"You can't be good at everything"
Founded in 2011 just outside Chicago, FEW Spirits rode the crest of the craft-distilling wave, making products that got loads of press and deep respect from the bartending community. But there was a problem: "All that success and exposure wasn't leading to good sales and appropriate growth," Thoroughbred Spirits Group founder Scott Schiller says. FEW's founder and master distiller Paul Hletko "was essentially running the whole business as a one-man band."
“While we were already an established company when we met, our work with Thoroughbred has helped us adapt and grow to the next level.”Todd Paul, Owner, FEW Spirits
Hletko brought Thoroughbred on board in 2014 for strategy and ongoing advice, and in 2015 tasked the company with running sales and marketing in the Midwest, expanding that to the whole country in 2016. Thoroughbred’s Director of Sales, Greg Mauloff, completely reorganized FEW’s organization with a focus on increasing case sales, negotiating a move to Breakthru Beverage, Illinois’ largest distributor, and making FEW the pinnacle craft brand in the Breakthru organization. In addition, the Thoroughbred team helped FEW develop Hank’s Recording Empire Vodka, a spirit designed and priced for use in well drinks, that helped the distillery get into accounts it had never been carried at before.
After less than a year with Thoroughbred handling sales, FEW’s total Midwest sales are up more than 200 percent, and monthly case sales through Breakthru have increased nearly 50 percent. “When you have a talented distiller like Paul, it’s tempting to make a little of everything and put it out in the marketplace, but that’s not always a good idea,” says Thoroughbred Director of Strategy and Brand Development, David Large. “I’m a firm believer that if you make all the smart small decisions along the way, you’re going to get to a good place.”