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Misconceptions about beer distribution

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by Misrahi, Jan 27, 2013.

  1. jspada22

    jspada22 Aspirant (25) Jan 24, 2013

    We brought in craft beer bottles and a growler bar to our store about 2 months ago and I haven't had much of an issue getting seasonal or special release items. The two exceptions were the Enjoy by IPA and anything Russian River besides damnation.
     
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  3. Not really. But you will get hooked up for pushing their products. Like we ran through over 50 of Goose Islands Belgian kegs last year. So when things like BCBS and Coffee come out we get the most. We don't buy bullshit and we get the goods. But if you are not pushing out a product don't think you will get limited hyped releases from that company.

    Like this place in town got pissed we got a BCBS keg, only two came to town. We sold 50 of just belgian series of GI in a year. They sold 2-3 312 kegs in a year.
     
  4. If these releases just sit on the shelf at the other stores in your area, what makes you think that they would sell in your store?

    You will survive without Short's special releases.
     
  5. jacob4999

    jacob4999 Savant (310) Michigan Dec 9, 2008

    First off I said "region" (which is about 3 counties) and I also said there are no other stores within 20 miles that have a decent craft section. And I never said that I wouldn't survive without a particular breweries special releases. Just actually adding some insight to this thread as that's WHAT IS IS ABOUT.

    Trust me I don't feel entitled to anything no matter what it is. Any Ba on here that's met me will probably back up this claim. I've worked hard for everything I have in life and can deal with things not going my way. I was just stating facts as a store owner as pertaining to the thread.
     
    beerme411 likes this.
  6. AxesandAnchors

    AxesandAnchors Savant (300) Oregon Nov 21, 2012

    You misunderstood me, I said "anything really good, or seasonal/limited". And by "a bunch of junk no one wants" wasn't referring to good year round stuff, it was referring to beers that the distributor is trying to push because they either ordered too much of it and it's near it's expiration date, or they make a bigger profit off it, or it's just filler because they need more product to sell. Obviously if a brewery makes great seasonals they probably make pretty good year round (at least a certain amount), but a bottle shop shouldn't be forced to purchase X breweries beers just to have the opportunity to purchase Y Breweries seasonals or limited releases. That's just dumb, and shady business as far as I'm concerned.
     

  7. I still think it is a legitimate question, beer geeks will drive 20 miles for a special release. So if they are sitting on the shelf and not selling 20 miles away, what makes you think they will fly off the shelf in your store?
     
  8. I think a lot has to do with the relationship between the buyer and the distributors and sales reps. I try to be fair and treat them with respect and they, in turn, do the same to me. The way I see it at the end of the day we are both middle-men trying to get beer from the breweries to the consumers. It does help that I usually know before they do when new releases are coming so it's hard to lie to me about it.....
     
    AlTrombley and gothedistance like this.
  9. jacob4999

    jacob4999 Savant (310) Michigan Dec 9, 2008

    Yes I agree that is a legitimate question but the problem is I never said anything about beer "flying off my shelves" so not sure where you're going with that. I really think you're misinterpreting the point of my post. All I want to do is offer craft beer to an area that can't really get it any where else local. I'm not trying to get rich off selling craft as I charge good prices (I sold Hopslam for $15.99 a 6 pack). I plan on holding tasting events at my store and am trying to spread the word about craft beer as it's something I'm very passionate about. And yes it is still frustrating being told that I pretty much never have a chance to get certain items even though I know that I could sell them. So in saying all that, not really sure why you're insinuating that I'm saying things that I'm clearly not in my original post. I'm not the bad guy here..no one is really. Just how the system works which like I said was the intent of this thread in the first place. I'm the guy you should be cheering on to succeed!!

    Cheers!
     
  10. I work at a fairly new Beer store in PA open about 4 months. We don't have access to more rare stuff because we aren't "Established" yet. Plus some of the distributors work on a "you scratch my back I scratch yours" IE we need to sell this beer bad so push it at your store and if you do we'll give you a case of BCCS
     
    GennyCreamAle likes this.
  11. AxesandAnchors

    AxesandAnchors Savant (300) Oregon Nov 21, 2012

    I disagree with this, and here's why;

    1. In order to make a trip for beer you first need to know that it's there.
    2. Beer geeks may be the driving force of the craft movement, but they are certainly not the bulk of the craft consumer.
    3. 20 miles away is actually quite far.
    4. I've been to several towns outside of Portland that have amazing beers sitting on the shelf that would have been gone in minutes if it would have been at a bottle shop in Portland.
    5. People frequent stores that they have had good experiences at, have consistently found what they want, and are convenient to get to.

    I think jacob4999 brings up yet another reason why things need to change.
     
    beerme411, SidSquid and jacob4999 like this.
  12. russmann

    russmann Aficionado (135) Idaho Oct 3, 2007

    I own a craft beer and wine shop (and beership.com) and there are a lot of misconceptions. To answer SammyJaxx, we have the same problem, where a distributor thinks they're being nice, and being fair, by spreading out specialties to 50 accounts who have no business with it. We're a hardcore store, with a bar moving kegs too, so we get more than our fair share of, for example, Abyss and other specialties, but there are literally stores in our area still sitting on Abyss 2011. They don't know what to do with it, they don't have the customers for it. We run out before it shows up. One of my bartenders bought an 2011 Abyss from a local store and we drank it this weekend. Do you think it wouldn't sell on my shelf, or website? C'mon.

    This misconception is that craft beer is just like every other product, or like every other beer. Craft beer is marketed differently, sold differently, and enjoyed differently. You can't just stick craft beer in any old place and serve the customers well. A good distributor knows this and puts volume beer in volume accounts and craft beer in craft accounts.

    Congrats to Jacob, welcome to the community. The vendors will turn your hair grey.
     
    ESeab, beerme411, tarawho and 3 others like this.
  13. Mr_Brodie

    Mr_Brodie Zealot (90) New York Dec 13, 2012

    How do bars and/or growler shops get kegs from a brewery not distributed in their state? Can the brewery bypass the distributor if they go out of state? Usually it is for some sort of "event". I have always assumed the brewery is giving it away for free as a promotion for some sort of bragging rights while recognizing the establishment. It is usually a historic bar that is renowned for their craft beer selection. The bar/store is selling it. I have confirmed the freebie from two different breweries that are definitely top 10 ISO listings in the trade forums. This is not for a festival or charity. The brewery does not need the name recognotion and they are not going to be distributed in the area.
    Fake example. A keg of pliny or zombie in NY but neither brewery sells in NY state.
    Trust me I am not complaining and I have no problem paying. That is why I used a fake example.
     
  14. russmann

    russmann Aficionado (135) Idaho Oct 3, 2007

    They don't, unless they are willing to risk the legal issues. The laws are there to collect money, not to protect you.
     
    SidSquid likes this.
  15. AxesandAnchors

    AxesandAnchors Savant (300) Oregon Nov 21, 2012

  16. Errto

    Errto Savant (305) Connecticut Oct 20, 2009

    It could be a temporary license. What sometimes happens is a brewery has to get a temporary license to bring in beer to a festival, but that same license lets them also sell the beer commercially for a short time, so they send a few kegs/cases over while they have the chance. Not every state allows this IIRC, but some do.
     
  17. DelMontiac

    DelMontiac Advocate (620) Oklahoma Oct 22, 2010

    LOL! The majority of my beer purchases are made well over 100 miles from home.
     
    SammyJaxxxx likes this.
  18. jacob4999

    jacob4999 Savant (310) Michigan Dec 9, 2008

    Agree with you 100% man. These other stores I've seen aren't trying to market it and that's why it's still sitting there. You come into my store and I see you stopped at the cooler doors with my craft beer inside I'm going to talk to you and give you my personal experience with it which makes a good chance you're going to buy it. Word of mouth marketing is a powerful tool. Especially if it's something you're not familiar with. Goes a long way.

    So for now I'm just going to market the shit out of what I have and make these reps notice me and what I'm selling. I figure that's the best thing to do right now.

    And thanks man I'm glad to be doing this. I'll figure out how to deal with the vendors one way or another.
     
  19. ThirstyFace

    ThirstyFace Initiate (0) New York Jan 11, 2013

    I wonder if people on HamburgerAdvocate are calling each other "ignorant" for not fully understanding the production to end user route of meat.

    Just saying, you're coming across as a dorky scrimshot.
     
    SammyJaxxxx likes this.
  20. russmann

    russmann Aficionado (135) Idaho Oct 3, 2007

    Jacob,

    What I do is form relationships with the breweries. The breweries want to sell their beer. We want to buy it and sell it to craft beer customers, and the distributors are something of a nuisance in between us. When certain craft breweries have something new, their regional rep calls me and asks how much we want for our store. Then the distributor is *told* by the brewery how much they have to buy to fill my order, and told to bring it to my store. They still screw this up sometimes, when some ambitions salesman looks at an incoming delivery and decides to go off the rails, but it works more often than not. In our state, the brewery has the power to fire the distributor and change distributors. The retailer has no power at all. I figure since we're the retailer, we go make friends with a bigger gorilla.

    Hope this helps your business, you seem a decent fellow.
     
    beerme411, Seanvino, JohnnyMc and 3 others like this.
  21. beerinmaine

    beerinmaine Aficionado (225) Maine Jun 20, 2009

    False.

    Example to prove it: Bier Cellar, Portland, ME. Opened this spring/summer, carries ONLY good stuff, and has apparent problem getting lots of good stuff (i.e. De Dolle Stille Nacht Reserva '10, rare enough?)

    The bottom line is, any generalization will be incorrect, because every state has their own laws and every distributor has their own practices.
     
  22. Excuse my ignorance, but do importers usually have to pay the same excise taxes that breweries do?
     
  23. AxesandAnchors

    AxesandAnchors Savant (300) Oregon Nov 21, 2012

    So you're saying you're driving over 100 miles to purchase bottles at a shop? Or just that you are trading? If the answer is the former and not the latter then in the words of Mr. Sean Carter, "I feel bad for you son".
     
  24. Errto

    Errto Savant (305) Connecticut Oct 20, 2009

    I'm pretty sure that makes you a serious outlier, even among BAs. That said, I feel bad for you. :(
     
  25. DelMontiac

    DelMontiac Advocate (620) Oklahoma Oct 22, 2010

    As you should, lol. I'm not into trading much. You guys have it soooooo damned easy up that way. It's amusing to hear the complaints streaming from that direction, 'cause down here on the plains...it's a bitch, man. It's a real bitch.
     
  26. DelMontiac

    DelMontiac Advocate (620) Oklahoma Oct 22, 2010

    Yep. I frequently go to OKC, Tulsa, Wichita, Dallas, or KC, and I'm usually hauling back 3 or 4 boxes full of stuff. Gotta plan ahead like livin' in the bush off the beer grid, lol!
     
    funhog likes this.
  27. AxesandAnchors

    AxesandAnchors Savant (300) Oregon Nov 21, 2012

    These aren't beer only trips are they? You're a salesmen or outside rep or something right!?
     
  28. While 100+ miles seems pretty far, 20 miles is nothing. A half hour is nothing for a special release.
     
  29. DelMontiac

    DelMontiac Advocate (620) Oklahoma Oct 22, 2010

    Usually have other business on those excursions. I have been known to tell the wife and daughter I'm "taking you shopping out of town", but they know there's a beer run scheduled too. ;)
     
    SammyJaxxxx likes this.
  30. AxesandAnchors

    AxesandAnchors Savant (300) Oregon Nov 21, 2012

    20+ miles for a limited brewery release = no big deal
    20+ miles for a limited/seasonal shelf beer = rediculous

    I understand this isn't the case for everyone, some cities have larger scenes than others, but when distributors are manipulating the system in a way that hurts breweries, retailers, and end consumers there is a problem. Take Jacobs example, his distributor told him he wouldn't give him a particular breweries seasonals (the next competitor is 20+ miles away), so in this case Jacobs customers loose out, he looses out, and the brewery losses out...and all because of some stupid sales tactic.
     
  31. Waldomega

    Waldomega Aficionado (105) Nevada Jan 15, 2013

    is going 100 miles every few months to stock up on quality brew really all that far? im in vegas, and go 2-3 times a year to la and or sd to grab a bunch of stuff we dont get here
     
    SammyJaxxxx likes this.
  32. cornontherob

    cornontherob Zealot (90) New York Oct 15, 2011

    Unfortunately this is capitalism at its finest. If you are a distributor that gets 100 cases of rare beer X. You know you will definitely have more demand then you can supply SO you can use them to infuence stores to buy the crap that there isn't demand for...

    I had an ower of a new craft beer bar in my area tell me that he's paid drivers to get him high demand kegs away from the big distributors in the area. Dog eat dog!
     
  33. AxesandAnchors

    AxesandAnchors Savant (300) Oregon Nov 21, 2012

    That's different, your talking about beer that isn't distributed in your state not beer that your local bottle shop couldn't get because the distributor is strong arming them.
     
  34. If I could get Nugget Nectar 30 .miles from me, I would have 2 cases right now. Instead of waiting another week or 2
     
  35. AxesandAnchors

    AxesandAnchors Savant (300) Oregon Nov 21, 2012

    Look I get it, your willing to travel far and wide for your beer, but the point I'm trying to make is that you shouldn't have to. There are always exceptions, the brewery is only going to make so much beer and they can't make enough to supply everybody. However when the supply is out there being held hostage by a distributor that is bad for everyone, and a failure of the system.

    It shouldn't be the bottle shops responsibility to hock the unwanted goods the distributor decide to warehouse just to get a seat at the big boys table. It all seems very frat boy and douchey to me.
     
    SidSquid likes this.
  36. Nectar

    Nectar Savant (310) New Jersey Jan 17, 2013

    So because you drive 100 miles for the majority of your beer, that makes his comment irrelevant? If anything, I feel bad for you :( time to move? Lol
     
  37. AxesandAnchors

    AxesandAnchors Savant (300) Oregon Nov 21, 2012

    You make a fair point, generalizations can and on occasion are proven wrong, however your example is extremely rare from my experience...plus I find it hard to believe that they ONLY carry good stuff. I've not once been to a single bottle shop that didn't have at least 25% junk on the shelf. Obviously this is subjective to personal taste.
     
    westcoastbeerlvr likes this.
  38. No- not true at least with my company. Did you read my post about our seasonal beer release sheets we do? Everyone gets a fair shot as long as they communicate with me what they want.

    Very few exceptions to that. If we didn't allocate hopslam, for example, the first sales rep to get a presell back in would take everything, and that's not fair.

    I will say though, your quote is saying kinda: a new bottle shop should have the right to cherry pick everything. That's hard. But it does happen. And yes, breweries encourage but do not require more limited beers going to strong supporters of the brewery overall.
     
    IceAce likes this.
  39. AxesandAnchors

    AxesandAnchors Savant (300) Oregon Nov 21, 2012

    That's great, it's just too bad that it's not industry standard (or that the breweries don't have more control).

    Any bottle shop should be able to pick what it is they want to stock in their stores and not be forced into carrying product they don't want just to get access to the product they do want (Again the whole supply and demand thing isn't lost on me). Once again I'm not talking about a situation where the bottle shop carries few of X breweries year rounds and then expects to get X breweries seasonal or limited releases. What I'm talking about is the shady sales tactic of making a bottle shop buy A B and C breweries beers in order to get X breweries seasonal or limited releases. That I am almost positive would (and isn't) appreciated by X brewery, but the fact of the matter is that this seems to be common practice with many distributors. One of the worst parts about this is that in most states these breweries have little to no control over what's happening with their product because they're locked into a ridiculous contract with their distributor.

    Yours sounds different, and to that I say bravo. I hope you guys pick up more great brewery accounts.
     
    gothedistance likes this.
  40. Anybody care to explain sheltons distro of Cantillion :)
     
    DelMontiac likes this.

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