Depletion Reports: Everything You Need to Know

A photo of a hand using a pen while pointing at a printout of charts.
When it comes to running a successful alcoholic beverage producing company, information is key. Here's how depletion reports and technology play a pivotal role.

The alcohol market has expanded rapidly in recent years and the competition is stiff. Consumers have more products to choose from, which can make it difficult to stand out from the crowd. That is why when it comes to running a successful alcoholic beverage-producing company, information is key. Collecting alcohol sales data allows you to make informed decisions. You can better understand customer behavior, see which products are performing well and at what retail locations. Based on this information, you can engage in more targeted spirits marketing efforts. Depletion reports play a key role in understanding and improving your sales process, which is why we are going to take a closer look at this valuable tool and how you can use it to improve brand awareness

What is depletion?

Let’s start with the basic depletion definition. Depletion refers to the number of cases that are sold to retailers by a distributor. Oftentimes, as long as producers have made the initial sale to the distributor, they count it as a win. In their minds, they have made money and it is now up to the distributors and retailers to get the product sold. 

What is a Depletion Report?

Now that you know the definition of depletion, let’s move on to reporting. A depletion report is typically put together on a monthly basis by distributors in order to track inventory and sales. The report will often contain details on beginning inventory numbers, purchases, depletions and ending inventory. Traditionally, depletion reports have mainly been for distributors, but new reporting metrics are making them valuable to producers.

As a producer, you need to focus on the depletion of stock from the retailer and not just the distributor. You want to be able to see how many of your products are being bought by consumers. If you are only concerned about making sales to the distributors, there is a chance your product is simply sitting on warehouse or retail shelves and not making it into the hands of the consumer.

With modern reporting tools you can see how many bottles are being sold over a certain period of time. You can also see which products are selling best, which locations are moving product and which sales representatives are successfully making conversions. All this information can be used to adjust and optimize your sales and marketing strategies. The right market feedback will help you support your liquor distributor, especially during the launch phase, grow your brand, educate your sales team and motivate new distributors to take on your brand.

Improving Depletion at the Retail Level 

There are many things producers can do to improve depletion at retailers. First and foremost, make some time for in-person visits. See for yourself how your brand is in-action and meet with retailers. Next, incorporate some of these ideas:

  • Host in-store tastings. Liquor tastings give customers a chance to sample your brand and build awareness.
  • Pay attention to packaging. Case cards, colored boxes and other details will not only grab the attention of consumers, but also make it easy for retailers to locate your product.
  • Find opportunities for secondary point of purchase displays. For example, white wines could be stocked on shelves and in refrigerators. Floors displays can also be effective merchandising tools for showcasing your brand.
  • Take a closer look at the depletion report and see which stores aren’t performing well with certain products. From there, dig deeper to see why the products aren’t selling. You can also hone in on top-performing retailers, learn more about their strategies and work with them to succeed even more. 
  • Use in-store signage and floor decals that can lead customers to your product. Not only will this help them find their way around the store, it can help them find something they didn’t even know they were looking for.
  • Use incentives to create a sense of urgency around your product. This can work with your own sales team as well as retailers. After having these in-store promotions, you’ll want to calculate your sales lift to make sure that your investments were worth it.

How to Calculate Depletion with Your Depletion Reports

Ultimately, if you aren’t leveraging the information in depletion reports, then you are losing out to the competition. The old approach of simply measuring cases sold is no longer enough. In fact, it can actually have a detrimental effect on your brand by inadvertently discouraging sales people. 

Fortunately, emerging technology is making it easier than ever to calculate depletion rates and to obtain and use comprehensive depletion reports. Overproof has created an AI-driven business intelligence platform specifically for the beverage alcohol industry. Producers can use it for commitment and depletion tracking. Users will also have access to Overproof’s proprietary data repository, which contains data collected by trusted third-party partners and displays information on over 1.5 million on- and off-premise venues in the United States. Combining all these tools allows metrics to be broken down into even more specific pieces of data that can fuel brand success by supporting targeted sales and marketing strategies. 

Depletion reports have long been an important tool for the alcohol industry, but increased competition and new technology have changed the type of data that can be collected. This is good news for producers, but only if you use this information to your advantage. Overproof can help you make the most of depletion reports, increase brand awareness and build a successful business. 


What is depletion? What is a depletion report?

Traditionally, a depletion report measures the total number of cases that are sold to retailers by a distributor. 

How do you build long-term repeat business by focusing on depletion?

Depletion reports help you to better understand how your product is performing on the retail level. You can use this information to reach out to retailers and distributors and build relationships that will help drive repeat business. 

How are depletion reports evolving?

Today, depletion reports are more detailed than ever and can track performance at the retail level. You can see which products are selling best, who is purchasing which products, which retail locations are enjoying success and much more. This information is key to designing targeted sales and marketing efforts.

How can beverage alcohol brands use new depletion reporting technology to stay ahead of the curve?

New depletion reporting technology, such as Overproof, allows brands to better understand consumer behavior and brand performance. This information can be used to continually adjust strategies and respond to changes in the market, including increased competition. 



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Latest Posts:
Subscribe to


Stay up to date with the latest in marketing, sales, service tips and news for the beverage alcohol industry.

Related Posts
Photo of a bar with liquor bottles

Spirits Marketing Tips for 2021

January is a notoriously slow month for alcohol sales and 2021 is going to be especially tough for retailers in light of COVID-19. Spirits marketing will be more important than ever this year.

A photo of a red cocktail with garnish

Alcohol Marketing 101: What to Know

The idea of alcohol marketing is to bring a brand into the sight of potential customers. Whether the brand falls into the liquor market, beer market, or wine market, the same tactics prevail.