Flying Dog pulls distribution from thirteen states


(Frederick, MD) – …at least for the time being.

Update I: A sixth state?

Update II: Beer Advocate reports that Flying Dog has notified an additional seven states that they are halting distribution there. The total is now at thirteen.

Here’s the new list:

New Mexico

Original Article:

Flying Dog Brewery General Partner and CEO, Jim Caruso, confirmed today that the company is halting distribution in five states: Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, Arkansas and Louisiana. Caruso said that they will re-consider those markets this coming fall.

In a letter to distribution partners, Caruso writes:

As local demand for Flying Dog beers continues to soar, we are concentrating our distribution in our home markets and Flying Dog beers will not be available in your territory for some unknown period of time.

This is no doubt disappointing news, but it is a necessary decision and consistent with the new age of craft beer and the focus on local markets.

Author and beer industry expert, Andy Crouch, sums it up very well in a recent [Beer Advocate] article titled, “The Good Old Days of Craft Beer.” According to Andy, “consumers should appreciate losing a few brands. Dedication to local markets will define the next generation of craft beer, resulting in lower shipping costs, fresher beer, more direct attention from breweries and their staff, and deeper, stronger distributor relationships. So while disappointment is understandable, craft beer will be better for it.”

I cannot thank you enough for your support over the years and all of us at Flying Dog wish you continued success in your local market.

Flying Dog is among the fastest growing regional breweries in the country. Having grown 40% to nearly 70,000 barrels produced in 2010, due in large part to the launch of its controversial Raging Bitch, the brewery is struggling to meet high demand in some of its markets.

Flying Dog isn’t alone in having to re-evaluate its distribution. Dogfish Head, Avery Brewing, Great Divide and others have contracted the number of markets that they serve in recent months. With distribution in 45 states and 20 countries prior to this contraction, the move seemed inevitable.

That said, there are states farther west than these five that are still being served so it isn’t all about meeting the demand of local markets.

Glazer’s Distributing handles the company’s portfolio in some (if not all?) of the markets listed here.

With Missouri being the new hotbed of activity for regional (and micro) craft breweries, the pendulum is due to swing the other way and knock out a few breweries. The “Show Me State” is becoming an increasingly competitive battleground in which to compete with new 2011 entrants like Deschutes, Stone, Firestone Walker and Green Flash. One retailer noted that Flying Dog has been one of their slowest movers.

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11 thoughts on “Flying Dog pulls distribution from thirteen states

  1. So in other words” Our beer is not selling so we have to pull back in the markets that dont buy our swill.

  2. Errr, no, Hole, that’s not even remotely accurate. They grew by 40% last year. How on EARTH you read that as “our beer is not selling” I have no idea. They’re clearly doing GREAT.

    Brewers like Dogfish Head and Great Divide have made similar moves for similar reasons. It would be equally stupid to suggest it’s because they’re not selling well when both are also seeing double-digit growth.

    You’re being ridiculous.

  3. It seems like a pretty logical move to me. I’m sure the states mentioned are there slowest movers, or at least get the worst return. That is a no brainer. Even if they’re making $1,000 profit on every case of beer they sell in Iowa, if they’re making $1,001 in California, and they can’t make everyone happy, they’re going to cut Iowa and go to California.

  4. Forgive me if what I’m about to say sounds superficial, but I have passed over trying Flying Dog because the artwork on the labels strikes me as being chaotic and almost violent. It reminds me of the graffiti you would see at a crime scene and that turns me off. Perhaps I shouldn’t pick a book by its cover so to speak, but when the label makes the first impression and I have hundreds of other more attractive choices I pass Flying Dog up. I reach for something with attractive or clever artwork, not something that looks schizophrenic. Just my opinion.

  5. MimiG, The artwork for Flying Dog is done by Ralph Steadman! He was a very dear friend of Hunter S. Thompson who was a close friend of George Stranahan who is the founder of Flying Dog! Ralph did alot of artwork for Hunter including one of his most mainstream movies Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas! You may have heard of it! Ralph Steadman is well known for his artwork! Though it may be crude to some, it is seen as pure genius to others! I hope that clears some things up for you! BTW they are actually a very good brewery! you should give them a try!

  6. I interviewed at Flying dog about a year ago and this has been coming for a while. WIth flying dog moving it’s headquarters they also moved thier target market. Until recently Washington DC and more so the State of Maryland had no local breweries. Flying Dog has been attempting to capture that market very agressivley and their pull out of these markets is in reaction to that.

    Craft beer is going local whether people like it or not. It’s all about connecting with the comsumer and how can you when you are 15 states away.

  7. Pingback: NPR: Flying Dog beers available in at least 20 countries |

  8. Pingback: Flying Dog pulls back Raging Bitch distribution due to hop shortage | BeerPulse

  9. Please come back to Missouri. I really miss Snake Dog IPA and I can not find any place online that will ship your beers to Missouri.

  10. I cannot get it here in Albany NY unless I go to one or two bars that carry Flying dog! I like the Pearl Necklace Oyster Stout, and quite a few of my friends here do too, but we cannot find a market here that sells it, So we can have it home…The Flying Dog Artwork is great also BTW…

  11. There are a number of online shippers now that carry Flying Dog. Craft Beer Kings, Best Damn Beer Shop, CraftShack, Inside the Cellar & others….

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