Tierra Blanca is a family-run microbrewery, founded by Jorge Darío and his father. With his father in charge of the beer production and creation of different beer recipes, Jorge oversees the marketing and branding of products.
You may not know this, but Mexico is currently the sixth biggest beer market in the world. So far, only big industrial companies have been producing all the beer consumed in Mexico but the country has been going through a wave of beer revolution recently; there has been an explosion in the growth of microbreweries during the last five years.
Based in Oaxaca, a small, beautiful city in the southern state of Mexico, Jorge and his family create beers that represents every facet of the charming colonial city – from its rich history and gastronomy scene, to the cultural diversity and popular crafts passed down from generations ago.
Mexican gastronomy is very rich, but within this field, the gastronomy from the city of Oaxaca is very particular, with special traditions that mix indigenous ingredients, techniques, and flavours, with colonial, European flavours. In addition, chefs who have worked around the world have brought back new ideas to Oaxaca recently. When you marry indigenous traditions and European traditions in an innovative mix, you get a vibrant culinary scene. What Jorge is doing is taking parts of those elements and creating different beers that cannot be produced anywhere else.
For example, Oaxaca is actually a coffee-producing region. Taking that into account, one of the beers produced by Tierra Blanca contains coffee that is harvested locally. For another beer flavour, they use local pumpkins, called tamala.
Jorge’s family has been working on Tierra Blanca for the past two years, but they have only been in the market since November 2013. They spent that time developing their products, getting them into production, and devising a strategy. So far, everything is going great for Tierra Blanca.
The company is reaching its potential in the local market; they sell about 2,000 litres locally in Oaxaca but they have a current capacity of 9,000 litres per month, and this explains the reason why they are so ready to conquer markets outside of Oaxaca. By the next year, Jorge aims to sell at Tierra Blanca’s full potential. In three years, he wants to reinvent the production of craft beers.
Currently, Tierra Blanca provides beer mainly to local restaurants, bars, and hotels. This is something Jorge takes pride in because he loves offering great quality products to chefs, food, and beer enthusiasts (from Mexico and around the world, since Oaxaca is quite the tourist destination for travellers).
Tierra Blanca is starting to have clients outside of Oaxaca in different states of Mexico, such as Tijuana and Mexico City, other cities that place lots of emphasis on Mexican food and culture. This is all part of their plan to expand from their home city into different new and interesting markets.
TradeGecko came in as an inventory management solution for Jorge and Tierra Blanca at an early stage when the company was just starting up.
“We started using TradeGecko the moment we started marketing our beers – back in November last year. When we started producing and selling, we already had the software in place so we created our inventory the moment we had our first beer bottle.”
“I wanted a Cloud-based software that is efficient in putting our inventory in order. The interface was intuitive with clear functions; covering our main requirements of a software solution, such as controlling inventory, creating Sales Orders, and Intelligence section that produces helpful reports.”
Tierra Blanca is a small company in terms of volume and product variety. Their plan is to only create and sell six different products, so their inventory is not going to end up becoming too complex. But Jorge needs comprehensive information on different clients, orders, and needs. He also requires a trustworthy and up-to-date database of who his clients are and what they are asking from him.
“The software has been a lot of help in keeping our customer relationships up to date. I’m in charge of Marketing, so when I view reports on data in the Intelligence segment, it helps me calculate future demand based on current trends. This is our first year of operations, so I’m starting to map the whole cycle of demand for our different clients and products. TradeGecko is definitely a very hand tool to have.”
“I move around a lot. I travel around a lot. I work from everywhere and anywhere I want. So I can connect to the software and access my account to check on things. The sales people can use their handheld devices to create orders on the Mobile Sales App. It makes everything so flexible and on the go.”
One of the main problems that Tierra Blanca face is that craft beer is a relatively new concept in Mexico, and consumers are not well informed of such products in the market. They don’t know much about craft beers so Jorge has to help them understand the value and difference in flavours of such beverages. Tierra Blanca also had to conduct lots of personal ‘training’ with restaurants and consumers directly, such as holding public tastings in venues like universities with gastronomy courses.
To gain more publicity, they spend a lot of time marketing on Facebook to connect and communicate with customers, showing them fascinating product information. Tierra Blanca also attends nation-wide beer expos where they can showcase their products to chefs and restaurant managers.
Jorge is very happy to have taken the risk to stat a family (and personal) project because “it is much more rewarding”. It has helped him to connect with his heritage and culture, as the city dweller had to move back to Oaxaca to seek inspiration for the brand and products.
Lastly, he also shared that it is important to have good, solid relationships with clients by being connected to what they need - both product and service wise. It is essential to be close to clients, understand what their plans are, and know how Tierra Blanca can ultimately help them get to where they want.