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General Category => General Homebrew Discussion => Topic started by: dean on May 29, 2010, 03:15:09 PM

Title: Bell's Brewery and the Three Tier Distribution Law?
Post by: dean on May 29, 2010, 03:15:09 PM
Anybody read this? 

http://www.2beerguys.com/blog/2009/05/06/beer_law_bells_brewery/

Title: Re: Bell's Brewery and the Three Tier Distribution Law?
Post by: sienabrewer on June 01, 2010, 05:29:21 PM
I hope they win.  The three tier system is something that needs to come tumbling down. 
Title: Re: Bell's Brewery and the Three Tier Distribution Law?
Post by: dean on June 01, 2010, 06:26:55 PM
I'm not a lawyer but if the three tier system wasn't supported by the government, or somebody did it on another product wouldn't it be considered illegal?  I don't know... but everytime I hear or read about racketeering it reminds me of the distribution system, whether thats the correct term or not I don't know but what they do sure seems like something Al Capone did.   Maybe they only cared back then because they weren't collecting any tax off it though, no permit fees etc.   ::)  I think the Mafia still exists, they just have different spellings of it now... c-o-n-g-r-e-s-s, s-e-n-a-t-e, etc. etc.   ;)
Title: Re: Bell's Brewery and the Three Tier Distribution Law?
Post by: sienabrewer on June 01, 2010, 07:55:07 PM
I'm not a lawyer but if the three tier system wasn't supported by the government, or somebody did it on another product wouldn't it be considered illegal? 

Probably.  The reason it isn't considered so in the first place is because of this country's archaic and absurd view on alcohol.  I think it is laughable how the 3 tier was put in place to prevent monopoly, but instead has created once of the biggest, legal monopolies.  With the amount of red tape and fees a brewery has to pay to even get going, they should be allowed to sell to whoever they want directly.  It would increase competition by allowing for greater access.  There is frankly no legitimate reason why this system still needs to be in place. 
Title: Re: Bell's Brewery and the Three Tier Distribution Law?
Post by: hopfenundmalz on June 01, 2010, 09:39:39 PM
Is that still on going, or has it been settled?  The story linked is over a year old. 

Anyone know what happened?  Kent Beverage Company is now listed as the distributor for Eaton County (Lansing).
Title: Re: Bell's Brewery and the Three Tier Distribution Law?
Post by: a10t2 on June 02, 2010, 05:16:16 AM
I hope they win.  The three tier system is something that needs to come tumbling down.

Only 12 states left that don't allow some form of self-distribution.
Title: Re: Bell's Brewery and the Three Tier Distribution Law?
Post by: sienabrewer on June 02, 2010, 02:28:45 PM
I hope they win.  The three tier system is something that needs to come tumbling down.

Only 12 states left that don't allow some form of self-distribution.

It's not that simply though.  What I mean is that a brewery should be allowed to brew their beer, put it in their truck, and sell it to whomever they want (stores, grocery, bars, etc).  And I don't mean distribute through some other subsidiary they have to set up and wholly own, or creating their own "distribution company" to sell their beer like Brooklyn did.  Just like a baker makes the bread, puts it in the truck, and delivers it.  The same should apply to breweries.
Title: Re: Bell's Brewery and the Three Tier Distribution Law?
Post by: dbeechum on June 02, 2010, 06:14:24 PM
Given the screaming mimi fits that the distributors put up whenever states put in limited self-distribution, I can't see that happening. Plus even here in Cali where if I'm reading the BA site  on self-distribution (http://www.brewersassociation.org/pages/government-affairs/self-distribution-laws) correctly, many breweries at some growth point throw in the self-distribution towel to focus solely on the brewing
Title: Re: Bell's Brewery and the Three Tier Distribution Law?
Post by: sienabrewer on June 02, 2010, 06:58:08 PM
many breweries at some growth point throw in the self-distribution towel to focus solely on the brewing

Which means there will still be a market and need for these distributor jackasses.  If they are not going to entertain the idea of taking on a small label than that small label should be able to go out and compete on its own right.  Then if a distributor decides it may want to take the label after seeing the success they would have to play by the brewery's terms, not their own.  At least that is how I hope it would go.
Title: Re: Bell's Brewery and the Three Tier Distribution Law?
Post by: dbeechum on June 02, 2010, 07:02:27 PM
I agree that the whole "lock-in" process that some states enforce against a beer is a crime.
Title: Re: Bell's Brewery and the Three Tier Distribution Law?
Post by: BrewingRover on June 03, 2010, 07:30:03 PM
Here's an interesting blog post by a distributor on the proliferation of brands. I think he's full of it, but there is some food for thought there. Greg Koch of Stone weighs in in the comments
Title: Re: Bell's Brewery and the Three Tier Distribution Law?
Post by: bonjour on June 03, 2010, 08:41:05 PM
Here's an interesting blog post by a distributor on the proliferation of brands. I think he's full of it, but there is some food for thought there. Greg Koch of Stone weighs in in the comments
and it is where?
Title: Re: Bell's Brewery and the Three Tier Distribution Law?
Post by: a10t2 on June 03, 2010, 08:47:58 PM
Only 12 states left that don't allow some form of self-distribution.
What I mean is that a brewery should be allowed to brew their beer, put it in their truck, and sell it to whomever they want (stores, grocery, bars, etc).

FWIW I agree completely. I was just pointing out that self-distribution is legal in 34 states (sorry, my memory was off). And in fact 26 states allow a brewery to do exactly what you describe, although there's generally a production cap of anywhere from 10,000 to 300,000 bbl/year. Drew posted a link to the BA page that links to the relevant legislation: http://www.brewersassociation.org/pages/government-affairs/self-distribution-laws (http://www.brewersassociation.org/pages/government-affairs/self-distribution-laws)
Title: Re: Bell's Brewery and the Three Tier Distribution Law?
Post by: dean on June 03, 2010, 10:48:37 PM
Wow... maybe the "distributorship" is too big to let fail, so they protect them from it.     ::)
Title: Re: Bell's Brewery and the Three Tier Distribution Law?
Post by: BrewingRover on June 03, 2010, 10:52:41 PM
Here's an interesting blog post by a distributor on the proliferation of brands. I think he's full of it, but there is some food for thought there. Greg Koch of Stone weighs in in the comments
and it is where?
Ah, crap, forgot the link :-X
http://worldclassbeverages.wordpress.com/2010/03/10/less-is-more-are-there-too-many-beers/
Title: Re: Bell's Brewery and the Three Tier Distribution Law?
Post by: dean on June 04, 2010, 02:24:31 PM
Thank you for posting the link, BrewingRover.  That is some article!  It actually changed some of my perception regarding the three tier distributor system.  

In the past I've tried Stone Ruination and I didn't like it, the article made me think on it.  Freshness is key with most beers or proper aging by style.  The Ruination that I tried was probably past its best by date for freshness.  If the beer had been made on this side of the country it probably would have been fresher.  When I was in CA I couldn't get enough of the west coast beers, they were great!  Now that I'm back on the east side I tend to drink brands that are made closer to home... ie. Founders and Bells.  Ask Blatz and he'll tell you that east coast IPA's are lacking compared to west coast brands.  He's probably right, the west coast brands are fresher getting to the shelves in his area!

I think we need more distributors and or hubs.  I also think some of the west coast breweries such as Stone etc. should consider opening a brewery in the east and vice-versa.  I know that Sierra Nevada beers do not have the same freshness as those I bought in OH and where I bought it is only ~6 hours drive from where I now live.  I hardly buy SN now because it doesn't taste the same to me.  Something changed and the only reasonable assumption is how quickly it gets from the brewery to the shelves in my area.   :( 

Added this, I bought SN Torpedo IPA while I lived in OH and I didn't like it either.  I think the IPA's especially need to be fresh or they degradate and become lacking except becoming bitter tasting only.

Title: Re: Bell's Brewery and the Three Tier Distribution Law?
Post by: a10t2 on June 04, 2010, 02:31:41 PM
World Class is our craft beer distributor (well, subsidiary of a larger BMC distributor). They're really great guys to work with, and they love beer.