Why Breweries Should Self-Distribute

Why Breweries Should Self-Distribute
Run these bottles yourself.


For craft breweries, the decision to start the distribution of your beer can be a make-or-break moment for your business. While it might be easier to use an established distributor at first, many benefits come from creating your own network. Here are a few of the reasons why breweries should self-distribute.

Cut Out the Middleman

While there are some benefits to using a distributor, the biggest benefit of self-distribution is actually not being forced to use one. Distributors can charge a high delivery price (as high as 30 percent in some cases). Directly negotiating with retailers can be draining on your resources, but it’s all worth it when you start seeing black on the balance sheets.

Better Product Control

Another benefit is the control that you have over your inventory. With distributors, everything must be done on their schedule. It’s not inconceivable for your beer to be sitting in a warehouse while the distributor waits for more inventory to make the shipment financially viable. But with self-distribution, you control when your beer goes out to your clients. You can also rest easy knowing that your beer isn’t being left to skunk in a warehouse in the middle of nowhere. Creating and running a cold supply chain will keep your brew cold all the way to your customers.



Securing Shelf Space

Another reason why breweries should self-distribute is a matter of shelf space. Just like in real estate, it’s all about location when it comes to your beer’s spot on the store shelf. A beer distributor doesn’t always have time or may not have a reason to prioritize your product. It’s also possible that they are being paid a premium by another brewery to prioritize its products. Directly negotiating where you want your beer in stores could really boost your profits.

Laws and Regulations

While many benefits can come with self-distribution, you should also be aware of your area’s laws. There are even some states where you must go through a distributor. Knowing the local regulations on craft brewing can save you a lot of headaches down the road.

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