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Stores selling beer that isn't distributed to them...

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by HomeBrewed, Nov 8, 2013.

  1. HomeBrewed

    HomeBrewed Savant (495) Minnesota Dec 10, 2006 Beer Trader

    I won't say who, where, etc...but a friend of mine has been able to buy things from his local store like Cigar City, Surly, Founder's, Bell's, etc. when these breweries don't actually distribute to the state he lives in. Obviously the store owner is buying these beers and bringing them back to sell in his/her store, which I'm pretty sure is illegal. Anyone else seen this happening?
    cestlavie likes this.
  2. Neary

    Neary Aficionado (170) Ohio Jan 31, 2013 Beer Trader

    Depends on the laws in the state, I know there's a law against that in Ohio
  3. ThisWangsChung

    ThisWangsChung Champion (845) Maryland Oct 15, 2011 Beer Trader

    It's perfectly legal to sell beer in DC that's beyond their distribution zone, just be ready to pay out the ass (ie. $30 for a bottle of Surly SeVIIn...)
    jcos and SammyJaxxxx like this.
  4. cestlavie

    cestlavie Advocate (535) New York Oct 27, 2011

    Depends on whether the labels are registered in your state. If they have state liquor authority approval, then it's all gravy. If not, then depending on the state, a hefty fine can be levied.
    denver10 likes this.
  5. CassinoNorth

    CassinoNorth Advocate (580) New Jersey Apr 5, 2013 Beer Trader

    No idea, but Total Wine has Knee Deep and Clown Shoes in NJ which neither distribute here. Always found it interesting how they can get around the laws.
    xk6m6m5x and cestlavie like this.
  6. BrettHead

    BrettHead Advocate (660) Nebraska Sep 18, 2010

    I would never rat out a liquor store, but I think it is stupid to do this. Several stores in Cali do this and even send out the info for said beers in their e-mails. Surprised they haven't been busted.
  7. It's illegal in CA to sell anything outside the three-tier system, other than the whole brewpub exemption.
  8. i do lots of illegal things what do i care if a store is selling beer that didnt go through an antiquated distribution law.

    beers brought in from out of the system are usually unreasonably overpriced so i dont buy them anyways.
  9. ivorycannon

    ivorycannon Champion (775) Indiana Feb 21, 2013

    Cheers to the store owner.
  10. beertunes

    beertunes Poobah (1,400) Washington Sep 24, 2007 Beer Trader

    Not only is there the possibility of breaking state/local laws, but transporting alcohol across state lines, without all the proper paperwork done and taxes/fees paid, is a Federal offense.
    cestlavie likes this.
  11. WesM63

    WesM63 Advocate (740) Ohio Nov 6, 2011

    Trust me, that doesn't stop them.
    beercanman and beesy like this.
  12. mrcraft

    mrcraft Poobah (1,010) California Dec 15, 2012 Beer Trader

    More liquor stores in California are doing it. And, they seem to be more brazen on how they sell those beers.
    dsimmons likes this.
  13. runfoodrun

    runfoodrun Savant (335) Minnesota Jun 18, 2008

    Ok great post, but is this store in MN? Won't ask for any more details. Wish more places would do so.
  14. KS1297

    KS1297 Initiate (0) Wisconsin Apr 14, 2013

    i totally agree. MYOFB. These are manufactured crimes that have nothing to do with morality anyway.

    Here in Milwaukee, Brennan's stores are the only ones to somehow get ahold of Avery products and the prices are great too. I think it's awesome.
  15. Preluderl

    Preluderl Advocate (685) Pennsylvania Sep 27, 2012 Beer Trader

    There's a store near me who does this a lot and I say thank you to them.. Without it I wouldn't be able to get a lot of things I enjoy.
  16. DrewLikesBeer

    DrewLikesBeer Savant (335) Florida Jul 16, 2013

    there's at least one spot i go to that always charges more than you want to pay...but in a state like GA it's literally the only place that will have a beer above 14% if you are looking for it. they also get a few beers from neighborly states that don't hit official distro that has been beneficial for me. they just sack it up and pay the fines when they get busted, but the fact they will go back and grab me a 2010 WWS makes me smile and keep dropping coin there.
    RochefortChris likes this.
  17. SammyJaxxxx

    SammyJaxxxx Poobah (1,045) New Jersey Feb 23, 2012 Subscriber Beer Trader

    Remember this: Snitches get Stitches!!!!
    dedbeer, fernz18, crushedvol and 36 others like this.
  18. DrewLikesBeer

    DrewLikesBeer Savant (335) Florida Jul 16, 2013

    Christopper and SammyJaxxxx like this.

  19. why would you even make a thread about it, i'm sure your friend would really appreciate this
    bozodogbreath likes this.
  20. distantmantra

    distantmantra Advocate (745) Washington May 23, 2011 Beer Trader

    There's a shop up here that has brought in Hair of the Dog brewery-only releases illegally. The price increase has been reasonable considering what it would cost for your time and gas to drive down to Portland to get them.

    This isn't secret information, we've discussed this at length in the Northwest forum.
  21. draheim

    draheim Poobah (1,120) Washington Sep 18, 2010 Beer Trader

    I am shocked... shocked...
    GetMeAnIPA likes this.
  22. RobH

    RobH Savant (470) Maryland Sep 23, 2006 Subscriber


    Since I work for Total Wine I can explain that TW is able to offer the beers mentioned, and others, to customers in NJ (and in other states) because TW has made the investment (paid the fees) to get those product labels approved by the proper NJ authorities for sale in NJ (and in other states for sale in those states). TW has further made the investment in large beer purchases, usually with payment up front to the breweries, which is great for these breweries since they are selling the beer before they even brew it. There is very low risk to them financially.

    At the same time, the breweries you mentioned and others have made a strategic decision to expand their production and grow their businesses by working with TW in this manner. It's a fairly risk free way for them to expand their product distribution in smaller (than normal) footprints and test the market in states beyond their current distribution area. They are free to expand their distribution footprint in these states at any time if they wish.

    Further, TW is working within the three tier system by making formal business arrangements with NJ distributor(s) to deliever the beer to our stores from a central distribution point, which is also in NJ.

    It's worth noting that any other beer stores could do exactly what TW is doing, if they were to take the business risk in making large investments in beer (we own the beer, so if it dates out on the shelf, we eat the cost), work with and make the fee payments to the state govt to get the labels approved, and make business agreements for legal distribution. It's all legal and there's no "lock" on this process that's keeping other retailers out.

    TW is certainly not perfect, but having worked here for going on 7 years I am proud to know that the owners have built the company while working within the laws of each state in which the company operates. Knowingly breaking laws is not a sustainable growth model for the business.

    Vav, crushedvol, army01 and 44 others like this.
  23. HomeBrewed

    HomeBrewed Savant (495) Minnesota Dec 10, 2006 Beer Trader

    I didn't give out any details, so good luck figuring out which store, in which of the 50 states in the U.S. I am referring to. Calm down buddy.
  24. HomeBrewed

    HomeBrewed Savant (495) Minnesota Dec 10, 2006 Beer Trader

    Obviously not, as Surly, Founder's and Bell's all distribute to MN.
  25. My friend has a store in Chicago where he can guy New Glarus. God damn FIBs.
    jRocco2021 likes this.
  26. azorie

    azorie Champion (770) Florida Mar 18, 2006

    yea but it was in Las Vegas. law is pretty harsh here.
  27. don't name the store bro. bad karma.
  28. I say props to the stores that are selling beers not distributed to them and making them accessible to us connoisseurs. Who cares if its illegal? The federal government violates our constitutional rights on a daily basis, so I really could care less if I'm drinking a delicious beverage that has some imaginary "illegal" tag on it.
  29. when I first got into the beer scene I used to frequent a shop that had a ton of back room stuff. he didnt gouge but they were pricey - and I'm glad to have had the opportunity to get them. he has since sold his share of the store off.

    and wasn't there some jerk in brooklyn selling cans of heady topper for like 15 per can!!??!! now that's price gouging.
  30. Price gouging is an entire different issue - whether distributed legally or not. Its funny that some find illegal distributing such a concern - then again I would love to see somebody turn down a once in a lifetime beer because it was acquired from an illegal distribution, lol.
  31. jmw

    jmw Savant (450) North Carolina Feb 4, 2009

  32. Domingo

    Domingo Poobah (1,145) Colorado Apr 23, 2005 Subscriber Beer Trader

    Back before Alabama got rid of their cap/distro laws I definitely saw it a few times. For that matter, once they did I think some store owners got more overzealous and did it even more.
    Fat Tire still isn't distributed there, but it's around.
  33. SoCalBeerIdiot

    SoCalBeerIdiot Champion (775) California Mar 10, 2013 Beer Trader

    I still don't understand why anyone other than other store owner's think this is a bad thing. Gouging? Don't buy it then. Otherwise, thank you store owner for giving me access to beers I would never otherwise get an opportunity to try even if you do charge a premium.
    eaterfan and zenithberwyn like this.
  34. GetMeAnIPA

    GetMeAnIPA Champion (800) California Mar 28, 2009 Beer Trader

    Pretty sure shipping beers without a licenses is illegally but we all do it anyways, not all but a lot.
  35. Infinite1

    Infinite1 Savant (395) Illinois Jul 2, 2010 Beer Trader

    Is this legal in Illinois ? I have a buddy at a local liquor store that wants me to run into the city once a month to pick him up all Half Acre, Spiteful and Pipeworks beers
  36. I know a store that does this too, best thing you can do is tell the owner you know what he's doing, I've gotten free beer this way, just make sure you don't directly threaten him with reporting him to the state that would be blackmail.

  37. I don't like how readily people will throw around the "price gouge" label. If the market is willing to pay $15 per can, the seller would be crazy not to ask that much. If nobody buys it at that price, they'll be forced to lower the price or risk losing the money invested.
  38. epickup

    epickup Zealot (75) Pennsylvania Jan 28, 2011

    Who cares, if people want to buy beer from wherever, does it really matter? I'd love to be in a state where I could find that. You can't belong to a beer of the month club or wine of the month club in Pennsylvania without having your beer shipped to a beer distributor or wine sent to a State Store.

    Be glad you have the choice, even if it is expensive. You could still be in a state with our level of corruption that prevents free markets from selling beer, wine or spirits. We still have towns near where I grew up that don't allow any type of booze or beer inside the town borders (Prohibition).

    If you think you're getting ripped off don't buy it, otherwise, free the beer~
    TBYoung likes this.
  39. 1,000 thank yous, I assume.
    The stores will care once governing agencies catch on and start levying hefty fines, when applicable. You can flout the law all you want, but money talks and bullshit walks. Enjoy the party while it lasts, but know that the law always wins when they set their sights on you.
  40. BoomKentucky

    BoomKentucky Savant (450) Kentucky Mar 22, 2013

    I would think it is illegal in all states. Not counting the distribution laws, there are taxes that have to be paid to the state when buying the item and then selling it.
    nc41 and frazbri like this.