Author Topic: Pay to Play - Pretty Things Rant!  (Read 1829 times)

Offline theDarkSide

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Pay to Play - Pretty Things Rant!
« on: October 14, 2014, 01:33:59 PM »
I generally don't post things from this particular site, but they consolidated all the tweets from Pretty Things Beer's rant about breweries paying for tap handle space or bars asking for money to list their taps.  Somehow it doesn't surprise me this happens in Massachusetts, but I wonder if it is a common practice elsewhere.

http://www.beeradvocate.com/community/threads/pretty-things-goes-to-town-on-pay-to-play-in-massachusetts.218980/
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Offline kramerog

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Re: Pay to Play - Pretty Things Rant!
« Reply #1 on: October 14, 2014, 02:17:13 PM »
I believe New Glarus said that buying lines was a reason why it did not enter the Illinois market.  Anyway I've not heard anything recently about buying lines.

Offline narvin

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Re: Pay to Play - Pretty Things Rant!
« Reply #2 on: October 14, 2014, 02:29:43 PM »
So the breweries are paying the bars directly, or through their distributors?  Seems to me that a good distributor would want to get their beers out there, so the brewery itself wouldn't need to do this.  Do they have a three-tier system in Massachusetts?
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Offline SiameseMoose

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Re: Pay to Play - Pretty Things Rant!
« Reply #3 on: October 14, 2014, 02:57:31 PM »
It's illegal here in Ohio, but it clearly happens. Not just in bars, but retail space as well. All those displays at the end of grocery aisles? Almost always paid for here. It's allegedly the reason Leinenkugel grew so fast in this state in such a short time after arriving.
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Offline 69franx

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Re: Pay to Play - Pretty Things Rant!
« Reply #4 on: October 14, 2014, 03:39:20 PM »
It's illegal here in Ohio, but it clearly happens. Not just in bars, but retail space as well. All those displays at the end of grocery aisles? Almost always paid for here. It's allegedly the reason Leinenkugel grew so fast in this state in such a short time after arriving.
After 20 years of managing large scale chain restaurant locations in Ohio, I have to say I was never offered money for lines. If anything it was almost always the distributor trying to come up with clever ways to entice us to stock "The new Hot Item." The closest I would say it ever came to paying for lines was a local visit back in the early 90's from a rep from a rather large, famous, Irish brewery. They came to town with a logo'd van, complete with their "new" nitro taps that would make their brew flow and pour beautifully. A couple pints here and there, was all they offered, but it was a huge show of pushing for a change to our then current process(no nitro) and draft line up.
At other times, distributors come in with: sports tix, pint glasses, POS materials, logo'd barware: shakers, drying racks, etc, but never straight up cash. I guess I never thought about what it did to the competition, but luckily for most of my career, I was with a huge national chain that told me what I had to carry. I am sure that someone well above my pay grade was getting those payoffs on a national level though. Otherwise, I'm sure that we would not have carried such a crappy selection at times.
The great thing about living in Cincinnati area now is that almost anywhere I go, the draft focus is on "Drink Local Beer" and I love it. So many great breweries here and I would hate to think of them getting squeezed out of any market by some of (or mainly one) the older "Craft Breweries" in Ohio for tap space.
Again: "Drink Local Beer" live it, and love it!
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Offline pete b

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Re: Pay to Play - Pretty Things Rant!
« Reply #5 on: October 14, 2014, 04:11:52 PM »
I've worked in a few smaller restaurants in Mass and medium sized local breweries would get dedicated lines in exchange for maintaining and cleaning the tap system. The distributors are powerful here and likely play a role in these pay to play schemes that seem to happen at high volume places. Like many states we have a byzantine set of alcohol laws which benefit a few big players while not making sense in terms of fairness,  public safety, and economics.
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Offline Stevie

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Re: Pay to Play - Pretty Things Rant!
« Reply #6 on: October 14, 2014, 06:47:32 PM »
Starting to get picked-up by online media.


http://www.esquire.com/blogs/food-for-men/beer-bribery

Offline narvin

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Re: Pay to Play - Pretty Things Rant!
« Reply #7 on: October 14, 2014, 09:07:09 PM »
Angry response from "The Lower Depths" bar:

https://app.box.com/s/f7pk06ins2dpbg4zdlkl
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Offline 69franx

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Re: Pay to Play - Pretty Things Rant!
« Reply #8 on: October 14, 2014, 10:42:29 PM »
Think he struck a nerve, Narvin
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Offline BrewingRover

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Re: Pay to Play - Pretty Things Rant!
« Reply #9 on: October 15, 2014, 02:19:35 AM »
I believe New Glarus said that buying lines was a reason why it did not enter the Illinois market.  Anyway I've not heard anything recently about buying lines.
They were actually in Illinois for awhile, and gave up because of #$%* like this. This is a very good article on the mess here
http://www.chicagobusiness.com/article/20101120/ISSUE01/311209986/pay-to-play-infects-chicago-beer-market-crains-investigation-finds

If that's paywalled, Google "Pay-to-play infects Chicago beer market, Crain's investigation finds", and you should be able to read it.
It's such a fine line between stupid and clever.

Offline Stevie

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Re: Pay to Play - Pretty Things Rant!
« Reply #10 on: October 15, 2014, 03:13:58 AM »
How much cash are we talking about? I know distributors will take care of cleaning lines, give neons and other swag. Is this part of the issue?

Offline kramerog

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Re: Pay to Play - Pretty Things Rant!
« Reply #11 on: October 15, 2014, 05:04:11 PM »
How much cash are we talking about? I know distributors will take care of cleaning lines, give neons and other swag. Is this part of the issue?

Cleaning lines, neons and swag depending on value is illegal in some states having a 3 tier system.  I'm fairly sure that some of these prohibitions are not pro-competitive, not that I'm an economist.

Offline pete b

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Re: Pay to Play - Pretty Things Rant!
« Reply #12 on: October 15, 2014, 05:26:54 PM »
How much cash are we talking about? I know distributors will take care of cleaning lines, give neons and other swag. Is this part of the issue?
Somewhere in the original rant I believe $10k was mentioned.
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Offline pete b

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Re: Pay to Play - Pretty Things Rant!
« Reply #13 on: October 15, 2014, 06:23:06 PM »
If the allegations made by the Pretty Things owner turn out to be true I'll have to drink more Jack d'or to protest the injustice. I swear to god I'll do it!!
Don't let the bastards cheer you up.

Offline SiameseMoose

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Re: Pay to Play - Pretty Things Rant!
« Reply #14 on: October 16, 2014, 03:28:28 PM »
After 20 years of managing large scale chain restaurant locations in Ohio, I have to say I was never offered money for lines.
...

The great thing about living in Cincinnati area now is that almost anywhere I go, the draft focus is on "Drink Local Beer" and I love it. So many great breweries here and I would hate to think of them getting squeezed out of any market by some of (or mainly one) the older "Craft Breweries" in Ohio for tap space.
Again: "Drink Local Beer" live it, and love it!

I can't speak too much to bars - the cases I know about are primarily grocery and convenience stores. It's widely believed Yuengeling "bought" Kroger and Meijer to get into this state. The other one that I know is widespread is festivals - the church and organization type, not beer festivals. I was involved on the fringes of one case where a start-up brewery was asked to brew a private label batch, and then at the last minute told they had to be an "event sponsor" to the tune of $2500 to be allowed in. Fortunately they were able to sell the beer elsewhere. or a 6 month old brewery would have eaten a day's production.

Cincinnati beer has grown tremendously recently. I'm aware of five more opening in 2015, and at least another five in the planning stages. It's a nice time to be into beer!
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