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2008 - Sharing UPC Codes

Sent: Sunday, November 09, 2008 3:03 PM
Subject: Sharing UPC Codes

Hi Forumites,

I've been working in beer retail since May and have learned a lot about the world of bottled beers. As I am currently a link between the brewing and retail worlds, I want to recommend that breweries do not share UPC codes between seasonal beers (or any beers).

If you are wondering why your favorite retailer hasn't reordered your current hot seasonal, it could be because the reorder only kicks in when the quantity in stock hits zero. If the retailer is sitting on any of your last seasonal beer, the store's buyer may not know the store is out of your new seasonal.

I have seen very established, professional breweries that I hold in high esteem do this, even though I am certain they can afford another UPC code. Some breweries use the same UPC on four seasonals a year! Even two seasonals sharing a UPC code per year is too many.

The store I work for currently stocks 1,200 different bottled beers at a time. We overlap all the seasonal seasons. (i.e.: Summer into Oktoberfest into Pumpkin into Fresh Hop into Christmas into Winter.) If the stocker is paying attention, she/he can leave a note for the buyer that, "We are completely out of XXX Brewery's Christmas beer, even though we still have plenty of their Fresh Hop," etc. Don't let your sales depend on a stocker's knowledge of your shared UPC codes.

To keep all your beers flowing smoothly through the brewery-distributor-retail system, please use a separate UPC code for each beer. Thank you!

Cheers, Teri

Sent: Tuesday, November 11, 2008 1:54 PM
Subject: Re: Sharing UPC Codes

Shared UPC Code Controversy.

What a controversy I stirred up over shared UPC codes! I received several emails privately that explained quite succinctly how chain stores lock in their UPC-coded products once per year, and only do shelf resets once per year. Shared UPC codes allow chain stores to swap a new seasonal beer into the same shelf space once their last seasonal beer is gone.

I've been forwarding the responses to my Forum post to my boss at Belmont Station. He has given me permission to forward his response to the Forum after I delete the brewery-specific references. Here it is:

Hi Teri,

Thanks for the updates, it's good to hear perspectives from people like <famous owner of famous craft brewery> who have to deal with giant chains on a regular basis. Honestly, I can handle the things like <local Christmas beer and Summer seasonal> overlapping, but this line really sums up my biggest frustration:

"Of course, this "flip" only works with same priced beers."

When someone like <a different famous craft brewery> puts out half a dozen one-off beers (not seasonals) which happen to be available at the same time (e.g.: <Christmas beer, fresh hop beer, and one-off beer>), and charge different prices for said one-offs, it becomes a pain in the ass to keep track of it and price it all accordingly. If 2 beers at different price points share the same UPC we have no choice but to charge the higher price for both. This makes us look bad in comparison to someplace like <local chain store> where they only stock the cheaper of the 2 products and their price for said beer is $1/bottle less than ours...

Anyways, keep the replies coming; I gotta get back to receiving stuff...




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