Frequently Asked Questions
How long has First Crush Tastings been in business?
We started in 2005, the year it actually became legal in Texas to conduct in-store tastings at retail locations.
What is the pricing for tasting events?
We offer an extremely competitive rate. Your cost is the rate plus any product used, per Texas law. Contact us for full details.
What do you provide for each event?
Each event is contracted to a TABC-certified brand ambassador who is prepared with their own supplies.
Can we provide our own product?
Per Texas law, product can only be provided by a Texas winery. In addition, it is illegal for a distributor to provide sample product from a non-Texas supplier. Per TABC, the requirement is to purchase product on that day, at the store where the event is scheduled, and to obtain a receipt for the product.
What kind of reporting does First Crush Tastings provide?
Our custom-built web-based tool, the Palaterra Tastings Platform, gives our customers detailed information about their tastings. Data collected includes: sales of each product, number of samples given, conversion rate, total number of people engaged, job conditions, consumer comments, and more. Additionally, we offer the ability to sort results into custom reports, by brand, chain, region, and date and whether there was a product shortage or outage. We also require each job to have a receipt and picture that you can easily download from our system in just a few clicks. Data is available 72 hours after each completed event.
How do you provide demo agents with product information?
Our online Platform enables us to build a story for each product in our system. Product stories include web links, sales sheets, accolade sheets, audio pronunciation, bottle shot, history, and sales points. Once a product story is entered into the system, it will automatically enter the record for each tasting event that contains that product. Every brand ambassador has access to product stories via mobile phone and tablet prior to and during the tasting event.
Can First Crush Tastings offer custom set-ups, or cross promotions?
Given enough lead time, we can ship out any supplier provided materials for a demonstration. We do our best to keep shipping costs low, and our ambassadors re-use materials where possible. It is advisable that any display material, shelf talkers, etc. be delivered to the store through your distributor to reduce your shipping costs.
Do you promote food?
We can promote any and all non-perishable items and also cheese. We do not offer promotions that involve cooking, or where a food handler’s permit would be needed. Cost can be shared with another supplier when feasible. Contact our office for special cost pertaining to shared events.
What geographical areas do you cover?
We operate exclusively in Texas where we cover the vast majority of the state. Our coverage includes the greater metro areas of Austin, Houston, Dallas/Fort Worth, San Antonio, and over 20 of the most common secondary markets. These include Killeen/Temple, College Station, Corpus Christi, McAllen, Laredo, Brownsville, Waco, Lubbock, Tyler, Beaumont, Victoria, El Paso, Midland and more.
What chains or stores do you work with?
We work with virtually all retail chains in the state. We can go to just about any location, and have conducted thousands of demos, from the largest chains to small independent accounts. You should always make sure to consult your distribution chain account manager for specific guidelines on submitting and setting up demos for each chain. Most of the larger chains have a corporate process and will provide calendars to all their stores. Some chains like Specs have very specific guidelines with every demonstration needing to be approved. The only two chains we do not promote in are Sam’s Club and Target, which have their own in-house programs.
How much lead time do you need to confirm events?
It depends on the city and the time of year. One to two weeks is ideal, but we can contract demos within a few days if needed. We ask that customers understand the demo guidelines for each chain and gain approval to ensure each location is aware of the demo.
What are your capacities?
To ensure adequate and fast response times, we engage more than 500 independent contractors for each of the major metro areas: Austin, Houston, Dallas/Fort Worth and San Antonio and more than 20 smaller markets. We can handle a large volume of demos, and will always advise you upfront on our coverage capabilities, especially around holidays.
Do you conduct on-premise jobs?
Yes, subject to the city and availability. We do contract models, although we focus on quality people from all walks of life who are sales-minded and provide outstanding customer service.
Do you offer demos at festivals or other events?
Yes, we have regularly provided top brand ambassadors for distributor road shows, and high profile events including Savor Dallas, TPSA, and the Austin Food and Wine Festival.
How do we get started?
We work hard to provide our clients with fast, friendly service and to accommodate event schedules. To get started working with us, we ask that you complete a simple, no-term contract that we then file with TABC. Next, we’ll establish payment terms – and that’s it! The whole process can be done in one day.
Independent Contractor FAQs
Do you offer credit cards?
No. You must be able to pay for the product out of pocket.
How long does it take to be reimbursed?
You will be purchasing the product up front out of pocket and you will be reimbursed on the 5th and the 20th of every month. Every job has a price range so you know the cost before you apply. Average cost per event can range from $15-$25, sometimes more.
How many bottles do I buy?
The supplier asks that you always start with one bottle of each product you are demoing. If you run out of a bottle and still have at least an hour left of the demo you can purchase another bottle, but if there is only a few minutes left you can try to dry sell the product.
What is the dress code?
Dress code is set by retailers. They never allow jeans, tank tops or open toe shoes. Business casual will ensure that you are not sent home by the store manager.
Do I need to bring anything to these events?
Yes. You will need to have your own small table, black tablecloth, ice bucket, bottle opener and current TABC permit. These are the tools of the trade. Stores will send you away if you show up unprepared.
Do I have to be TABC certified?
Yes. In Texas you must be TABC certified and 21 years of age to conduct demos.
How long after I apply will I know if I was assigned to a demo?
In most cases jobs are assigned within 24 hours, but if it is the weekend demos will not be assigned until Monday.
Do you have direct deposit?
We offer electronic payment via Comdata®. Your first payment will be a check and if you are interested in setting up Comdata® please contact Annette Colmenero at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Is there a minimum amount of demos I must do per month?
No, you are an independent contractor. You apply for what best fits your schedule.