Spotlight on Craft Sellers: Vermont Country Deli
Aug 31, 2020 10:23PM
By Tracey John
Q. Your selection is impressive and covers wines, ciders, and beers. When did the Vermont Country Deli start focusing on what to carry to satisfy customer demands?
A. We started carrying craft beer about eight or nine years ago. The last five or six years, our previous beer buyer did a lot of research to see what customers were looking for and sought those products out from our suppliers. We also brought in some new beer from small batch manufacturers to help fill in with unique items.
Q. What are some of the unique things you carry that people look for from the Deli?
A. We’ve been able to have beers like Foley Brothers, Upper Pass, and later the Alchemist when our customers were seeking unique, hard-to-find products.
Q. What’s trending right now?
A. It’s hard to say! We’re definitely selling more cider and beer than wine. Hard seltzers have been super popular this summer, as well as lower alcohol beers and sour beers.
Q. Since you’re so close to the border, you’ve probably seen your share of people stocking up on their way in or out of Vermont. Any particular instance that stands out?
A. We have a few customers who know our delivery schedules. One gentleman comes and buys a case of Heady Topper and Focal Banger each week and gives them away to friends and customers.
Q. What do you recommend to someone who has never tried a craft beer or cider?
A. I like to get a sense of what they like and don’t like about the beverage (i.e., hoppy, dry, sweet) and point them in the right direction. We sell most of our beers by the single can, so it’s not a huge commitment financially.
Q. Tell us a little about the history and uniqueness of the Deli.
A. The Deli has been in business since 1986. We offer a full case of prepared food, scratch bakery items, homemade bread, specialty food products (including craft beer, wine, cider), as well as catering. We have a great local following and an even larger tourism base. We added our Market next door about six years ago when the gas station went out of busines. This addition created 14 parking spaces (that we desperately needed), public restrooms, picnic tables, and more specialty food and grocery items.
General Manager Tracey John has been with the Vermont Country Deli since 2002. Tracey is a Bryant College graduate with a degree in marketing. She is the board president of the Brattleboro Area Chamber of Commerce and sits on the board of Vermont’s only Certified B Corp Bank, Brattleboro Savings and Loan. Tracey is a wine drinker mostly, but is learning more about the craft beer business every day!
436 Western Avenue