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

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

  1. You mentioned the thing with the non-profit in Napa. I'm in Napa, so was curious if a fellow BA'er was here.
  2. danscott

    danscott Savant (370) California Jul 15, 2006

    Ah, no. I do work in both public policy and non-profit fundraising, so that came across my radar.
  3. beercanman

    beercanman Savant (485) Ohio Dec 17, 2012

    I'm all for it. I'm amazed with some of the "back room" finds that have mysteriously fallen from the sky and into my fridge. Its dumb laws that make no sense anyways. I can go online and order almost anything I want and have it delivered to my door step. Its not hurting anyone.
  4. RobH

    RobH Savant (470) Maryland Sep 23, 2006 Verified

    As with any transaction between a retailer and a wholesaler (distributor) in the three tier system, the distributor is providing wholesaler functions and services necessary by state law for the delivery of the product to Total Wine stores, for which Total Wine is making payment to the distributor.
  5. cestlavie

    cestlavie Advocate (525) New York Oct 27, 2011

    So.... then you are getting the beer from a second tier, not directly from the supplier? If so, who is distributing these products to you if you are doing all the label registering, etc... and how would that distributor benefit if they don't even hold the contract/rights for distributing that brand? And what's to stop them from selling that beer anywhere they please, besides TW? Makes 0 sense.
  6. New Jersey, like many other states, permits "private label" brands, exclusive to one retailer or chain of retailers (it's why there was once a ShopRite Beer, A&P Beer and Ale, Bilow Beer, etc. Ditto for existing private label wines and spirits).

    For example, here's some older wording from NJ ABC regulations:

    See also New Jersey Statutes - Title 33 Intoxicating Liquors - 33:1-2 License required, terms; personal use; brand registration; fees
  7. jmdrpi

    jmdrpi Poobah (1,120) Pennsylvania Dec 11, 2008 Verified

    Anyone in the Philly area should remember the big deal a few years ago about beers (notably Russian River) not being registered by the PA Liquor Control Board for approved sale in the state, even though it was being distributed. Some bars and distributed were raided and beer seized by the State Police. Other places pulled certain beers from their shelves until the issue was resolved.


  8. charlzm

    charlzm Champion (950) California Sep 3, 2007 Verified

    I know of four liquor stores that do this in the greater LA area. You have to know who to talk to and then pay inflated prices.

    Personally, I'll just order online most of the time and get what I want shipped here.
  9. RobH

    RobH Savant (470) Maryland Sep 23, 2006 Verified

    I will review:
    A. TW purchases the beer from the supplier on order (a win for supplier as I initially previously discussed), and it goes through the second tier for distribution based on prior business arrangement made between TW and the distributor, and as required by law.
    B. Distributor is in business to make money, and distributor makes money in this transaction by providing wholesaler functions and services necessary by state law. That's the benefit to them. Plus, they didn't have to previously buy the beer on speculation and warehouse it in the first place. No cost of goods to them. Good deal for them.
    C. TW buys plenty of beer from distributors from their regular portfolio of brands, so why would they want to upset the apple cart? (See B. above).

    I presume from your profile that you are in the industry. Can you share who you are with? It may provide more insight to your line of questions.
  10. JrGtr

    JrGtr Savant (450) Massachusetts Apr 13, 2006 Verified

    Breweries CAN distribute anywhere they want. It does sometimes take registering the label with the local TTB (besides the federal registration) and normally it takes finding a distributor in the state.
    The trick, is being able to supply that distribution. DFH and others, as big as they are, were unable to supply the distro in a few states, so they puled back.
    As much as people want Heady Topper cross country, why would The Alchemist want to send it anywhere? If they went with a distributor, they would either not make as much money, or HT would cost more. Plus there's the cost of shipping it to wherever. They sell out at the brewery as soon as the product is packaged, they could probably increase production half again or more and still sell out.
    You are right in that the benefits of the three tier are BS - maybe 75 or 100 years ago, it was a benefit (and it was, read up on it sometime; (if you haven't) I don't have time and space to go into it here.) Todays business models are protecting the distributor more than the brewery and retailer. It's not that there is no benefit to using a distro to the brewer, it takes away the cost and hassle of delivering the product to retailers on their own, but it's almost impossible for a brewery to change distro if they have problems with them.
  11. cestlavie

    cestlavie Advocate (525) New York Oct 27, 2011

    Private label, yes, I understand. But not a normal brewery?
  12. semibaked

    semibaked Champion (820) Kentucky Mar 27, 2007 Verified

    This is not gouging at all, overpriced and expensive yes, gouging no.
    Providence likes this.
  13. striker2160

    striker2160 Advocate (555) Minnesota May 5, 2013 Verified

    OK so if 15 dollars for a 4 dollar can of beer isn't gouging then what's your definition 20 no let's say 50 dollars ?
  14. prior2two

    prior2two Savant (315) Illinois Oct 18, 2013 Verified

    Yeah, but his pricesaren't worth it. 12.99 for moon Man? No thanks.
  15. TheRealPour

    TheRealPour Advocate (575) Illinois Jan 29, 2009

    Seriously. Why not take an easy roadtrip to Woodman's in Kenosha and score yourself a couple cases at less than the average 'sconnie pays? And fresh Usinger encased meats and Nueske's to boot!
  16. 46and2

    46and2 Aficionado (220) Minnesota Mar 28, 2008

    $30 for SeVIIn? Welcome to Minnesota.

    ThisWangsChung likes this.
  17. loafinaround

    loafinaround Savant (415) New York Jul 16, 2011 Verified

    I knew a guy who did that. frankly, I was grateful.
  18. sts

    sts Aficionado (110) Illinois Aug 2, 2013

    What are you, a park ranger? Who gives a shit about the marmot?!
    SoCalBeerIdiot and VDODSON like this.
  19. beertunes

    beertunes Poobah (1,390) Washington Sep 24, 2007 Verified

    Well, having friends who've gotten tickets while on vacation in Utah for "transporting untaxed beer" (I forget the exact legalese), it's worth knowing about. My approach has always been to know which laws your breaking. Helps ya not get caught.

    Plus, I wouldn't expect a FIB to care about Whistling Marmots anyway.

    VDODSON Savant (320) North Dakota Feb 5, 2013

    I wish more places would do it.
  21. I think what semibaked was refering to was the fact that beer, because it is a luxury item, can't be "gouged" so to speak. Safe food, clean water, some amount of electricity, etc. can be gouged as they are necessities (insert "but I need beer to live joke"). It's a term that gets argued about a lot on the BA forums. I know what folks are getting at when they describe and overpriced beer as a store gouging, but in fairness to what real gouging is, and how bad it sucks to be a victim of it, I think it best to steer clear of the term when discussing a luxury item like beer. Just my $0.02.
    rollom, SoCalBeerIdiot and beertunes like this.
  22. jmdrpi

    jmdrpi Poobah (1,120) Pennsylvania Dec 11, 2008 Verified

    I think Semibaked's point was the term "Price Gouging" is usually referring to a situation where the cost of necessities like food, fuel, housing, etc are raised during a natural disaster or some other emergency.

    Beer isn't a necessity, so having overpriced beer isn't gouging. It's just the unpopular effect of supply vs. demand Capitalism.
    beertunes likes this.

    VDODSON Savant (320) North Dakota Feb 5, 2013

  24. PapiFuego

    PapiFuego Aficionado (125) New York Aug 20, 2013

    My local beer store gets a lot of cigar city brewing and to my belief they don't distribute to NY.
  25. otispdriftwood

    otispdriftwood Advocate (570) Colorado Dec 9, 2011 Verified

    So when I visit an out-of-state brewery, buy beer in bottles or in a growler and bring it home, I'm committing a Federal offense? Oh nooooooooooooooooooo!

    P.S. I think you left out transport alcohol and re-sell it. And it's probably a state offense since you are breaking a state law.
  26. otispdriftwood

    otispdriftwood Advocate (570) Colorado Dec 9, 2011 Verified

    FYI - They've started to distribute again depending where you are in NY. Picked up a growler in Brewster last week.
  27. cwehr13

    cwehr13 Savant (465) Illinois Aug 4, 2011 Verified

    as long as it is fairly priced it doesn't bother me.
  28. rhartogsq

    rhartogsq Savant (425) Virginia Jun 18, 2010 Verified

    technically the brewery, or a brewery representative has to bring the beer in....nice loose laws, I like it.
  29. dwagner003

    dwagner003 Poobah (1,065) California Jan 4, 2013 Verified

    I bought a bottle of Three Floyds Alpha Klaus from a store in CA. You know what I say? Keep it going!! I am happy to benefit from the nefarious acts of others.
  30. beertunes

    beertunes Poobah (1,390) Washington Sep 24, 2007 Verified

    Since the thread was about stores that sell beer not distributed to them, it seemed like your point would be obvious. My mistake. I'll try not to make it again.
  31. deezy23

    deezy23 Aficionado (220) Georgia Nov 15, 2009 Verified

    Contraband beer drinks well
  32. ironchefmiyagi13

    ironchefmiyagi13 Advocate (610) Tennessee Jan 9, 2013 Verified

    No, it goes "Snitches get stitches, then end up in ditches OR sleep with the fitches" (had to allow a little creative integrity on that last word.)
  33. joeebbs

    joeebbs Savant (360) Pennsylvania Apr 29, 2009

    also I believe in PA it is illegal to bring a bottle of un-registered beer into a bar for a "bottle share."
  34. otispdriftwood

    otispdriftwood Advocate (570) Colorado Dec 9, 2011 Verified

    Obviously, I ignored what the thread was about.
  35. Siggy125

    Siggy125 Advocate (600) California Nov 10, 2006 Verified

    It doesnt bother me, but we have a guy that does this and he handles it like a real jackass. He displays his rare collection with super inflated prices and then toys with you on whether he really wants to sell them. I think he just puts this shit out to show off what he has. I've been in there a couple of times and have never gone back.
  36. FatBoyGotSwagger

    FatBoyGotSwagger Champion (945) Pennsylvania Apr 4, 2009 Verified

    Never seen that one enforced.
  37. robwestcott

    robwestcott Advocate (685) Indiana Nov 3, 2008 Verified

    who cares ?
  38. joeebbs

    joeebbs Savant (360) Pennsylvania Apr 29, 2009

    right, I just remember Philly Beer Scene/Philly Tap Finder commenting on the fact that they changed venues to a BYOB restaurant because of this.
  39. tacosandbeer

    tacosandbeer Advocate (575) Colorado Sep 24, 2010 Verified

    What a peach!
  40. olekern

    olekern Aficionado (175) California Sep 25, 2010

    Additionally, "having a brewpub" is not a requirement either. Moonlight out of Santa Rosa ("Fulton" if you want to be pedantic) self-distributes. There has been "talk" of a brewpub for years, but there isn't one. Henhouse in Petaluma self-distributes too. While people bitch & moan about the three tier system, unless a brewery has the trucks and sales/delivery forces to service many thousands of customers county-wide/state-wide/nation-wide/world-wide, then there will be "middle-man" distributors.
    hopfenunmaltz likes this.