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Always Keep Samples Handy - Shayna Kaufman

Photo for: Always Keep Samples Handy - Shayna Kaufman

25/01/2022 Shayna Kaufman, Certified Specialist of Spirits, shares tips to promote brand awareness, increase sales, pitch products to buyers, and more.

A Certified Specialist of Spirits, Shayna Kaufman joined the beverage industry in 2016 where she worked as a Sales Representative for the Big Storm Brewing Company. The beer industry was a stepping stone for her career and since then there was no looking back. She has worked as a Brand Champion for Brown-Forman through a marketing agency and currently, she is doing big things working as a US Southeast Brand Ambassador of Woodinville Whiskey.


Tell us a little about yourself? How did you progress into this role?

I am currently the US Southeast Ambassador for Woodinville Whiskey covering 3 states - Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina. I originally started my career in sales and then transitioned to working in the Beer industry. After that, I gained a job with a marketing agency representing Brown-Forman’s premium whiskey portfolio and then moved on to my current role with Woodinville.

Brand Ambassador Shayna Kaufman

As a Brand Ambassador for Woodinville, could you give us a brief about your role and what are some of the tasks involved? What are some of the challenges you face?

In my role as a Brand Ambassador, my focus is to increase awareness of Woodinville whiskey by conducting staff training, hosting consumer tasting events and working with our local distributor teams. Education is key in this role! Some challenges in this role are the overwhelming number of brands and expressions in the whiskey world that are ever-expanding by the day.

How do you Increase visibility and promote brand awareness around consumers and trade?

Being present in the market is the best way to promote brand awareness. Making yourself available and constantly being out at the bars, restaurants, and liquor stores. I make sure to always have sample bottles with me at all times, too!

What strategies do you use to gain distribution, increase volume sales and gain cocktail placements? Could you give me an example of an account you recently cracked?

I think it is very important when selling in the market to believe in your product and to be yourself. Be passionate about what you’re doing and selling! Customers know when a meeting feels like a sales pitch and not a true partnership. For every account I go to, I want to learn about how they do business, what their customers are like, and make sure our brand is a fit for both of us. Also, following up and coming through on all promises you make to an account whether that be looping back and conducting a staff training, or an event. etc. is of pinnacle importance.

What are the 3 things you focus on while pitching your product to buyers?

From a brand perspective, our 3 main points of focus at Woodinville are:

Being led by the best – highlighting our co-founders Bret and Orlin, but also our mentorship from the late Dave Pickerell when we first got started.

We talk about the fact that our product is truly 100% grain to bottle.

And lastly, Our third pillar - Tradition means design. It was important for us at Woodinville to honor the time-tested traditions of bourbon making by utilizing the best equipment and processes when making our whiskey.

What do you focus on in your training and masterclasses? Could you take us through your training module?

At Woodinville, it is very important to focus on all aspects of our brand and story. When I conduct training, I like to structure it by first telling the story of our founders and how we got started. Next, I’ll dive into our process and what makes us different. For example, the Omlin family farm where we get our grains from, our recipes, distillation process, and our seasoned barrels that we use for aging. Lastly, I will walk through each of our expressions and what makes them unique and flavor descriptors. And of course, the best part – Tasting!

How do you ensure the success of your training programs? Through routine follow-ups or other ways?

Follow-ups are very important and revisiting your accounts to show support goes a long way. All customers remember the Ambassador who came in once and said they’d revisit but never did. It is so imperative to be consistent with visiting your customers and asking for feedback from the staff/consumers.

Maintaining relationships with your clients is a big part of your role, what are a few simple yet effective ways to keep that going?

Following up and keeping in touch is the most important thing in maintaining relationships. Making sure you engage with not just the decision-makers, but everyone at your accounts goes a long way as well.

What kind of digital marketing do you do personally to promote your brand?

I love to showcase cocktails from my favorite bars on social media featuring our product. I also will promote local events and activations we are doing in the market.

How do you motivate distributor sales reps and what piece of advice would you have for newly appointed brand reps?

Making yourself available to work with them, do events in their accounts, and answer any brand questions. It’s also important to come through on your commitments to your sales team and their accounts. 

Interviewed By Prithvi Nagpal, Editor & Sommelier, Beverage Trade Network

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