Monday, March 2, 2009

That Cingular commercial really gets me pissed off!

You've probably seen it. If not... here it is.

This commercial angers me (probably more than the whale angers Tro-jon, but that's another story).

Here's the dialog.

"You sure can brew it," says the sales guy.

"Question is, can you sell it?" counters the brewmaster.

This commercial sums up pretty much everything I hate about the way beer is distributed in America, and beer laws. When I see that commercial, all I can think of is the 3-tier system. That archaic system, originally put in place to prevent breweries from having too much power, has instead put too much power in the hands of the distributors. Mostly, it's taken the power away from consumers.

How many states now will not allow beer sales on Sunday? Why do they do that? Mostly because modern politicians are too afraid of the religious community to make that change.

Georgia politicians are too afraid to even vote (thanks to Monday Night Brewery for link)

The stupid laws about the three tier system, are what kept Bells out of Illinois for several years. Well, Bells is now back in Illinois. It made it into Chicago about a year ago, and just now it's making it's way downstate. Why did it take so long to get here? It's not like the trip is that bad (well, unless you are coming from Chicago, because they really hated to have to come down here when the Bears played here). No, the problem getting here was once again the distributor (my opinion).

I've heard from a couple of bar managers now "Fuck, Bells". I've wondered, why the hostility towards them? These managers told me that they were told that the only way that they would be able to get some of the more interesting (better) Bells beers, like Hopslam, Expedition, Double Cream... would be that they would have to have Amber on tap... permanently.

In Champaign-Urbana, having a beer like Bells Amber on tap... permanently makes no sense. There are bars that have outstanding beer selections here, but tap space in this town is at a premium. Blind Pig and Radio Maria are 2 of the only ones that have 20 or more taps. Everyplace else is significantly less, between 8-10. Forcing Amber into a bar, so that maybe they can get a 5 gallon of Hopslam once a quarter, is just plain mean and wrong for consumers.

Ok, so far, I'm angry at distributors; I'm angry at religious people who think that selling beer on Sunday will somehow tarnish their day of worship. I'm mad at politicians who won't even vote for fear of a religious uprising.

FYI, Georgia, you lost whatever taxes there are on my most recent purchase of beer; which wound up being about $330. So, whatever taxes there are on that amount went to North Carolina, instead of to you. Additionally, you lost tax revenue from the breweries because I couldn't buy their beers on premise.

I've never bought beer in Alabama, and I doubt I will.

Tennessee, you lost money from me too. Because your stupid state doesn't allow beer and liquor to be sold in the same store, well, unless the beer is above a certain ABV, but then, most of your liquor stores don't carry beer because people don't go there to get beer.

Indiana has lost money from me too, due to no sales on Sunday.

Back to the commercial...

It was on TV on Friday night (I think). Kridz and I were sitting there, and I started laughing at myself. As I was watching it, I wondered how many people see that commercial and think about the three-tier system. I wonder what Cigar City Brewing thinks about that commercial?

Let's look more at the commercial. The distributor makes sales in Boston, and Dallas? Where is this brewery located that would make sales with that kind of distribution? Where did they get copper a copper brew house?

I guess that's enough ranting about that commercial.

Wait, one more; who would get into a full blown brewing operation without having existing sales? Did they just brew and brew and brew and then have stuff sitting around? No wonder there's banks collapsing. If they are giving money to upstart breweries that have no customers... what if that guy couldn't sell?

Ok, now that's enough ranting.


Michael said...

Whew! You're getting me fired up and in a svitz. Simmer down and have a cold beer...not from one of them states you mentioned...I recall a day, years ago, my buddy and I ambled into our favorite bar, the sun still high overhead. I ordered up a beer and the lady sez, "No alcohol sales today." I said, "what is it, Sunday?" "No, it's election day and the polls are still open," she replied. I'd forgotten about that rule. Apart from that and the no beer before 10 am on Sunday, we've actually got it pretty good here in Arizona. I have to confess I've not given much thought to the commercial about which you've written so eloquently but I do think it really, really oversimplifies the process that's for sure. I'll bet all the brewers who started out small think it's a load of crap, too. Nice post. (Is it about time I had another beer for Smarta@@ or is he back off the wagon?)

Chipper Dave said...

Liquor laws are still so F'ed up these days. Just last year Colorado finally allowed liquor stores to be open on Sundays. Now they want to give grocery and convenience stores the right to sell full strength beer. At first you think that's ok until you realize that big chain stores would probably ignore locally made brews and stock primarily just the macro stuff. Would put many liquor stores out of business who DO sell all of the good craft beer.

It's hard to believe that several states still ban homebrewing in this day and age.

vgrid said...

@ Michael.

Skot (meat) once took the day off work to go to indianapolis for beer. when he got there (100 miles) he was told he couldn't get any beer until the polls closed.

The bad part was it was a "special" election for a vacant US house of reps seat.

Indiana had 18% voter turn out that day. It's a good thing no one could buy alcohol other wise it may have only been 9% or so.

Smart@ss is still not able to drink. I'm trying to talk him into going to Dark Lord Day, and he can get some great beer for when he has Doctors permission to drink again. He texted me for about an hour on saturday as he was walking around a liquor store, fantasizing about drinking a beer.

@ chipper.

I think our grocery stores have the ability to sell whatever beer they like. They don't. So there's still a need for liquor/beer stores that have a bigger/better selection.