Russian River pulling out of WA?

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

  1. draheim

    draheim Sep 18, 2010 Washington
    Beer Trader

    Chuck already has mules lined up for that sort of thing. Here's hoping he expands his reach to NorCal.
     
    bifrost17 likes this.
  2. devlishdamsel

    devlishdamsel Aug 1, 2009 Washington

    meh. Without knowing facts, one can only speculate. I am traveling to Portland soon. hopefully i can find some Russian river there!
     
  3. OneBeertoRTA

    OneBeertoRTA Jan 2, 2010 California
    Beer Trader

    I was at the PCC in Redmond in Sep and they had all 4 tions on the shelf including Sanctification.
     
  4. draheim

    draheim Sep 18, 2010 Washington
    Beer Trader

    So, here's a question. I was just looking through my list of "beers to watch for," checking off Laurelwood Workhorse, and of course I also use this list to track all the upcoming Bottleworks anniversary beers. (This will give you all a nice glimpse into just how anal retentive I am.) After next year (Cascade), I have noted that Russian River is slated to brew the 15th anniversary beer.

    So... if they're not distributing here anymore, is this plan affected?
     
  5. distantmantra

    distantmantra May 23, 2011 Washington
    Beer Trader

    I doubt it. The Brouwers dudes can just "drive down there" and "bring it back" "themselves."
     
  6. Mages64

    Mages64 Sep 7, 2009 Washington
    Beer Trader

    [​IMG]
     
  7. podunkparte

    podunkparte Nov 14, 2009 Washington

    ^^^^ Dan, we're all gonna miss you for a month.

    **Looking distraught** "Why?! Why did he have to post a meme? Doesn't he realize the consequences of his reckless actions?!"

    (This is my first post in over a month ;) )
     
  8. NWer

    NWer Mar 10, 2009 Washington
    Beer Trader

    Self-imposed exile?
     
  9. podunkparte

    podunkparte Nov 14, 2009 Washington

    Nope... the traditional kind of exile
     
    Arbitrator likes this.
  10. t4h2c0

    t4h2c0 Jun 5, 2007 Washington

    I heard rumors before about RR doing another bworks anniversary beer but I think I remember those rumors being untrue, where did you hear RR was guna do another bworks beer? I know cascade is doing the 14th but haven't heard anything else, I will ask around bworks and other places to try and find out.
     
  11. Clearbrew22

    Clearbrew22 Nov 29, 2012

    Basically what this all comes down to is Russian River along with a lot of other Maufacturers are mad that they can't have final placement over their products.
    This recent change in Wa state is a by-product of the liquor industry trying to do the same thing with their products but on a much large scale, this has resulted in some legislative ruling's stating that a " Distributor" MUST sell any and all items ordered from them and they do not have the power or right to determine "Allocations" or "Refuse" sale of any particular item that they carry and currently have in stock.
    Basically if the distributor has it he has to sell it to whoever orders it , you do not have the right to say "Sorry we're out right now" when you really have it in stock or, " Well i can get you some but first(in the case of RR) you have to order Damnation and keep it in stock or on tap before i can get some Allocated for you."
    All of these things where happening on an everyday basis and are now illegal so some people like in the case of RR are unhappy and are choosing to either leave the state entirely or Self- Distribute as someone mentioned before.
    AS always this is all a personal opinion and just wanted to clear things up for a couple people who still seemed confused.
     
    CA_Infidel2o9 likes this.
  12. dirtylou

    dirtylou May 12, 2005 Washington
    Beer Trader

    Am I wrong in interpreting this as extremely growth limiting? Isn't it a pain in the ass to self distribute? If Russian River is cool with their current capacity and has the means to just sell everything local, then right on. But certainly a brewery with intentions of growth couldn't have this as a business policy.
     
  13. stupac2

    stupac2 Feb 22, 2011 California
    Beer Trader

    Only if you NEED Washington to grow, which is clearly not the case for any brewery outside of the state. I'd also think that for most breweries trying to grow it wouldn't be that big of a deal, since they likely have more beer than they can sell, which is not the case for RR.
     
  14. dirtylou

    dirtylou May 12, 2005 Washington
    Beer Trader

    Well certainly Washington isn't the only state in the union that has distributor laws?

    Self distributing your beer to 50 states would seem impossible, and really actually kind of stupid.
     
  15. stupac2

    stupac2 Feb 22, 2011 California
    Beer Trader

    I have no idea how many do it that way, but it seems like California, Colorado, Pennsylvania, and Oregon don't (otherwise we'd probably be seeing these notices coming from places other than Washington).
     
  16. dirtylou

    dirtylou May 12, 2005 Washington
    Beer Trader

    Well all of those states have distributor relationships - I guess I don't understand why the nuance of the Washington law is that important to a brewery. So if someone can shed some light on that...
     
  17. mjl21

    mjl21 Apr 3, 2008 California

    Probably has a lot to do with pressure from the Whole Foods Northern California office in Emeryville wanting guarantees that each store gets 'x' amount of beer per week.
     
  18. stupac2

    stupac2 Feb 22, 2011 California
    Beer Trader

    Reread the post by Clearbrew that you quoted. RR doesn't want to their stuff to be at the whim of whomever happens to order it. They want it to go to people who have proven that they can move it and who will treat it correctly. Washington law (apparently, according to him) doesn't allow that.
     
  19. maltmaster420

    maltmaster420 Aug 17, 2005 Oregon
    Beer Trader

    Believe me, we have just as many (if not more) fucked up rules on this side of the border, including the one mentioned earlier about the distributor being required to sell any product they offer to any account that requests it, assuming it's in stock. For example, I've special ordered things like Trader Joe's Anniversary Ale for customers in the past (don't ask me why they didn't just go to TJs), and despite the sales rep claiming he couldn't find it in his handheld ordering thing he was able to call it in to the warehouse and get us the case.

    Perhaps someone was butthurt about not getting allocations of PtE and decided to raise a stick with the liquor board, thus forcing their hand.
     
  20. dirtylou

    dirtylou May 12, 2005 Washington
    Beer Trader

    Yeah, I understand. I can assure you that any stale Pliny that was ever consumed in Washington was solely the fault of the consumer!

    I'm waiting for a resident economist to chime-in on this one...it's an interesting policy.
     
  21. Mattmc1973

    Mattmc1973 Jun 4, 2008 Michigan
    Beer Trader

    To me the bigger question is why they don't want to expand. Here in Michigan, you have so many breweries like Founders growing at an exponential rate, adding capacity all the time, and selling all they make. If RR could make 10x more beer, they'd sell it all. If they made 20x more, they'd sell it all. I'd like to be in the position of owning a business where my product was so sought after, that the amount I could sell is limited only by how much I can make. That gets back to the investors maybe, and raising the capital needed to expand. I guess it's their prerogative to say "we want to stay a small business". But making a product where people are saying "MORE! MORE!" isn't a bad problem to have.
     
    OneBeertoRTA likes this.
  22. kscaldef

    kscaldef Jun 11, 2010 Oregon
    Beer Trader

    You could ask that about any business. Maybe Vinnie wants to stay more hands-on than he could be with larger production. Maybe he wants to pay off loans and investors, rather than take on new ones. But, two points:

    1) Scaling up a brewery isn't as easy as you make it seem. When Deschutes upgraded to their current system, it took them a year to dial in Black Butte Porter to where they were happy it was the same as what the old system produced.

    2) RR does a much larger fraction of it's business in barrel-aged beers than Founders does. It's not clear they could just source 10 times as many barrels.
     
  23. BuckeyeOne

    BuckeyeOne Mar 9, 2008 Washington

    My understanding is that this happened on a regular basis but those calls went to Natalie and Vinnie as well as the liquor board.
     
  24. distantmantra

    distantmantra May 23, 2011 Washington
    Beer Trader

    That would be pretty funny if true. Imagine, some beer buyer for Wal-mart or Target trying to snag some RR.
     
  25. BuckeyeOne

    BuckeyeOne Mar 9, 2008 Washington

    The same WA state laws that prevent Russian River from deciding who gets PtE and/or PtY also prevent InBev and MillerCoors from monopolizing the market through forced allocations, etc. Sometimes we gotta take the bad with the good.
     
    tozerm, beertunes, Mages64 and 3 others like this.
  26. Lordkrystic

    Lordkrystic Jul 18, 2012 Washington

    If that is truly the law, none of the distributors follow it. I'm not positive of what it exactly reads but they allocate stuff all the time. Trust me...not everyone can just get a keg of Pliny, even if it's in stock and unspoken for, and that goes with a ton of stuff around here.
     
    beertunes and Smurf2055 like this.
  27. Mattmc1973

    Mattmc1973 Jun 4, 2008 Michigan
    Beer Trader

    Barrel beers aside, they could simply build another facility to solely make more Pliny. And speaking of Founders, here's their story of growth...5000 barrels in 2007 to being on pace to be able to produce over 300,000 barrels.

    http://www.mlive.com/business/west-michigan/index.ssf/2012/11/fourth_major_expansion_in_5_ye.html
     
  28. BuckeyeOne

    BuckeyeOne Mar 9, 2008 Washington

    I don't think the distributors are prevented from allocations but rather producers. I could be wrong, though.
     
  29. Lordkrystic

    Lordkrystic Jul 18, 2012 Washington

    This was the part of his post I was talking about:

    This recent change in Wa state is a by-product of the liquor industry trying to do the same thing with their products but on a much large scale, this has resulted in some legislative ruling's stating that a " Distributor" MUST sell any and all items ordered from them and they do not have the power or right to determine "Allocations" or "Refuse" sale of any particular item that they carry and currently have in stock.
     
  30. distantmantra

    distantmantra May 23, 2011 Washington
    Beer Trader

    Just had a buddy snag me the very last Sanctification at Mill Creek Central Market. They've still got Supplication, Redemption and Damnation, like everywhere else...

    Oh yeah, the guy working the area said they put everything they've got in stock out on the floor, so they're not holding anything back.
     
  31. BuckeyeOne

    BuckeyeOne Mar 9, 2008 Washington

    RR might be chafing at the following WA state wine and beer distribution and supply law:

    RCW 19.126.050

    Suppliers' prohibited acts.
    No supplier may:

    (1) Coerce or induce, or attempt to induce or coerce, any wholesale distributor to engage in any illegal act or course of conduct;

    (2) Require a wholesale distributor to assent to any unreasonable requirement, condition, understanding, or term of an agreement which prohibits a wholesaler from selling the product of any other supplier or suppliers;

    (3) Require a wholesale distributor to accept delivery of any product or any other item or commodity which was not ordered by the wholesale distributor; or

    (4) Fail or refuse to enter into an agreement of distributorship with a wholesale distributor that handles the supplier's products.
     
  32. yojimbo1

    yojimbo1 Feb 26, 2012 Kansas

    I don't get it, why would RR require a distributor to agree to not sell the product of another company?
     
  33. BuckeyeOne

    BuckeyeOne Mar 9, 2008 Washington

    Sorry. I misread (2). Disregard.
     
  34. yojimbo1

    yojimbo1 Feb 26, 2012 Kansas

    No problem it's hard to follow. Maybe that is the section that kscaldef was talking about with respect to Inbev not being able to strong-arm distributors into not selling the smaller brewers products.
     
  35. BuckeyeOne

    BuckeyeOne Mar 9, 2008 Washington

    This might be more applicable than the previous RCW:

    WAC 314-20-100

    Beer suppliers and distributors.

    RCW 66.28.180 requires beer distributors and suppliers to maintain all current and prior price lists at its liquor licensed location.

    (1) Definitions--For the purposes of this chapter:

    (a) A "price list" means a declaration of the prices at which any and all brands of beer and any and all packages within a brand are to be sold by the person maintaining the list. Distributors must maintain a price list showing all such prices for sales to retailers. Each manufacturer functioning as a distributor must maintain a price list showing all such prices for sales to retailers as well as showing such prices for sales to distributors. The price list will contain the wholesale prices at which any and all brands of beer sold by the supplier or distributor shall be available to retailers within the state.

    (b) A "beer supplier" means a microbrewery, domestic brewery, certificate of approval holder, beer importer, beer distributor acting as the first United States importer, or a distributor selling beer to another distributor.

    (c) A "beer distributor" means a distributor selling to a retailer, a domestic brewery acting as a distributor, a microbrewery acting as a distributor, or a certificate of approval holder with a direct shipping to Washington retailer endorsement selling beer of its own production to a retailer.

    (2) Products and price lists -- If a beer supplier or distributor lists selected items on which prices are temporarily reduced, these prices must clearly reflect all items and the selling price. All products must be made available to all retail licensees to the extent it is reasonably practical to do so and all retail licensees must be given reasonable notice of all prices and price changes.

    (3) Distributor changes--

    (a) The following guidelines apply when a beer supplier makes a distributor change outside of the regular distributor appointment timelines. The supplier must notify the board in writing that he/she wishes to change his/her current distributor and appoint a new distributor to be effective immediately.

    (b) A beer supplier must notify the board if any of the contracts or agreements listed in this rule are revised or terminated by either party.

    (4) Price lists for new distributors--When the board issues a new beer distributor license, the licensee must have a price list available.

    (5) Accommodation sales -- The provisions of this rule do not apply when a beer distributor makes an accommodation sale to another beer distributor and this sale is made at a selling price that does not exceed the laid-in cost of the beer being sold. Accommodation sales may only be made when the distributor purchasing the beer is an appointed distributor of the supplier, when the distributor is an authorized purchaser of the brand and product being sold, and when the supplying distributor is appointed by the supplier.
     
    Mages64 likes this.
  36. BuckeyeOne

    BuckeyeOne Mar 9, 2008 Washington

    The legislature doesn't make "rulings." The court can rule on laws and the Attorney General can offer "opinions" but the legislature simply passes laws. Can you provide a citation or source for your info?
     
  37. yojimbo1

    yojimbo1 Feb 26, 2012 Kansas


    Thanks for putting that together; it seems like that's the one. I think as long as that law is on the books RR will not be coming back. There is too much demand in their current areas of distribution as well as too many other places that would like to have their beer. Its a shame.
     
  38. yojimbo1

    yojimbo1 Feb 26, 2012 Kansas

    The measure that BuckeyeOne included was clearly titled "Beer suppliers and distributors" and so wouldn't be applicable to hard liquor sales. Is there a separate measure that applies to hard liquor sales? Maybe the legislature was lazy and simply copied the verbiage. I must admit I'm not familiar with any of these laws, but I wouldn't be surprised if it was their eagerness to write laws without considering the consequences didn't bite us all in the ass. Does anyone know what the impetus for that particular section of the law was?
     
  39. Aml42000

    Aml42000 Jul 21, 2011 Washington

    All this means is that a distributor cannot "redline" an account. If they are falling back on this to get around RR's wishes, then everyone loses. Pliny doesn't show up in a book. Existing clients get their orders refilled. The problem is, others seemingly are selling more of the other units and complaining that they cannot get an allocation. The distributor can fall back on this vaguely worded law and RR decided it wasn't worth the trouble.

    Case in point, Total Wine could ask for the entire supply coming to Washington, and if read literally, the distributor would have to fill that order.
     
  40. yojimbo1

    yojimbo1 Feb 26, 2012 Kansas

    I would consider it impractical, as the law allows, for a distributor to fill any order for all of a given product where other orders for said product exists. But I get your point, there would be a gray area somewhere in the middle.

    Is redlining an account a problem? Other states must allow this then, right, or perhaps they considered their words more carefully.
     
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