VAIL — Where does the beer in your local liquor store come from? Or, for that matter, the liquor and wine? Well, from the brewery — or distillery or winery, of course. But that 90 Minute IPA from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery in Milton, Del., wasn’t delivered to Alpine Wine & Spirits in West Vail by some surfers in a van from the East Coast. No, there’s a whole industry in between. Local author Laura Lodge knows that story and has published a book called “Distribution Insight for the Craft Brewer” to shed light on that very subject. There’s a twist, though, because Lodge’s book is aimed to educate the craft brewers themselves.
“Distribution Insight” is designed to assist craft brewery owners and managers considering expanding their sales outside of their brewpub or local community. The book provides a step-by-step process for researching distributors, interviewing distributors, and the critical components of a distribution contract.
“It’s an incredibly involved process, and there really aren’t resources available for either brewers or distributors about creating these relationships,” Lodge said.
Relationships are the key to all successful businesses, and “Distribution Insight” includes several chapters about developing relationships between a brewery and the distributors — and ultimately the retailer.
Released in February at the Rocky Mountain Microbrew Symposium, “Distribution Insight for the Craft Brewer” has already earned many compliments and appreciative feedback.
Jim Stinson, brewmaster at the Rockyard Brewing Co. in Castle Rock, said, “The conversational style of ‘Distribution Insight’ makes this book an easy read, in layman’s terms. Because it contains useful information for all aspects of distribution, I’ve given ‘Distribution Insight’ to my managers and brewery reps.”
Lodge learned about the craft beer and distribution industries working with her brother, Bill, previously the owner of High Point Brewing in Gypsum. Her commitment to Vail’s Big Beers, Belgians & Barleywines Festival has heightened her knowledge and involvement with the craft beer industry and created the opportunity to develop an extensive craft beer program at the Vail Cascade Resort. She also works with the Brewers Association, the nonprofit trade group representing America’s small and independent craft brewers, for such events as The Great American Beer Festival and SAVOR: An American Craft Beer & Food Experience.