Our Consultants

Samuel Vandegrift

east-aurora-food-coop

Contact

Urbana, Illinois

phone

(217) 390-8946

EXPERTISE

Beverage Category Management

  • Profile Overview

  • Articles from CDS Consulting publications

  • Articles in Cooperative Grocer

  • Other works by Samuel Vandegrift

Profile Overview arrow

  • Profile Overview arrow
  • Profile Overview
  • Articles from CDS Consulting publications
  • Articles in Cooperative Grocer or other publications
  • Other works by Samuel Vandegrift

Sam Vandegrift has an encyclopedic knowledge of wine and beer, and his people-first enthusiasm influences everything he does.

He is equally skilled at assisting retailers establishing or revamping their beverage programs, as he is educating staff and customers about the products. Sam’s expertise includes merchandizing and category management, pricing strategies, promotions and advertisement, staff training and in-store events. He is a Cicerone Certified Beer Server, Certified Sommelier, and holder of a Diploma in Wines and Spirits by the Wine & Spirit Education Trust.

From his earliest days as a student, Sam has been interested in the role fermentation played in the world’s economies, history, agriculture and art. His clients benefit from that passion because he also understands the practical need his retail clients have to offer great products that reflect their values. Food co-op customers are particularly interested in where beverages originate from—especially from organic, hyper-local and co-op producers—yet transparency can be an issue in the industry.

For that reason, retailers can be intimidated trying to navigate the beverage category. This can negatively impact sales, or potential sales, product choices and the ability to efficiently manage inventory. “I help guide people to be confident in their product selection, and part of what I do is help them develop guidelines and sourcing, especially for choosing and promoting the organic, local and co-op products that they believe their customers want to support.”

Just as food co-ops are known for high-quality and local food sourcing, Sam thinks extending this same approach to wine and beer will enhance any food co-op’s reputation. “I’m inspired and encouraged to bring community and co-op values together in this category.”