent: Meeting people and forming relationship with customers. I am also selling a wonderful brand with a fantastic reputation in a dynamic and exciting industry. The people in the industry, our own staff and customers are great to work with.
Kevin: Working with staff and people in the industry. Our customers, at least the majority of them, are fantastic. The Exeter is also a well-known hotel with a unique atmosphere.
What do you enjoy most about working with each other?
Brent: Kevin is very open and honest. He’s a straight down the line sort of person and a great supporter of Coopers. The Exeter is also our largest keg customer in South Australia and has been a wonderful supporter of our company for many years.
Kevin: Brent and I have only just started working with each other, but Coopers is a great company to deal with. They always employ good people. They look after their staff and their staff look after their customers. This ranges from sales staff to the Coopers drivers who deliver the beer. Coopers is one of the few companies to have their own drivers and you can always tell the difference between them and contractors.
How do you approach the retailer/rep relationship?
Brent: Always be open, honest and upfront, and always follow-up. By looking after the retailer, they will look after you.
Kevin: Always be upfront and honest. Don’t pull the wool over their eyes and they won’t pull the wool over yours.