Reed’s cuts DSD sales staff to focus on grocery sales

, Staff Writer

If you were waiting to get Reed’s Ginger Brew or Virgil’s Cola into the cooler case of your favorite corner store, put those hopes on ice.

Reed’s Founder and CEO Chris Reed recently changed the company’s direction by laying off a portion of the natural soft drink company’s sales staff in favor of focusing on large accounts – particularly grocery stores.

“What one guy can do going up and down the street we can do in a two-hour meeting with a supermarket chain,” Reed said.

He said he found that his brand had unusual sway with supermarkets, as many chains are almost universally trying to build natural foods sections to cash in on the trend set by Whole Foods – where Reed’s products are some of the top-selling beverages.

“Reed’s is the Coke of the natural food industry,” Reed said.

He said the company hasn’t completely walked away from cafes, delis and convenience stores – the beverages are still available through distributors – but he said his staff won’t be working on opening any more small accounts while their hands are still full with supermarket expansion.

“When our brand is better known, we’ll go up and down the street,” Reed said.

In the meantime, Reed told Beverage Business Insights that laying off the DSD sales staff would save the company $1.5-2 million per year.