ForceBrands Decanter: Opening Up the Conversation
ForceBrands is the consumer product industry’s leading recruiting and staffing firm. Each month, the company’s leading recruiters share insider advice and insights about the wine world.
ForceBrands: Consolidation is more prevalent than ever right now in the alcoholic beverage world. How is it affecting the wine industry?
Olivia Natawidjaja: The great news for wine consumers in the United States is that they will have access to much higher quality wines across the price spectrum (although price cutting does not seem to be happening!). Consolidation is happening at a global level, across many industries. It’s happening at the retailer level, recently with amazon.com and Whole Foods Market. It’s also happening with distributors (think Southern Wine & Spirits and Glazer’s) and wineries nationally (E&J Gallo purchasing Orin Swift; Jackson Family acquiring Penner-Ash Wine Cellars; and so many more).
FB: Who would you consider to be the most vulnerable in consolidation?
ON: It’s the small and mid-sized wineries that are most vulnerable to being acquired by the big guys who are getting even bigger. There’s no sign of mergers and acquisitions slowing down.
FB: Let’s narrow in on hiring trends. What are some hiring challenges you’re seeing as a result of increased consolidation?
ON: With the number of mergers that have been happening within the wine industry — well before the 2008 recession — candidates want reassurance that they have job security, especially before making a move to another wine supplier. I rarely come across wine companies offering job contracts with guaranteed retainment these days.
FB: What are some ways you are addressing job security with prospective hires?
ON: It’s really important that we all do our homework. I can’t highlight enough the importance of asking a lot of questions to a prospective employer on their track record of success, retention rates, growth opportunities for the long-term, and funding/finances. I also ensure that the employment contract is understood in full before signing off.
FB: Any tips for candidates who worry about job security as a result of consolidation?
ON: It doesn’t hurt to keep a list of the top 5 employers you would contact if you lost your job today, along with each of their hiring managers.