One by-product of the recent growth of crafts has been the noticeable increase in job openings across the country. Industry pubs and websites list employment openings in the craft industry ranging from production to logistics. The majority of jobs listed are, however, in the areas of sales and marketing, specifically district, regional or area sales. A common title for such positions is “Brand or Beer Ambassador!”
Often we hear the same story over and over from beer companies trying to fill job openings. Universally, there is difficulty in finding individuals with the needed skill sets or qualifications for the company’s culture. In some cases, these openings go unfilled for months.
HEB, a large Texas grocer, conducted several charitable fund raising events during the past year. Two of these events were golf tournaments, one in the spring and one in the fall. Last month, the fall tournament, which benefited The United Way, hosted more than 240 players. To no one’s surprise, a majority of the participants were associated with the beer industry.
While players typically flock to such events to aid the selected charitable organization and the vendor, many view a golf tournament as a way to renew old friendships within the industry. The night before the tournament is often viewed with great anticipation as players in the industry have the opportunity to meet over a beer and relive old memories.
At one of HEB’s most recent golf tournaments, it was interesting to see the number of former AB field people who had landed key positions with other beer companies. Since this event was sponsored by HEB, many, if not all participants, were national or chain account pros. This was logical, given the fact that many of the buyers for these chains were experienced and had been with their respective companies for years. Experienced national account people are the most desirable for any company as they have developed relationships with multiple buyers over their many years in the industry.
Who better at this than AB? For decades, AB dominated the chain business, both on-premise and off-premise, and only when InBev acquired the industry giant, did AB’s grip loosened. This change has occurred primarily due to AB’s forced talent drain. As fast as AB would cut employees, other competitors raced to grab the talent. This was evident at the recent HEB golf outing. The acquisition of talent has given these companies a leg-up on their competitors.
Perhaps more than the positive results these companies have achieved are the negative results that AB has seen over the last ten years. While last week’s post outlined a major cause of AB’s declining sales, this talent drain highlights another reason AB has continued down that same path. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, yet expecting different results!
Last week, ABI again announced a change in U.S. leadership, this time inserting an American at the top instead of a Brazilian. Perhaps this change will start improving the numbers for AB in the U.S. Odds, however, say that this AB talent drain will continue regardless of management.
Again this Thanksgiving, other companies, many of them crafts, give thanks for AB’s generosity. Have a great Thanksgiving…
Talent without working hard is nothing…
Editors note; Brendan Whitworth, the new head of sales is from the US.