New Relief for Distribution Headaches?
POSTED BY Kerby Meyers ON Thu, 05/04/2017 - 15:49

Over the last couple of months, two companies—a startup and the biggest name in online retail—have introduced new approaches to distributing craft beer.

The startup, Liberation Distribution, started offering restaurants, bars and retailers in California and New York the ability to order beer, wine and spirits from producers based anywhere, as long as they’re entered in the system ( The company says that its system increases control for brewers and other producers while expanding the potential distribution footprint, improving margins and cost effectiveness and streamlining the necessary bookkeeping.

The brewer remains on the hook for delivering the product and all of the associated costs involved with that, although Liberation encourages producers to incorporate delivery costs into their wholesale pricing.

The online behemoth, Amazon, announced that its Alexa digital assistant will facilitate the delivery of beer, wine and spirits in Seattle, and beer and wine in two Ohio cities—Columbus and Cincinnati. Ostensibly, that means beer lovers won’t need to leave their sofa, recliner or any other cozy spot to order up their favorite beverage. They will, however, need to make sure a 21-year-old answers the door when the brew arrives.

The online retail giant already offered two-hour delivery of beer, wine and alcohol in Seattle, as well as Manhattan, Chicago, San Francisco, San Diego, Minneapolis and, most recently, Richmond, Va.

Nowadays, such developments automatically invoke the “disruption” tag, but are these truly game-changers in the distribution space? Do these new avenues really have the potential to overtake traditional channels?

Turning to your brewery, as you wrangle with distribution questions, where have you seen success? Or been disappointed by approaches that seemed promising? Do these new possibilities excite you? What are you flat-out avoiding?