(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:
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.