Question about distribution & special orders

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by officerbill, Jul 9, 2019.

  1. officerbill

    officerbill Aspirant (268) Feb 9, 2019 New York
    Society Trader

    There are several beers that are just not seen anywhere around here, but I would be willing to special order a case of.

    Theoretically, if some of a brewery's or importer's beers are sold here (showing that I'm within the distribution area) should I be able to order anything that brewer or importer shows as still being in available on their site?

    As an extreme example: Anchorage is handled by Shelton Bros. In NY Shelton's lines are distributed by Remarkable Liquids. Remarkable Liquids distributes some of their brands and some of Shelton's other beers in my area, Anchorage is no where to be seen. So, hypothetically, should I be able to order Anchorage beers even though, to my knowledge, they've never been stocked here?
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  2. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (1,785) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey

    That's up to the retailer (some don't want to bother) but mostly the distributor (since even importers typically use local distributors - although there are cases where an importer also has a state wholesaler license - kinda the equivalent of "self-distribution" for a brewery).

    If the local distributor of a brewery or an importer chooses to not routinely carry part of their line-up, whether a specific brand, beer or just a package (say they only carry a beer in cans, not bottles), more than likely you're not going to be able to special order it either. In the case of an importer and some breweries, they might also not want to ship a particular beer into a state for a variety of reasons.

    NYS, IIRC, allows retailers to travel outside their in-state distribution region and buy beer from "outside" distributors within NY - but that's up to the retailer, of course.

    I'd just ask the best and friendliest retailer you deal with "Can I order this?" and give them the info (distributor, brand, etc) and see what they say. A lot of times "I'll try..." is the best you'll get and you should probably offer to pre-pay for a case to show you're interested and serious, even if they don't ask for it.

    I do all my beer shopping during "working hours" and come across distributors' sales folks all the time - taking inventory, moving stuff around, etc. They're almost always willing to chat and can be very informative. Look for the person with a notebook or laptop (sometimes you can spot their car full of POP stuff in the back seat before you even get in the store :grin:), check out which beers he or she's paying attention to and ask, "Oh, I see you're checking out Sierra Nevada and Sam Adams - I guess you work for ABC Distributors? (< A little local knowledge goes a long way). Hey, you guys also carry XYZ beers, right? What's the deal with..."
    #2 jesskidden, Jul 9, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2019
  3. PapaGoose03

    PapaGoose03 Poo-Bah (2,432) May 30, 2005 Michigan

    I think many breweries produce limited-size batches of some of their beers so that they choose not to send it to some states, and the beer that you want could fall into that category. I think you're going to have to ask a good beer store, call the distributor, or email the brewery.
    officerbill likes this.
  4. officerbill

    officerbill Aspirant (268) Feb 9, 2019 New York
    Society Trader

    The IRL example :
    I really enjoyed Anchor's 2017 Christmas Ale, 2018 rolls around and no one has it. I asked my beer guy to special order a case and he comes back with "the distributor didn't sell enough last year so he's not carrying it this year". I didn't pursue the matter.

    So, while a retailer might place a special order for a case of something the wholesaler distributes it's unlikely the wholesaler will order a case of something he doesn't normally stock?
  5. ypsifly

    ypsifly Meyvn (1,045) Sep 22, 2004 Michigan

    I don't know about NY laws, but in MI I (as a retailer) am at the mercy of the distributor and what they bring in. One exception is that I was able to get the distributor to buy something they dropped years ago from the broker (who I just happen to know) but I had to commit to 10 cases.
  6. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Poo-Bah (6,628) Sep 14, 2002 Wyoming
    Society Trader

    All anyone can do is try. I tried ordering a case of Timothy Taylor Landlord and I got zilch. :slight_frown:
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  7. Justonemore91

    Justonemore91 Aspirant (241) Nov 24, 2018 New York
    Society Trader

    Retailers in nyc choose not to order anchorage from remarkable because its too expensive.. Especially since bombers dont sell to well in nyc

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  8. officerbill

    officerbill Aspirant (268) Feb 9, 2019 New York
    Society Trader

    Yeah, I figured shipping costs would probably be prohibitive.
    I was using Anchorage as an extreme example. Beers I'd like to buy, but have never even seen even though they (technically) have a distributor in my area.
  9. Beer_Stan

    Beer_Stan Initiate (105) Mar 15, 2014 California

    As a buyer I've had this problem in the past with a distributor telling me that they have a brewery under contract but not enough demand for their beer or certain particular SKUs enough to warrant sending a cold storage truck out to pick up the beer from the brewery. Essentially an issue of logistics and cost. Even if I offered to buy a certain number of cases, unless that brewery is on the route an existing truck is passing through they wont bother because when they calculate that into the cost of the beer, I wont want to buy it and thus the customer wouldn't after mark up. Its a shame but, thats how it is sometimes I'm afraid.
  10. Ipaupaweallpa

    Ipaupaweallpa Initiate (176) Dec 26, 2014 Alabama

    Back in like 2016 or 2015 when enjoy by just started being packaged in 6 packs and it was scarce here in Alabama,I ordered a case to myself from my Bottle shop . I thought it was so awesome. Enjoyed all of them.
    Junior likes this.