4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Keg Seeker seeks to modernize wholesale beer sales

Local app can help beer buyers improve their taplists

On the Keg Seeker app, beer buyers may browse current brewery offerings by style.
On the Keg Seeker app, beer buyers may browse current brewery offerings by style.

Back in the fall of 2019, O’Brien’s Pub co-owner and general manager Tyson Blake was manning the bar, catching up with a regular customer. O’Brien’s is well known as one of the city’s oldest and best craft beer destinations, and as the two spoke, a parade of sales reps came through, one after another, each hoping to sell Blake bottles and kegs for the bar.

Place

O'Brien's Pub

4646 Convoy Street, San Diego

After something like the tenth rep left, the customer expressed surprise that so many in-person sales calls would happen in a single afternoon. Blake’s response? “That happens to me every day.”

Although customers are now accustomed to finding and even buying beer through web sites and apps, wholesale deals have remained relatively low-tech, person-to-person affairs. In normal times, small armies of brewery and distributor reps prowl the county’s bars, shops, and restaurants. They provide samples and forge relationships with beer buyers, who order off sales sheets or via email. For a bar such as O’Brien’s, that means daily sales calls and ordering beer from dozens of sources.

“Wouldn’t it be awesome to have this all in one place?” Blake’s customer asked.

Except it wasn’t an idle question. This customer happens to be a senior engineer at a prominent local tech company, and has the skills needed to bring wholesale beer business online. Since that 2019 conversation, he and Blake have partnered up to develop the app Keg Seeker, a sales platform that allows breweries and distributors to list their updated keg, can, and bottle inventories.

It’s not an entirely new idea. Several of the larger beer distributors, such as AB InBev, have developed apps that service their brands. However, by offering a more egalitarian platform, Keg Seeker provides visibility for breweries and distributors, regardless of their resources.

“Most local breweries are distributing for themselves,” Blake points out, “So it’s a place for them to be on an even playing field with the big boys.”

Keg Seeker launched a year ago, and 30 local breweries signed on within the first two weeks, most of them self-distributing. Of course, coronavirus restrictions shut down bars almost right away, which put a serious crimp in its first year in operation. However, Blake says the app did generate $200,000 in sales despite these challenges. Meanwhile, the pandemic provided for a soft launch period, wherein he and his partners converted buyer and seller feedback into upgrades for what is now a more streamlined app.

“I actually use it five times a week,” note Blake, “Within 30 seconds I’ve placed my order.”

Because it’s working with so many different sales entities, orders made through the app generate emails to the appropriate sale reps, allowing business to function as usual. However, Blake explains that most sales sheets list only the name and price of a given beer. Each beer is just another row on a spreadsheet, which may not even mention whether it’s an IPA, lager, or stout. “Missing on a lot of sales sheets or emails,” Blake says, “was brand visibility and clarity.”

To remedy this, Keg Seeker allows breweries to provide detailed descriptions for the beers, say which hops are featured in a specific IPA. “You can put together a story behind the beer,” Blake says, noting, “Those are the things that sell the product, not just to beer buyers, but from the bartender or server to the table.”

With breweries’ brands and products clearly visible, Keg Seeker allows beer buyers to browse by brand, quickly viewing which beers are available and in which format and at what price. A single brew might be available in 15.5-gallon kegs, 5-gallon sixtels, bottles, or cases, for example. Buyers may view beer lists sorted by style (distinguishing IPAs from double IPAs, for example), and can quickly peruse which beers are New or Popular.

Keg Seeker is free for buyers and will remain so for sellers until June. Currently, it mostly features around 40, mostly self-distributed San Diego breweries. As the world starts to open back up, Blake and company are working to bring more buyers, breweries, and distributors to the platform.

One local distributor, Brown Bag Beverage, and its clients are already on Keg Seeker. Brown Bag owner Susie Bags cautions, “I don’t think it will replace good old fashioned sales calls.” However, she adds that if more buyers start using Keg Seeker, the app could become a useful tool for both sides. “I imagine in the future we might be able to access accounts that we didn’t previously have a relationship with.”

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

Cobra Kai cassettes

Tijuana’s La Rola records noticed the increase in used cassette sales in 2020
Next Article

San Diego's vinyl records surge, but why?

A talk with owners of Re-animated, Folk Arts, Lou's, Beat Box
On the Keg Seeker app, beer buyers may browse current brewery offerings by style.
On the Keg Seeker app, beer buyers may browse current brewery offerings by style.

Back in the fall of 2019, O’Brien’s Pub co-owner and general manager Tyson Blake was manning the bar, catching up with a regular customer. O’Brien’s is well known as one of the city’s oldest and best craft beer destinations, and as the two spoke, a parade of sales reps came through, one after another, each hoping to sell Blake bottles and kegs for the bar.

Place

O'Brien's Pub

4646 Convoy Street, San Diego

After something like the tenth rep left, the customer expressed surprise that so many in-person sales calls would happen in a single afternoon. Blake’s response? “That happens to me every day.”

Although customers are now accustomed to finding and even buying beer through web sites and apps, wholesale deals have remained relatively low-tech, person-to-person affairs. In normal times, small armies of brewery and distributor reps prowl the county’s bars, shops, and restaurants. They provide samples and forge relationships with beer buyers, who order off sales sheets or via email. For a bar such as O’Brien’s, that means daily sales calls and ordering beer from dozens of sources.

“Wouldn’t it be awesome to have this all in one place?” Blake’s customer asked.

Except it wasn’t an idle question. This customer happens to be a senior engineer at a prominent local tech company, and has the skills needed to bring wholesale beer business online. Since that 2019 conversation, he and Blake have partnered up to develop the app Keg Seeker, a sales platform that allows breweries and distributors to list their updated keg, can, and bottle inventories.

It’s not an entirely new idea. Several of the larger beer distributors, such as AB InBev, have developed apps that service their brands. However, by offering a more egalitarian platform, Keg Seeker provides visibility for breweries and distributors, regardless of their resources.

“Most local breweries are distributing for themselves,” Blake points out, “So it’s a place for them to be on an even playing field with the big boys.”

Keg Seeker launched a year ago, and 30 local breweries signed on within the first two weeks, most of them self-distributing. Of course, coronavirus restrictions shut down bars almost right away, which put a serious crimp in its first year in operation. However, Blake says the app did generate $200,000 in sales despite these challenges. Meanwhile, the pandemic provided for a soft launch period, wherein he and his partners converted buyer and seller feedback into upgrades for what is now a more streamlined app.

“I actually use it five times a week,” note Blake, “Within 30 seconds I’ve placed my order.”

Because it’s working with so many different sales entities, orders made through the app generate emails to the appropriate sale reps, allowing business to function as usual. However, Blake explains that most sales sheets list only the name and price of a given beer. Each beer is just another row on a spreadsheet, which may not even mention whether it’s an IPA, lager, or stout. “Missing on a lot of sales sheets or emails,” Blake says, “was brand visibility and clarity.”

To remedy this, Keg Seeker allows breweries to provide detailed descriptions for the beers, say which hops are featured in a specific IPA. “You can put together a story behind the beer,” Blake says, noting, “Those are the things that sell the product, not just to beer buyers, but from the bartender or server to the table.”

With breweries’ brands and products clearly visible, Keg Seeker allows beer buyers to browse by brand, quickly viewing which beers are available and in which format and at what price. A single brew might be available in 15.5-gallon kegs, 5-gallon sixtels, bottles, or cases, for example. Buyers may view beer lists sorted by style (distinguishing IPAs from double IPAs, for example), and can quickly peruse which beers are New or Popular.

Keg Seeker is free for buyers and will remain so for sellers until June. Currently, it mostly features around 40, mostly self-distributed San Diego breweries. As the world starts to open back up, Blake and company are working to bring more buyers, breweries, and distributors to the platform.

One local distributor, Brown Bag Beverage, and its clients are already on Keg Seeker. Brown Bag owner Susie Bags cautions, “I don’t think it will replace good old fashioned sales calls.” However, she adds that if more buyers start using Keg Seeker, the app could become a useful tool for both sides. “I imagine in the future we might be able to access accounts that we didn’t previously have a relationship with.”

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

A fine time for Phở Hóa

Lessons learned from eating the same thing again and again
Next Article

Sheet music as tool of colonialism

Oxford itself is a product of Western Civilization
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Drinks All Around — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close