10) Is Pennsylvania a lock-in state where a brewery is unable to get out of a contract with a distributor if it wants to?
Yes, PA is a franchise state and it has been joked about that it is easier to get out of a marriage with your gonads in tact and 100% of your money than it is to get out of a PA wholesaler contract. If a distributor is doing its best to market, sell, and expose your brands and you are still not happy, we don’t know what to tell you. Like we say to brewers all the time, monkeys can sell good beer. It takes real distributors to get it out there and pound the pavement. We don’t do a song and pony show for any brewers. We show them who we are as people and if we share the same ideology when it comes to craft beer, then we believe we can go far with their brand. The first thing we let potential brewers know about PA is that it is a franchise state, and we encourage anyone wanting to distribute their wares in PA do their homework.
11) In general, do you think that a brewery should be allowed to self-distribute if it wants to?
We think in-state breweries that have corporate offices in the state should have the right to self distribute if they so choose. We also think that if they want to be a wholesaler for other brands in the state of PA, which none do presently, they should have a separate facility away from their brewery. Simply owning a brewery in PA should not be a “cover” for just trying to be a wholesaler. If you want to be a wholesaler, you should be subjected to the same requirements as other wholesalers in the state of PA.
12) What can the locals look for in the market over the next month?
Sixpoint Cans! Believe it or not, Pumpkin Ales! Williamsburg Ale Werks Pumpkin is unbelievably good! We found the ultimate 7-7-7 of the slot machine in craft beer, Pumpkin Ale (HOT!) and Cans (EVEN HOTTER) with Wild Onion out of the Chicago area. We have ordered over 1,000 cases of it which is somewhat of a new up-and-comer in the region with very little name recognition. It is a gamble we believe will pay dividends. Summer beers are already all out so as goes the magazine publishing business, so does the craft beer seasonal business. We equate it with reading the May issue in January.