What Sam said this very day.

In today’s Craft Business Daily, none other than Brewers Association Chairman Sam Calagione came out in support of the much maligned three-tier distribution system:

Panel member Sam Calagione defined the birth of craft slightly differently – with the legalization of home brewing, and those guys turning pro. But Sam did say that the alternatives to 3-tier could effectively kill craft. “I feel it’s really important for the small brewery to have access to market. Oftentimes that means self-distribution. But that model is difficult to take around the country… it’s a starting point. But look at the pressures if there was no 3-tier; look at that Costco scenario. Frankly if that model took effect, I really think it would be game over for craft. ” For example, “Walmart had a similar situation, where you just have one player delivering beer with 1% margin on top it, and retailers selling it for 1% margin on top of that, until it obliterated all competition.”

THE CRAFT ACCESS TO MARKET CONUNDRUM. Sam’s big concern, as with many craft brewers, in a nutshell: “99% of Dogfish Head beer sold from coast to coast in 26 states goes through independent distributors. At Dogfish, we believe state laws should support independent distribution, and that [they are] not smothered by undue influence or ownership or control by the largest brewers, so we can ensure access to market for all brewers.”

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