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View Full Version : Ale House to Bottle Shop?



ImperialPint
08-11-2014, 01:39 PM
So are business model is changing at the Ale House in which I run for a local brewery in the SE corner of WA. We're becoming a bottle shop/ale house. With 7 rotating taps of craft beer from Nano's and Micros, on top of the 10 taps we already offer.. Are plan is to at first add ~50 bottles of craft beer to able to be consumed on the premises and/or take home. Unfortunately the distributors that I have met aren't willing to work with us. As a former employee for a distribution company, I know that they try to make the most out of the least amount of work.

Unfortunately I have't had much finding help in our area for this, so I come to you guys for some advice.

Is it possible in Washington to buy whole-sale kegs if we personally went to breweries. Our biggest hurdle is actually bringing in more GOOD beer into the community and expanding the horizon. We already have influence and the capacity for such a business exists within the area.

Any hurdles we need to look at, at getting beer from Oregon as well?

Thanks Guys in advance!
J

Bainbridge
08-11-2014, 01:54 PM
If you have a valid reseller's permit you can totally buy wholesale kegs straight from breweries in WA. Breweries that self distribute will be happy to sell a keg they don't have to deliver themselves! But breweries with distributors may have exclusivity problems, depending on the particulars of their contracts. The problem will be that most of us historically are waaaay over here, and you're waaaay over there. :) But Eastern WA is exploding with breweries now, so there are a lot more in the area. So you'll want to develop relationships and then make a run to pickup kegs and deliver empties every couple weeks, because nobody wants to send a keg off into la-la-land for an indeterminate and potentially lengthy period of time in a market that isn't really their focus. Of course, those are the beers people really want to try...

Oregon will be it's own kettle of fish since your reseller's permit isn't good in there. You might be able to swing a distributor's permit and import things, or form a shell LLC and import the kegs under it then sell them to your bar. Can't remember the particulars on that point. Might be more trouble than its worth. Maybe figure out what the distro's minimums are and see if you can swing it?

Out here in the west of the sound where the distances grow and the distributors are fewer there are certain bars that act as 'waypoints', where other places will arrange to have their beers delivered to and then come pick them up in, say, a two hour round trip instead of five or more. Maybe work something like that? (And I am in no way commenting on the overall legality of that practice.)

gbrewing
08-12-2014, 08:34 AM
Are you classified as a brewpub? Just buy direct from local breweries. They can sell direct to you. I think you will find most local craft breweries in your area are not on contract with distributors anyway and would be happy to work with you. If you are classified as a brewery for that building, you can only have 25 percent of other taps compared to your own taps. Brewpub or tavern gives you more options.

ImperialPint
08-12-2014, 12:14 PM
Are you classified as a brewpub? Just buy direct from local breweries. They can sell direct to you. I think you will find most local craft breweries in your area are not on contract with distributors anyway and would be happy to work with you. If you are classified as a brewery for that building, you can only have 25 percent of other taps compared to your own taps. Brewpub or tavern gives you more options.

We have all the licensing (I cannot for the life of me remember the actual details, but we are not classified as a brewery). But yes, from what it sounds I will be contacting several breweries within the immediate area. We're trying to work through hoops to get beer from Oregon now. Luckily the guy from Odom (not the Original guy we met with) is totally willing to work with us, instead of just saying "oh we don't have that" like another gentlemen from, another distributor. Luckily we can reach Great Artisan Beverage through Odom, which can significantly increase our need of excellent beer.

And thanks for the help Bainbridge that was pretty much exactly the information I was looking for. We should have it figured out in a few days.

Cheers.