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Russian River pulling out of WA?

Discussion in 'Northwest' started by distantmantra, Dec 31, 2012.

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  1. flayedandskinned

    flayedandskinned Jan 1, 2011 California
    Beer Trader


    Go to the pub.... they are doing just fine!

    That place is a fucking goldmine.

    More tion and Pliny in Norcal! Sweet!
     
  2. flayedandskinned

    flayedandskinned Jan 1, 2011 California
    Beer Trader


    READ: PLINY KEPT COLD.
     
    PaulStoneAnchor and harrymel like this.
  3. draheim

    draheim Sep 18, 2010 Washington
    Beer Trader

    You should have used Comic Sans.
    In Seattle (can't speak for the rest of the state), we get a fresh shipment every 4 or 5 weeks and it sells out almost instantly. Pliny languishing for weeks on shelves at room temp is not a problem we have.
     
    66jzmstr and distantmantra like this.
  4. CA_Infidel2o9

    CA_Infidel2o9 Dec 1, 2012

    Just saw 3 of the "tions" in Seattle. Gonna have to swoop them up and try them before they're gone!
     
  5. JonnyBeers

    JonnyBeers Oct 24, 2012 British Columbia (Canada)
    Beer Trader

    Damn, glad I saw this. Going to stock up bigtime when we're down in Portland in January.
     
  6. NWer

    NWer Mar 10, 2009 Washington
    Beer Trader

    Ouch! no more Pliny?
    Happy New Years anyway.
    Lots of great beers here :)

    (wrong thread?)
     
  7. chiefojibwa

    chiefojibwa May 19, 2009 Washington

    well that sucks. glad i had a pint last night at bottleworks.
     
  8. dirtylou

    dirtylou May 12, 2005 Washington
    Beer Trader

    I can live without Pliny.

    Not having Supplication, Consecration, Temptation, Sanctification is going to be a major blow. Washington already has some of the worst distribution of Belgian lambics/wild ales/etc of anywhere in the country (thanks Shelton) - losing Russian River gives us very little access to a decent wild ale.
     
    draheim likes this.
  9. BuckeyeOne

    BuckeyeOne Mar 9, 2008 Washington

    Matt, you could ease the pain by bottling/canning one or both of your DIPAs. See post above.
     
  10. flexabull

    flexabull Mar 9, 2006 California
    Beer Trader

    Sucks for Washington, but maybe this means more RR (especially Pliny) will show up in Northern CA. I recently went to a pub in Chico that had just ran out of Pliny and they said they are getting more. That's rare seeing it North of the Bay Area.
     
    PaulStoneAnchor likes this.
  11. distantmantra

    distantmantra May 23, 2011 Washington
    Beer Trader

    Yep, that's what I'm going to miss. Aside from Cascade and a couple random sour Belgians, it's incredibly slim pickins up here. I've got Temptation and Consecration right now, will have to see what I can find today and tomorrow.
     
  12. NWer

    NWer Mar 10, 2009 Washington
    Beer Trader

    Random sampling of one but Mill Creek Central Market usually has a large display of -tion's at the deli end of the aisle. A few bottles left in the special beers section at opposite end.
     
  13. BuckeyeOne

    BuckeyeOne Mar 9, 2008 Washington

    As someone who has just recently begun exploring wild ales and sours, I think my wallet might thank me for breaking up with Russian River.
     
    bifrost17 and Lordkrystic like this.
  14. SeaAle

    SeaAle Jun 24, 2012 Oregon
    Beer Trader

    We still have Cascade, which make much tastier wild ales than RR does IMO.
     
  15. dirtylou

    dirtylou May 12, 2005 Washington
    Beer Trader

    I love Cascade, but they just make sour fruit bombs. Not even remotely close to the same style of brewing as Russian River.
     
    maltmaster420 likes this.
  16. distantmantra

    distantmantra May 23, 2011 Washington
    Beer Trader

    Snagged one bottle each of Redemption, Damnation and Supplication this morning at the Roosevelt Whole Foods to go along with my Consecration and Temptation at home. Would love to find a Sanctification if possible.
     
  17. BuckeyeOne

    BuckeyeOne Mar 9, 2008 Washington

    I'm not sure I've yet had a better wild ale than Consecration.
     
  18. ArrogantB

    ArrogantB Jun 9, 2006 Colorado
    Beer Trader

    My understanding is that they distribute to those markets because of relationships with the publicans at Monk's Cafe, The Falling Rock, Horse Brass Pub, and Brouwer's Cafe, not because they care about whether stupac2 can easily find Pliny in Oakland.
     
  19. beertunes

    beertunes Sep 24, 2007 Washington
    Beer Trader

    Am I the only who doesn't understand what they mean by not being able to manage their own brand? Wouldn't this be equally as true for everyone else? I understand them wanting to sell beer at home, and for higher margins, the "brand management" thing smells like an excuse to me.
     
  20. distantmantra

    distantmantra May 23, 2011 Washington
    Beer Trader

    I don't know what they mean by that, either. Maybe they didn't have a say in who gets their beer in WA (ie. the PtY madness)?
     
  21. 66jzmstr

    66jzmstr Jul 17, 2005 Washington
    Subscriber Beer Trader

    That's the one piece that I have know idea of what it means.
     
  22. OneBeertoRTA

    OneBeertoRTA Jan 2, 2010 California
    Beer Trader

    I was in WA on business 5 months ago and was in this grocery store that had temptation, sanctification, supplication and consecration on the shelf. My guess is it doesn't move (that is until guys like me from cali go there). Ironic as it sounds, RR doesn't need a market like that when people beg and claw in their home turf for bottles.
     
    CA_Infidel2o9 likes this.
  23. dirtylou

    dirtylou May 12, 2005 Washington
    Beer Trader

    Well PtE typically "moves" before it even hits the shelf. As for those $13 'tion beers. They definitely sell, about as quick as you'd expect a non-whale expensive 375ml bottle to sell. I'm not 100% certain, but it's my understanding those beers are all easy as hell to get anywhere that RR distributes.
     
    beertunes likes this.
  24. beertunes

    beertunes Sep 24, 2007 Washington
    Beer Trader

    From talking to bar/store owners around here in Bellingham, Click flat refused to ever send PtY up here. They would send Tion beers, but not much else. Click also refuses to send up more limited beers from other breweries, unless an account bought a bunch of slow movers regularly, which is why we don't see a ton of DFH around here.
     
    Smurf2055 likes this.
  25. kscaldef

    kscaldef Jun 11, 2010 Oregon
    Beer Trader



    I assumed it meant things like not being able to choose what stores or bars might get certain beers, but I'm not familiar with how the distribution system works in WA.

    Probably yes, but I don't think that invalidates their decision making criteria.
     
  26. distantmantra

    distantmantra May 23, 2011 Washington
    Beer Trader

    That's been my experience at bottle shops in Portland, Hood River and Bend, OR as well as Seattle.
     
  27. SeaAle

    SeaAle Jun 24, 2012 Oregon
    Beer Trader

    I believe they're talking about the Washington law that requires all out of state breweries must sell their beer to distributors who then sell them to retailers. In state breweries can sell their beer directly to the retailer or distributor.
     
  28. distantmantra

    distantmantra May 23, 2011 Washington
    Beer Trader

    1. Is our law really that different from other states with distributors? Doesn't RR go through a distributor in Oregon and Colorado?
    2. Cascade sells directly to retailers in WA. How do they circumvent that law?
     
    beertunes likes this.
  29. Mages64

    Mages64 Sep 7, 2009 Washington
    Beer Trader

    None of this is based on talking with RR and is just hearsay:
    PtE allocations are SUPPOSED to be based on sales of Damnation. Two problems already with that statement... allocations are technically illegal in WA state and mandating an account sells a slower mover to get the master mover is also illegal. The distributor, not the supplier, is the one who has complete say over where and who gets certain beers in WA state. So say a new bar opens in tacoma. that bar wants Pliny. However the distributor only gets X amount each month and it goes immediately to all the accounts that are big supporters of that distributor. It's not offered to accounts, its autoshipped by the distributor. So an account can order it every single day and it'll never actually get a keg of Pliny because the kegs are allocated. This has caused so much confusion, frustration, and recently some legal heat that it's my guess that its not worth it for RR to risk or worry about distributing here in WA.
    Furthermore, a huge account that supports that distributors core brands across the board is going to get a keg of Pliny. Once they have it, no one has any control of what is DONE with that keg. It is my understanding that RR does not want Pliny sitting around to be put on tap. Also they don't want it doing growler fills. So if an account is doing an anniversary party in two months, and they hold on to their keg for two months, that's two months past when RR wants their beer to be consumed. They have no control now over that final product. Same with growler fills. Once an account fills a growler, they've lost all control over their product and packaging.
    So yeah... it is in my personal opinion that it's just too much hassle to keep up with all the annoyance that is the main reason RR pulled out. That and RR likes to have a lot of control over their product.
    Thoughts?
     
  30. SeaAle

    SeaAle Jun 24, 2012 Oregon
    Beer Trader

    You talking directly to retailers or directly to consumers?
     
  31. Mages64

    Mages64 Sep 7, 2009 Washington
    Beer Trader

    you can register yourself as self-distributed in WA too. it is just too much of a hassle for most breweries to do. Pelican was self-distributed before it signed on with Noble. Fort George distributed to Vancouver, WA before it signed with Odom. Etc...
     
  32. SeaAle

    SeaAle Jun 24, 2012 Oregon
    Beer Trader

    No idea how Oregon or other states work.
     
  33. beertunes

    beertunes Sep 24, 2007 Washington
    Beer Trader

    Thanks. The part about allocations makes sense to me. And I understand a distributor "rewarding" a loyal account. It seems to be a two-way street, retailers might be willing to buy some slow movers to stay in the distributors good graces, but then that kinda locks out others. Fortunately for me, I'm not a big Pliny guy, so this will have minimal effect on me personally, but it kinda sucks for the overall health of our beer scene.
     
  34. distantmantra

    distantmantra May 23, 2011 Washington
    Beer Trader

    The Roosevelt Whole Foods has a sign attached to their cases of Damnation stating that the more they sell of it, the more they get of "certain other special beers" or something to that effect.

    Well, they used to get more...
     
    beertunes likes this.
  35. yojimbo1

    yojimbo1 Feb 26, 2012 Kansas

    Here in Seattle I see Damnation basically not moving. When I was in Southern California I don't think Damnation moved much. I never understood why they don't halve production of Damnation and increase production of PTE and Blind Pig.

    Also, regarding growler laws for the consumer and the brewery the laws here in Washington are so far superior to the laws in California it isn't even funny.
     
  36. beertunes

    beertunes Sep 24, 2007 Washington
    Beer Trader

    Yeah, our growler laws are exceptionally reasonable. ANY sealable container. Coke bottles, milk jugs, Nalgene bottles, and swing tops are just some of the things I've seen filled. As long as the original label is removed, you're pretty much good to go. I've always wanted to try travel coffee mug, but that would require to buy a coffee mug.
     
    66jzmstr likes this.
  37. yojimbo1

    yojimbo1 Feb 26, 2012 Kansas

    Yeah, and in California not only do you have to get the growler filled at the brewery or brewpub where the beers is produced but the growler has to be from the brewery with the brewery's logo on it. Just ridiculous.

    Here in Washington I've had a growler of PTE to bring home and enjoy. That's something I could have never had in California, living six or seven hours from the brewpub.
     
    beertunes likes this.
  38. BrewsoBrewco

    BrewsoBrewco Feb 15, 2011 Oregon

    I don't think that brand management is an excuse. I think this is going to be a huge trend in small sought after breweries in the coming years. RR has always tried to do it, especially with PtE and PtY and blind pig... ect. To them brand is not a marketing term as in managing the logo of RR or their name. brand to them is the beer and how they want the beer represented in the way they intend. Fresh, or stored x or y way.

    It is very much exactly what the three sought after Vermont breweries have done. Shaun Hill, Sean Lawson and John Kimmich have all said that they keep distro limited so they know who they are distributed too and how the product is treated. Granted they are all relatively small, especially in the case of Lawson's, but they all keep tight locks on the distribution, down to not signing on with a distributor until they are guaranteed to have their demands for how the beer is treated represented. RR has for years done this too. From banning a bar from getting allotments of beer ect, for not obeying their wishes as to how Vinnie's beer is treated.

    I don't necessarily think that this is the exact reason that they pull out of Washington, but this brand management is important to their company. Add that to that to the mass quantities of people that flock to Santa Rosa to visit the pub. They have some very loyal and old friends like Bottleworks and Brouwers that I am sure weighed heavy on the decision. Sometimes liquor laws can weigh heavy. At the end of the day it still sucks. Hope all the Washington BA's who are RR fans will find a way to get their fill. Even if it means a trip down to dusty old OR ;)
     
  39. beertunes

    beertunes Sep 24, 2007 Washington
    Beer Trader

    Very good points. I still think it falls on the shoulders of the local distributors to follow the breweries wishes (for example, I can't remember ever seeing a reefer truck from any of the distros that serve my town on the street, and I'm not sure how extensive, if at all existent, their cold rooms are in their warehouses. But we live in a cool region.). While your points are valid, and I wish more breweries would follow the examples you list, I still think there's something here we're not getting. BTW, the letter RR sent is posted here: http://seattlebeernews.com/2013/01/russian-river-brewing-company-withdraws-from-washington-market/
     
  40. yojimbo1

    yojimbo1 Feb 26, 2012 Kansas

    I take the meaning of "brand management" to be the same now that you mention it. I heard ages ago that they either pulled their beer from Bevmo or denied them their beer because Bevmo couldn't guarantee that their IPAs would be kept refrigerated.

    The funny thing is that with Russian River and the three Vermont breweries, their beer is exposed to more extreme temperatures and rough handling when their beer is shipped for trading or on the secondary market than their beer would be through the normal distribution system and yet they implicitly approved of trading.

    It was my understanding that RR was not interested in expanding, I may be wrong about that. From the letter it seems like they would need to do some expansion and perhaps lobby to change existing liquor laws before they would come back to Washington. Also for some reason they go into detail about why they can't expand, or expand easily. I wonder if the end of the letter is all lip service and they really don't intend to come back to Washington.
     
    BrewsoBrewco likes this.
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