As you may already know, we’ll be expanding distribution into the incredibly lucky state of Connecticut near the end of September. The fair people of the Constitution State will soon be enjoying our sweet, hoppy nectar and dancing in the streets, rejoicing in their shared good fortune while poor, unfortunate beer geeks in Stone-deprived states will continue to languish in their cosmic misfortune, shaking their fists at the sky and wondering why the beer gods have forsaken them thusly. If you find yourself in the latter, ill-fated camp, let us explain how we choose new areas to distribute in so that you’re no longer doomed to a life of pleading for our beer over email, facebook and Twitter (yes, we hear you MO!), forever uninformed and feeling perpetually slighted. Believe it or not, it’s slightly more complicated than a coin toss or “eenie meenie miny moe” (slightly).
It all depends on three main factors. The first and foremost consideration is a no-brainer: Can we make enough beer? Usually the answer is no, because we’re busy trying to brew enough beer for our current areas of distribution. Sure, we’ve experienced ridiculously explosive growth since we opened our doors in 1996, but even with two new fermenters coming in and another building in the plans, we’re still hard-pressed to meet demand for our beer in our present territories. What can we say? We have thirsty fans…
The second consideration is that of demand. We have to ask ourselves if a new territory harbors sufficient demand for our beer, not only among fanatical beer geeks and hop-heads, but also retailers. Without considerable longing from both camps, expansion into a new territory is simply not wise. You see, we need steady turnover for our year-round fresh beers. Without that, our beers might sit waiting for the knowledgeable beer buyer just a little too long on the shelves.
The third and final variable is an acceptable distribution option. We need a wholesaler who 1) understands great beer, 2) is knowledgeable about how to sell great beer, 3) knows how to take care of great beer, 4) has the proper infrastructure to get it to all the great retailers in their region that would like to stock Stone.
Now for the question we always get: Do we ship directly to homes? No, we don’t—but dry up those tears and spare us the hate mail, because you have a few options. Below is a list of people who CAN ship you some Arrogance right to your doorstep:
- Hi Time Wine Cellar (800-331-3005)
- Liquid Solutions (503-496-1942)
- Bottle Trek (1-866-503-9049)
- Beer on the Wall (1-888-840-BEER)
- Arctic Liquor (877-817-9463)
- Holiday Wine Cellar (760-745-1200)
- South Bay Drug & Liquor (619-424-5164)
These places will usually send a decent selection of our beers to MOST states. Keep in mind that many states prohibit the shipping of beer from out of state, and as such, are typically not on the “eligibility list” for many of these shippers. State laws are complex and change frequently, so some may ship where others will not and vice versa.
The bottom line is, we’ll get to your state eventually. Maybe. As long as we’re able to meet the above parameters. Although we may not have immediate plans to invade your state, we have heard your cries for help. In the meantime, do your best to advocate craft beer. Supporting your local craft breweries, requesting better beer from retailers, and helping to convert others is the fastest way to get the choices you want. Until then…CHEERS!
- Matt Steele