Joanna Glass of Kobrand Corporation – Spotlight on a Drink Careers 101 Project Advisory Board Member
Joanna Glass is lucky. She is a Brand Manager for Kobrand Corporation in charge of Tia Maria and several other brands, which is a pretty cool gig. But, as a fairly recent graduate, she also has first hand experience with the difficulties facing her generation and beat the odds. She knew that she wanted to be a part of the beverage industry, and took it upon herself to research careers, piecing together information scattered all over the place. It is because of this experience that Joanna was drawn to Drink Careers 101.
Joanna has been a vocal champion of Drink Careers 101 and we are proud to have her on board the Drink Careers 101 Advisory Board.
How did you get started in the beverage industry?
My father’s answer to this question would be “well 4 years of college studying economics and Italian, and the last semester she took a wine appreciation course, and fell in love.” After graduating in the spring of 2009, no one was hiring. I applied to every crush job and spirit company I could come across, not knowing where to start, but I figured every winery needed someone to pick grapes, but it is not as simple as it seems. Luckily, all at once I had a few local offers, and I chose to start with a wine and spirits importer and distribution company, and that’s where my story begins.
What obstacles did you encounter when trying to find information on beverage industry careers?
Through research I came across one beverage industry job site, and for the first year, that was the only one I used. In general, there was hardly any information at all, and if there was, it was extremely vague. I became frustrated with the beverage industry company’s generic listings “luxury spirits company” and “craft beer company” etc. that offered no actual insight into what separated them from the rest. The database was practically nonexistent.
What do you do at Kobrand Corporation?
I am an Associate Brand Manager; I manage 7 small niche brands across the country. My day to day includes, setting up national bar and on premise programs, incentives for distributors, control state presentations, supplier relations, creating POS, and supporting our sales staff so they can do their jobs efficiently and showcase the brand to the quality it deserves.
What are some challenges you are faced with in your career?
My challenges are mostly related to the smaller nature of my brands. With smaller brands, they tend to be ignored at certain levels, and unappreciated unless they are really hand sold. My biggest challenge is making the consumer and distributors keep my brands on their mind, and selling the brand with a good story and impressive quality.
What was your best moment working at Kobrand Corporation?
Seeing one of my brand’s first St. Patrick’s Day program come to a successful fruition!
If you had one piece of advice for a student considering a career in the beverage industry, what would it be?
Read everything, ask questions, and research what is being poured into your glass. Do you like Aperol? Turn the bottle around and see who makes it. Enjoy drinking rum? Go to a liquor store, and educate yourself for free, by reading labels, researching what an importer is, who the owner is, and the distributor names you come across. Find a good riesling you like? There is a huge database of companies out there in plain sight, at every liquor store and grocery store, no purchase necessary!
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