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Mid-Sized Distributor


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I run a rum distillery in Texas and we've been working with a small distributor.  Long story short, we aren't happy with the relationship and are looking at our options.  There seem to be a fair number of options, but we aren't sure which way to go.  We are debating trying for a big distributor, but fear being lost in the shuffle or that their demands might be to high for our capacity.  

Does any one have any recommendations or advice what to look for in a distributor?

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Distribution is always a challenge. Small, medium, or large can be good or bad. Keep in mind that whatever the distributor, their primary job is distribution, not marketing. Marketing is your job, and sales is a responsibility you share with your distributor, effectively. You did not say what was wrong with your small distributor, but sometimes problems can include slow or late payments, inability to keep enough stock on hand, and inability to efficiently make deliveries. A medium or larger distributor may address these issues. Your concerns about production levels with a big distributor are warranted.

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  • 7 months later...

We've used small, medium and large distributors in different markets to different effect.  Like Bluestar says, each has its strengths and weaknesses.  Its a good exercise to list what you like and don't like about your current distribution partner and use it to interview new distributors.  Chances are, if they're small the problems may be timely payment and delivering product when it's ordered by retailers.  If this is the case, this isn't a good partner to keep, regardless of their size.  They're a liability to your business.  Again, if/if/if that's the case, interview a few potential distributor partners, set expectations, set goals, define your and their responsibilities and go from there.  

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