Advice For Dealing With Local Distributor Woes

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by raffels, Nov 24, 2012.

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  1. raffels

    raffels Initiate (0) Dec 12, 2009 West Virginia

    Long story short: The county I live in in WV (Berkeley) has but one distributor for Sierra Nevada, and they do less than an admirable job of servicing their local grocery accounts. Some examples without going into a full blown rant include: Summerfest still sitting on the shelf in one store, another just got an infusion of Tumbler, hit or miss stock of Torpedo (mostly miss).

    I've spoken to one of the store's grocery manager several times about the situation in his store and have gotten positive feedback about opening up more shelf space and having more stock on hand. The problem seems to be lack of cooperation on the distributor's end.

    That being said, I solicit advice on how to proceed-email Sierra Nevada about the issue or just keep pounding away at my end?

    Wadda you think?

  2. Rochefort10nh

    Rochefort10nh Savant (907) Sep 30, 2005 New Hampshire

    Clearly you need to kick your BMC lovin' fratboy sales reps squarely in the nutsack and say "give me my Sierra Nevada fix you douches!"
  3. raffels

    raffels Initiate (0) Dec 12, 2009 West Virginia

    Pretty much my feelings in a nutshell (sorry). So how do I kick start him?
  4. beerloserLI

    beerloserLI Meyvn (1,239) Apr 2, 2011 New York
    Society Trader

    There aren't any independent beer distributor stores or alternative places? You can only buy beer at a grocery store? Or is that sn only distributes to grocery?

    I'm guessing you can't have beer shipped to individual households through the mail in WV?
  5. raffels

    raffels Initiate (0) Dec 12, 2009 West Virginia

    Maybe I should have explained the situation better-check out you'll see what I mean. Between runs to the closet beercentric store (about an hour and a half round trip), SN is about the only worthwhile offering in the local supermarkets. Forget about Sheetz, 7-11 and the local gas stations, unless you're looking for Bud, Bud Light, ect.
  6. Johnnyramirez

    Johnnyramirez Initiate (0) Nov 17, 2012 California

    We get Sierra Nevada everywhere here in California. If you really like it that much and it's not a legal issue, I'm sure I or another member can send you some. They sell Tumbler, Torpedo, Kellerweis, and Celebration at the grocery store here right next to the Blue Moon and Bud Light.
  7. Jfriz25

    Jfriz25 Initiate (0) Jun 8, 2012 Wisconsin

    I'd email Sierra Nevada. The distributor probably isn't going to listen to one person and the grocery store guy might sound helpful but in the end it's 50/50 he even brings it up with the distributor much less pushes the issue.
    Hatzilla, raffels and 5thOhio like this.
  8. raffels

    raffels Initiate (0) Dec 12, 2009 West Virginia

    Thanks for the reply-sorry if I didn't fully explain-SN is distributed into WV. What I've been trying to do for the last 6 months or more is to try and get the local distributors ass in gear and do a halfway decent job of representing the best of the slim pickings we get.
  9. SammyJaxxxx

    SammyJaxxxx Poo-Bah (2,326) Feb 23, 2012 New Jersey

  10. Chris_Cali_2o9

    Chris_Cali_2o9 Initiate (0) Nov 18, 2012

    I hear ya, central valley CA's distributor is a POS. I gotta drive at least an hour out to find something i havent had, worth trying.

    The way i deal with it is whenever i have to go to the bay area or sacramento for something, i add a beer trip into the plans as well.

    You might just be forced to take a road trip somewhere.
  11. Horbar

    Horbar Zealot (508) Feb 24, 2012 Rhode Island

    Sorry man. That sucks.
  12. nickapalooza86

    nickapalooza86 Initiate (0) Feb 23, 2010 Wisconsin

    That is the problem with people who could care less about craft beer being the distributor.... Or the problem with the whole system in general.... Here in WI I can get a lot of great beers from around the country fresher then NG because a small craft distributor handles most stuff from other states but one of the big boys handles NG... We still have not seen Black Top which has been year round for the last month, and I can only imagine is just sitting in a warehouse. Not to mention the countless times I am in the store and see them opening cases and putting the fresh beer infront of the older stock.... But anyway you just got to keep bugging um or email SN and see if they can set a fire under the distributors feet!
    raffels likes this.
  13. schuey1010

    schuey1010 Initiate (75) Jun 18, 2009 California

    I just got my first taste of Sierra Celebratrion wednesday in Los Angeles after the rep told me that the tumbler had to go before they would sell the cele. I think its been out close to a month in other parts of the country.

    It will be just like last year when the same rep was asking me to take some of his remaining 1/2 barrels in May to help him get rid of them
  14. Richard33

    Richard33 Initiate (0) Mar 21, 2012 Massachusetts

    Any idea if SN has a regional rep that you could contact? That works well here in MA when I'm having a hard time with my regular reps.
    raffels and 5thOhio like this.
  15. jrnyc

    jrnyc Meyvn (1,142) Mar 21, 2010 New York

    I went to one of my local stores yesterday. I saw they got in some Stone Ruination, enjoy by date 11/20/2012. Its already out of code. New batch of Green Flash West Coast IPA came in, bottled 8/13/2012. Sucks being an IPA drinker as it is not so easy to get beer that is not old.

    There are far too many beers on the shelves in the stores I go to, most of them just get old and die a slow death.
    Horbar likes this.
  16. Preluderl

    Preluderl Devotee (497) Sep 27, 2012 Pennsylvania

    Hell, I'm from West Virginia and I didn't even know you could get Sierra Nevada in Berkeley County. I'm from Marion Country and they've never heard of such a thing there.

    OP, if I were you I'd look at They ship to West Virginia and I've used them a couple of times now to order things that are on the rare side. I have it shipped to my folks place in Marion County since Pennsylvania doesn't allow home delivery.
  17. TomClem

    TomClem Initiate (119) Mar 7, 2012 Nebraska

    I'd start by befriending the beer manager at the most promising grocery. Keep track of SN seasonal releases and let him know you are looking to buy a case of the upcoming release. Communicate with him often but don't be a pest. If he knows what you want he can work with the distributor to get it fresh. No need for you to try to fix the entire county!
    Hatzilla likes this.
  18. williamjbauer

    williamjbauer Initiate (0) Jan 17, 2012 Colorado

    I'm from WV, been making trips to KY and OH for better brews. Many areas in WV get Great Lakes which has a variety of nice beers. I was utilizing ebay for sometime which was a nice way to get Heady Topper and others till that option went to pot. This is a probably a better resource than letspour for mail order beer:
  19. raffels

    raffels Initiate (0) Dec 12, 2009 West Virginia

    Thanks for the ideas, esp. the about the regional rep. Guess I'll email SN and find out. I'm not the only one who's aware of this distributors apparent lack of attention to keeping things in stock, ect., several AB reps I've bumped into have mentioned that other stores have had issues with them also.

    As far as getting stuff that's not available in WV, there's a great shop about 45 minutes away (The Wooden Keg) in MD that's my saving grace in that respect. In between runs it's catch as catch can at the grocery store.

    Anyhow, Celebration's supposed to land here this week. That should keep me quite for about a month. :slight_smile:

  20. Preluderl

    Preluderl Devotee (497) Sep 27, 2012 Pennsylvania

    Thanks for pointing out this site, I'd not seen this one yet.
  21. jmw

    jmw Initiate (0) Feb 4, 2009 North Carolina

    raffels, I think Richard33 and TomClem have given the best suggestions here.
    I understand your pain, but apparently we even have it better here in Randolph Co than you do. But the impetus comes from one guy at one store that hounds his reps (there are 2 distros for decent beer here, different breweries) and raises the bar for any other store in town. He's willing to take a chance and he sells the shit out of anything that the distro brings him. This makes all the other stores take notice and they start carrying it too. And this in a town of 7000. So do what TC said and take the grocery beer buyer by the hand and lead him through this (in a friendly way). Maybe point him toward this site, tell him about the WV Craft Beer Appreciation Society, point out the interest that Bramwell Octoberfest enjoys, in short just play up the growth possibilities that are there. Then do what Richard33 suggests and contact SN. They may be able to dislodge this reticent distributor from their comfortable ways. Always worth a shot.

    Out of curiosity, what is the distributor? Call 'em out. I'm sure I've got a letter in me that could be sent to help the cause.
  22. otispdriftwood

    otispdriftwood Initiate (0) Dec 9, 2011 Colorado

    When I first saw the title, I thought - just go to the brewery. Then I read the first post and now I feel the OP's pain.
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