View Full Version : brokers vs distributors

04-19-2011, 03:43 PM
Recently we've been getting calls from brokers in Georgia, and I'm curious how they fit into the 3 tier system. I'm not really sure what their purpose is, and I haven't heard from a single one in Tennessee, which is where we currently produce and sell. Any advice or insight would be appreciated.


Jonathan Clark
Chattanooga Brewing Co.

04-19-2011, 03:51 PM
I think by law a brand has to be represented by a broker in Georgia. Call Terrapin or Sweetwater, I'm sure they can tell you.

04-20-2011, 05:55 AM
We work directly with our Georgia distributor and although we do have a Brewery Rep there it was not legally mandated. There are a couple of state wide distributors that you could work with or string a series of more local guys.

04-21-2011, 12:20 PM
I've read up on GA code, I can't find anything requiring a broker, but I'm going to call Sweetwater or Terrapin as suggested. Thanks again!

04-25-2011, 12:09 PM
You are right Chattabrew. You do not need a broker to distribute in Georgia. A broker can act as a brewery's representative in an area where you don't have a physical presence. You do have to have a distributor though in Georgia in order to have your beer available for sale.

The distributor is responsible for getting your beer into the State and then on to the retailer. A broker acts as your sales representative.

The upside to a good broker ... it can be considered a force multiplier. You can have someone besides the distributor telling your story in a new marketplace.

The downside is that they are typically paid on a case sales percentage (i.e., your margin) and usually represent a large number of breweries.

I've worked with good brokers who actually earn their "dollar a case" and I've worked with others that just siphon off needed revenue from the brewery without really making a difference in the marketplace.

If you want to go into a new marketplace and want to get the bead on the need for a broker, talk to the best retailers in the market and ask how many times brokers have executed a great event. Partner up with a great distributor in each market. They work with a lot of brokers and can give you more insights about the actual market itself.