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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Vote No on Both Liquor Initiatives

Posted by on Thu, Oct 21, 2010 at 11:44 AM

(This guest Slog post is by Heather McClung, an owner of Schooner Exact Brewing in Seattle and president of the Washington Brewers Guild. For more information, you can read the voters' guide statements on I-1100 and I-1105.)

Most of the debate around I-1100 and I-1105—the hard liquor initiatives—is all about the big boys: big box stores and big grocery stores vs. distributors vs. labor unions and “Big Beer.”

Well, I’m not a boy, and I’m not so big. I’m certainly not Big Beer. As the owner of Schooner Exact Brewing and the president of the Washington Brewers Guild, I’m considered a small craft brewer—10 barrels at a time from a brewery two miles south of the stadiums. We’re a growing operation, adding an employee a month. But Initiative I-1100 in particular could kill my business.

So my biggest concern about I-1100 and I-1105 isn’t about cuts to public services or the massive increase in hard liquor outlets. Granted, those are important issues, but for me, defeating these initiatives is about survival, of my business and hundreds more Washington craft breweries and wineries across the state.

The reason for my opposition isn’t getting nearly enough attention amid all the back and forth on TV, in direct mail and on the internet. What makes I-1100—which was written by right-wing blogger Stefan Sharkansky—such a problem is the way it summarily eviscerates 39 state laws that give us future big boys a level playing field against the current big boys.

A few examples of what that means: If 1100 passes, big producers would undercut us smaller producers by offering large volume discounts to restaurants and retailers. Big companies could buy space on grocery store shelves, pushing aside smaller Washington-based beer and wine labels. Big companies could give away product and essentially bribe bar owners with promotional enticements.

The idea that I-1100 “modernizes” state liquor laws is a crock. This is really a power grab by some very large corporations who want to use their considerable weight to monopolize liquor sales. And this isn’t about “competition.” I’m all for competition. The truth is 1100 kills competition.

I-1105 is marginally less bad compared to I-1100 for small brewers and the smaller wineries, but we are certainly concerned about I-1105’s provision that repeals all liquor taxes in Washington State.

The Stranger dismisses the impressively broad coalition of business, labor, faith, law enforcement and local government urging a No/No as: “…oppos(ing) these initiatives because they want to protect the profits of beer megacorporations.” Oh really? F that. I wake up every day with the burning desire to take profits away from those megacorps—most of which, BTW, aren’t so mega, and employ thousands of Washingtonians. I would never have joined forces with them to fight these stupid initiatives if I didn’t have a damn good reason.

The central point The Stranger seems to miss is this: You don’t get good public policy by passing bad public policy. Initiatives I-1100 and I-1105 are bad public policy. That’s why the vast majority of craft brewers—including me—will be voting No and No on I-1100 and I-1105.

 

Comments (42) RSS

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Amnt 1
I-1100 is admittedly a blunt instrument, but given the inaction of the legislature, there doesn't seem to be any other way to scrap the current state-run system, which I think needs to go. I don't doubt that larger companies will come out ahead (they always do) and that it will hurt some smaller producers, but I'd like to think that Washington consumers will still create demand for the other stuff. It's not like stores will only stock Coors and Bud if this passes.

I just put my ballot in the mail, voted yes on 1100, no on 1105. Why the hell isn't postage free on ballots? I have stamps sitting around, but it might prevent some people from voting just because it isn't as convenient as it could be.
Posted by Amnt on October 21, 2010 at 11:51 AM · Report this
TortoiseTurtle 2
This isn't about you. It sucks that this may hurt your business, but the law wasn't put in place to protect your profits. The existing laws are ridiculous. So if you want your business and other businesses like yours to be protected, find some better way to make that happen.
Posted by TortoiseTurtle http://slog.thestranger.com on October 21, 2010 at 11:53 AM · Report this
3
Why should everyone who buys from the "big boys" have to pay more for their beer so you don't have to compete with them? Why should the state prevent the "big boys" from competing on volume with you? Should we prevent competition in this way with video games? Movies? Phones? Bedsheets? What's special about your sector that the government should treat it specially?

You're a rent-seeker, and that's your right, but we shouldn't be convinced that you protecting your own interests is free. It has a cost: all beer brewers, you included, have less incentive to cut prices when competition is weaker.

Here's how things will hopefully work: QFC either won't stop selling your local brew because it has many fans and makes QFC money, or they will stop selling it and Safeway will stand up to take those profits instead.
Posted by John Jensen http://seattletransitblog.com on October 21, 2010 at 11:56 AM · Report this
4
I'm still trying to get my head around how 1100 "kills competition." WTF? Competition means state run stores with fixed prices, no profit motive, and no, well, competition?

How are volume discounts and pay-for-placement *not* competition? Does that mean we don't have competition for everything else that grocery stores sell? And how could a few large stores "monopolize liquor sales" more than what we have now?

This is some of the most Orwellian nonsense I've ever read. State run monopolies are competition! Letting producers, stores, and consumers interact in a marketplace kills competition! Up is down, freedom is slavery!
Posted by also on October 21, 2010 at 11:58 AM · Report this
6
Safe to say that anything that 'faith' and 'law-enforcement' are against I am for. Might be a good idea to omit that part about your 'broad coalition'.
Posted by Rhizome on October 21, 2010 at 12:13 PM · Report this
7
i'm voting yes on 1100, and i'm still gonna buy pints of king street brown. maybe you worry too much.
Posted by whiskeypony on October 21, 2010 at 12:18 PM · Report this
8
The argument that Heather McClung is advancing is absolute bullshit. Basically, she's suggesting that Washington State should continue manipulating the market and denying choice to consumers in order to save her poor business. You know what should save your poor business? Making a decent product. Fucked to suggest something akin to "we should stop selling bananas in our grocery stores so that apples farmers can get a bigger share of the market." Fuck that and fuck you for being a greedy, self-centered leotard.
Posted by Faber on October 21, 2010 at 12:20 PM · Report this
Dougsf 9
I've never been swayed by the placement of beer in the grocery store refrigerator. I'm not a child grabbing at the eye-level Fruit Loops, I'm an adult that scans the section for exactly what I'm looking for, or something that looks good. Sometimes it's right in front of me, sometime it's on the floor.

Thankfully where I live, i don't have to make a separate trip to a liquor store, I might not feel like going outta my twice in one evening.
Posted by Dougsf on October 21, 2010 at 12:30 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 10
There were thousands of people wearing the No on 1100/1105 stickers today at the Obama rallies.

Most of them were way under 30.
Posted by Will in Seattle http://www.facebook.com/WillSeattle on October 21, 2010 at 12:36 PM · Report this
11
Its weird to me that the progressive Stranger crowd gets behind Costco on this deal. Damn drunks.
Posted by tabski on October 21, 2010 at 12:44 PM · Report this
Njoy 12
I think you have a better platform with "the kids may get drunk" than "i am scared of competition". The latter makes you seem weak and insecure of the product you sell.
Posted by Njoy on October 21, 2010 at 1:19 PM · Report this
13
I assure you that here in California we are awash in small breweries and wineries. They don't all just dry up and vanish because the "big boys" buy up all the space-they don't. And the fact is it's in no bars best interest to be know as a place with NO local producers.

This argument is ultimately that consumers will suffer, but all of my experience living in San Francisco, is that consumers don't suffer from open liqueur laws. Here is SF we can go to Safeway to grab a bottle of big business Vodka for $20 if we want, we can also go to BevMo to find some small batch organic vodka made in Iowa for often comparable prices. We drink cheap big box beer and we go places like this >> http://www.yelp.com/biz/21st-amendment-b…, this >> http://www.yelp.com/biz/toronado-san-fra…, this >> http://www.yelp.com/search?find_desc=Mon…, this >> http://www.yelp.com/search?find_desc=Mon…, and this >> http://www.yelp.com/biz/healthy-spirits-… to find more cool hand-made, local, international, and creatively brewed beers than stupid SF hipster can shake a wii remote at.

Consumers won't suffer if you pass I-1100, and the small breweries won't suffer either. SF endorses I-1100. I want to visit Seattle soon. And I want to get drunk when I get there. Do it for me!
Posted by LukeJoe on October 21, 2010 at 1:34 PM · Report this
14
P.S. I apologize for linking you to Monk's Kettle twice, as no one should really go there once. It's at this establishment (http://www.yelp.com/search?find_desc=Cit…) where I fell in love with a dark porter brewed small batch in Berkeley, CA out of old Zin barrels! If you are in SF and you like beer, go to City Beer Store!
Posted by LukeJoe on October 21, 2010 at 1:38 PM · Report this
Njoy 16
@15, that is funny because isn't it Annheiser Busch that is throwing tons of money at the "No on I-1100" campaign? You'd think that if they stood to benefit from it they would be all for it.
Posted by Njoy on October 21, 2010 at 1:50 PM · Report this
Dougsf 17
@13 and 14 - Have you been to The Beer Store on Folsom? It's tiny, but its selection is amazing, small beers from all over the world. Also, I second your thoughts on Monk's Kettle, but recommend Trappist in Oakland if you haven't been.
Posted by Dougsf on October 21, 2010 at 1:53 PM · Report this
18
Yeah the Beer Store is, I assume, City Beer Store and Tasting Room, which is the subject of post 14, so yes I have been there and might go on my way home from work tonight. And yes, I've been to Trappist... but Oakland?! Really, that's like...hella far! ;-)
Posted by LukeJoe on October 21, 2010 at 2:03 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 19
I second the vote for Trappist.
Posted by Will in Seattle http://www.facebook.com/WillSeattle on October 21, 2010 at 2:23 PM · Report this
McGee 20
Once again I don't think anyone cares about what the booze costs, they care about being able to purchase it by traveling blocks instead of miles.
Posted by McGee on October 21, 2010 at 2:26 PM · Report this
22
Excellent article. I'm with you. I have a contract liquor store that I have built up over 25 years. Now my whole business can be jerked out from under me by the voting public who only want a little more convenience.
Posted by patf on October 21, 2010 at 2:41 PM · Report this
keshmeshi 23
It's already incredibly difficult to find good beer in grocery stores. What the difference will it make if 1100 passes? I still won't be able to find microbrews (and Fat Tire is not micro) at Safeway. Big. Fucking. Deal.
Posted by keshmeshi on October 21, 2010 at 2:49 PM · Report this
24
patf: You can keep selling liquor, you just have to compete. If you can't, too bad. It's called free enterprise. You've been saved by nanny-state protectionism far too long.
Posted by arthurofrhodes on October 21, 2010 at 3:01 PM · Report this
Quintus Slide 25
Wow. Every time I read an argument against 1100, it is about as weak -- and I mean, TRANSPARENTLY weak -- as this one.
Posted by Quintus Slide on October 21, 2010 at 3:02 PM · Report this
Dougsf 26
@18 - good parsing-what-I-meant skills. Didn't follow the Yelp link, but yes, I meant City Beer. We've called it city beer at my house for whatever reason since it opened.

As for Oakland, I hella concur. It was a fluke (what Mexican restaurant is closed on a Sunday?) I was in the neighborhood, but the place was great.
Posted by Dougsf on October 21, 2010 at 3:03 PM · Report this
Dougsf 27
@myself... oh God, my correction was riddled with more confusion. Ugh. We all agree, we like good beer.
Posted by Dougsf on October 21, 2010 at 3:04 PM · Report this
28
Ok, so the cheap domestics will likely be cheaper if I-1100 passes. But you weren't competing on price to begin with, were you?
Posted by Another Andrew on October 21, 2010 at 3:06 PM · Report this
SchmuckyTheCat 29
Here's why I'm voting Yes to 1100: I don't drink beer. I drink liquor.

I simply don't care about beer and wine. Beer and wine is in the grocery store. Vodka, rum, whiskey and flavored stuff is at the liquor store. I want liquor at the grocery store. There is simply no reason why beer and vodka shouldn't be on the same shelves and sold at the same hours.

Also, any craft brewer who can't see how this will expand their market for higher margins deserves to go out of business. Specialty stores don't stock PBR. They sell craft beers at high margins. With liquor in the mix, at high margins, there will be more specialty stores selling to customers who are willing to pay a premium for quality products. A craft brewer is not in competition with PBR. Duh.
Posted by SchmuckyTheCat on October 21, 2010 at 3:53 PM · Report this
30
Dumb asses abound. The SECB endorsement of 1100 is fucking stupid and contradictory to your other endorsements. The SECB is for a income tax against the wealthy which will help fill gaping holes in the state budget, you are against the worker screwing worker comp intitiative funded by the BIAW. But you have no issue with supporting an intitiative that was crafted by Costco, supported by Wal Mart and the big grocers who will make gigantic profits and the public gets screwed, hundreds of millions in lost revenue that will mean cuts in state and county budgets, put small businesses out of business, not to mention the very real public safety issues. So you get convenience, at one hell of a price. Even more profit for giant corporations at the expense of the rest of us. The Stranger sponsors a debate at the Crocodile on this issue, a young drinkin bar crowd and the Crocodile owner is against it from the start (a vote was taken) and more against it at the end. But Dominic or Slog still hasn't reported the results, because it makes them look like the dim witted contradictory endorsing losers that they are. Ah, the Seattle Times is creepin' in....
Posted by Dave Charles on October 21, 2010 at 5:11 PM · Report this
31
There is very little foundation for this assertion when you look at the pure economics of it. Stores sell what people want regardless of cost (if people pay for it). Just because there's a lot more Bud Light on the shelves do you start drinking it? Of course not because that's not what you want. If Schooner Exact puts out a premium ,quality product people will buy it. If they put out garbage people won't buy it. Its is simple as that. If Coors puts out an equally good product at a lower price because of economies of scale then so be it and people will buy it. That's capitalism and competition. If the quality is comparable, some people will still buy from local producers because they want to and they're willing to pay the premium for a local product. If Schooner Exact continues to put out a higher quality product, they will grow, expanding capacity, thus reducing their costs through economies of scale...thus becoming one of the big players or eventually being bought out by one. The only reason this hurts small breweries is if they put out low quality products at uncompetitive price to quality ratios. To be honest, Budweiser (For Example) doesn't much care for the craft brew taste category. That's not their market segment, nor is Schooner Exact competing to attract Bud Light drinkers. Maybe I just don't remember, but as far as I know when I go to the grocery store I can't recall an InBev produced Porter or Stout (for example) and even if one exists, I highly doubt it competes from a quality/cost ratio to craft brewers.
Posted by Tri on October 21, 2010 at 5:28 PM · Report this
32
There is very little foundation for this assertion when you look at the pure economics of it. Stores sell what people want regardless of cost (if people pay for it). Just because there's a lot more Bud Light on the shelves do you start drinking it? Of course not because that's not what you want. If Schooner Exact puts out a premium ,quality product people will buy it. If they put out garbage people won't buy it. Its is simple as that. If Coors puts out an equally good product at a lower price because of economies of scale then so be it and people will buy it. That's capitalism and competition. If the quality is comparable, some people will still buy from local producers because they want to and they're willing to pay the premium for a local product. If Schooner Exact continues to put out a higher quality product, they will grow, expanding capacity, thus reducing their costs through economies of scale...thus becoming one of the big players or eventually being bought out by one. The only reason this hurts small breweries is if they put out low quality products at uncompetitive price to quality ratios. To be honest, Budweiser (For Example) doesn't much care for the craft brew taste category. That's not their market segment, nor is Schooner Exact competing to attract Bud Light drinkers. Maybe I just don't remember, but as far as I know when I go to the grocery store I can't recall an InBev produced Porter or Stout (for example) and even if one exists, I highly doubt it competes from a quality/cost ratio to craft brewers.
Posted by Tri on October 21, 2010 at 5:30 PM · Report this
33
Sorry I don't know why that posted twice
Posted by Tri on October 21, 2010 at 5:31 PM · Report this
34
Tri, interesting comments, unfortunately most of us don't live in the theoretical world, if we did it would all be sugar plums and lollipops all day long. The truth of the matter is that laws that keep a level playing field are appropriate for some industries and this is probably one of them (remember, it is not the most scrupulous industry in the first place), we have strong and growing craft beer and wine industries in this state and they will be hurt by these initiatives. That will result in less of a tax base from lost revenue and lost employment (let alone the profit grab the private industry will get), which might result in schools not having the books your child needs or the police having enough resources to respond to your emergency. The complete deregulation and pay to play scenario will result in retailers taking incentives (bribes), the largest discounts, the most money they can get for shelf space, the most money they can get for ads, etc. It will concentrate market shares in the hands of the largest suppliers, liquor distributors and retailers....and they don't care that much about what the consumer wants, the consumer will buy what they make available to them and carrying fewer items is more effecient and provides greater turnover and return on investment. Once they have near monopoly shares and have driven the smaller players from the market, then pricing will change....reminds me of the chip industry where almost every product on the aisle is Frito Lay because they bought or broke all of their competitors, prices don't seem as good as they used to be either....interesting. At any rate, it won't be the large companies that get hurt, if 1100 passes Southern Wine & Spirits and Young's Market will control 90% of the spirit and wine business and the suppliers won't cut them out of the loop to sell directly to Costco because they represent these products across many states and excercise their power and leverage every day, so prices won't go down and selection won't be enhanced.

Deregulation has worked so well in the financial and insurance industries, hell let's deregulate the utility business, what would you say to your gas and electric company being able to charge you whatever the market will bare? You are probably an intellectual person and may even be an educator, but with your rationale we will all be greeters at Wal Mart stores someday as the corporations take over America and excercise their version of economics (no full time labor, half our employees on food stamps, no health care), because after all where else is anyone going to work after they drive everyone from the market.
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Posted by akastretch on October 21, 2010 at 6:41 PM · Report this
35
Okay, did I miss something and I-1100 would revoke the taxes you put on liquor? cause it has never seemed that way from anything I've read. How will you state lose revenue?

And I see this arg reappearing in the same articulation that small breweries will go under, but you're ignoring the empirical evidence on display in the many places where you can buy liquor in grocery stores and still find artisan beer. You're all being ridiculous.

And for the record if you need Utah/Soviet style liquor laws to keep local producers in your bars and markets than you all need to seriously work on yourselves. You must not know shit about being hipster, left-wing elitist douche bags! Come on down to SF, we'll take you out and put on a seminar on self-righteous community organizing. Before lunch: "Using Yelp as a Weapon" and "How to Tweet a Protest Bar Crawl."
Posted by LukeJoe on October 21, 2010 at 8:25 PM · Report this
elenchos 36
There are thriving craft brewers in states without state-run liquor sales and a stranglehold on distribution. There's no reason why you can't compete in Washington just as well as they do.
Posted by elenchos on October 21, 2010 at 8:34 PM · Report this
37
The state loses revenue because the state system is profitable, it returns $360,000,000 to state and local government after covering the costs. The taxes rate won't really change but consumption won't come up to a level to recoup the revenue with the current tax structure and if it did, we would all be drunk most of the time.

Our laws aren't great, but their not anything like Utah and if these measures hadn't been written to return the regulation to pre-prohibition organized crime like regulations then I could probably get behind them.

By the way, California is broke, so if you can use Yelp to stir up some new revenue I am sure the Governator would appreciate it, maybe the legal weed is the answer. Aren't Hipsters a joke yet in California, we just laugh at them up here.
Posted by akastretch on October 21, 2010 at 8:50 PM · Report this
38
akastrech, I'm not actually commenting on the effects of the revenue losses for schools and such, I am only addressing the premise of the demise of the craft brewer and I agree with elenchos. Being a quite a beer fan myself and making my annual pilgrimage to the Great American Beer Festival (as I have done for the last 4 years) I noticed something that isn't theoretical. Some of my favorite beers from the festival are from the Pacific Region (Note: GABF is organized by region). The majority of the Pacific region is dominated by California brewers, in fact my favorite has been one from So Cal for the last two years. They make excellent craft beers there and somehow they manage to do it without state run liqour stores ensuring "protection" for the brewers. Remember how everybody claimed smoking bans in bars would kill their business? I haven't heard of a bar losing money post smoking ban and that includes the pubs in Ireland where my mother lives! Its amazing when theory and practice align, it is a beautiful thing.

Like I said, I'm not commenting on the wisdom of eliminating state revenue. I am commenting on the fallacy of the opinion (not fact as presented in the article) that eliminating state control will hurt craft brewers.

Also, as an aside the financial industry. Their downfall was based on a single flawed assumption: Property values never decrease. Once assumption failed it all went down. From what I recall from the literature on the problem was that the financial companies them based their revenue on a risk equation that was based on a students term paper...oops.
Posted by Tri on October 21, 2010 at 8:55 PM · Report this
39
Tri, thanks, I hope you're right and that these doomsday scenarios are just that, scenarios. California is a big market with a lot of independent retailers, so the pie is much larger than the Northwest, which is a chain dominated market where access to retail space for small producers is already tough enough without retailers charging for the space (yet). I would like to think the retailers are really tuned in to what the customers want, but most really aren't and don't have a lot of foresight. Wine departments will be cut in half almost automatically as retailers look for shelf space for liquor, 80% of the business is done in 20% of the items, so access for small wineries will no doubt change dramatically, the picture for craft breweries is a bit more murky.

The financial collapse was largely due to regulations for determining credit worthiness being loosened up, leading to the sub-prime collapse and the unregulated derivitives market that bet on mortgages being sound investments.
Posted by akastretch on October 21, 2010 at 9:31 PM · Report this
40
"Soviet-style liquor laws"? What planet are you from? The Soviets tried to keep the cost of alcohol artificially low, to keep people drunk and easily malleable. Did you not know that, or what?

The cheaper liquor is, the more people die from it. It's that simple. Countless studies over the years in many different countries have calculated the rate, too. A 10% decrease in cost leads to about a 5% increase in alcohol-related fatalities.

But hey, domestic violence, drunk driving, and people drinking themselves to death (something vastly easier to do on cheap spirits than cheap beer) is a small cost for your convenience and saving a little money.
Posted by AngryGeometer on October 21, 2010 at 10:09 PM · Report this
41
The central point The Stranger seems to miss is this: You don’t get good public policy by passing bad public policy. Initiatives I-1100 and I-1105 are bad public policy.


Totally agree, but when you have a chicken shit legislature that refused to act in rational, evolutionary ways, you end up with the citizens taking the matter into their own hands. Looking for someone to blame? Look no further than Olympia on this one.
Posted by I Got Nuthin' on October 21, 2010 at 10:56 PM · Report this
42
"By the way, California is broke, so if you can use Yelp to stir up some new revenue I am sure the Governator would appreciate it."

Oh please, California could buy your state with a bond measure!
Posted by LukeJoe on October 21, 2010 at 11:45 PM · Report this
43
Initiative I-1100 doesn't just remove "State Control" of alcohol, making our state more like California. It also repeals the *entire* Three-Tier System, a system that has been upheld as Constitutional in the United States.

While the Three-Tier System could use some reform, simply throwing it out entirely does not make sense to consumers. And throwing it out entirely is what I-1100 does.

The Three-Tier System consists of manufacturers (brewers/importers), distributors (in Washington state, breweries/wineries can become licensed to self-distribute), and licensed retailers (brewpubs/stores).

I've heard many say, "Who cares about this system? Let's get that middle-man (distributor) out of the equation so my beer/wine/spirits will be cheaper."

But the removal of this middleman is not likely to happen, even if I-1100 passes. Many manufacturers just don't have the logistical manpower to take on the level of distribution that these businesses provide. What you will see is more middlemen pop up, including Costco B2B centers acting as middleman.

Should I-1100 pass, liquor/spirits prices will likely decrease, but your wine/beer prices are likely to increase.

Under the Three-Tier System, all beer/wine deliveries to retailers are C.O.D. Yes, that's cash/check on delivery. This also allows importers/distributors to keep their prices low for retailers as they incur absolutely ZERO merchant fees from credit card companies on the products they sell. Without these added fees at levels 1 & 2 of the Three-Tier System, your beer/wine prices are able to remain low.

What Costco has been striving for in previous court battles, and now with I-1100, is to be allowed to buy beer/wine on credit. Though their business model is largely credit-based, with quick-turn products, certainly they must have cash available to buy beer/wine. They do. But they want things their way.

And they've got a winner with I-1100. It pulls on the heart/purse-strings of hard liquor drinkers promising lower prices, greater variety, greater convenience.

But at a price.

...at a price to beer and wine consumers who will be footing higher bills to pay for merchant fees incurred as the C.O.D. requirement of the Three-Tier System is removed.

-----

Want to learn more about the Three-Tier System? BellaOnline has a nice overview of why it was established at http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art5…
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Posted by 99bottles-tiffany on October 22, 2010 at 7:21 AM · Report this
Free Lunch 44
So what are you saying? This initiative passes, and suddenly everyone is going to start drinking shitty beer, just because it's at eye level? That all bars and supermarkets will carry only Bud and Coors, because it's cheaper, even though that would cause them to lose tons of their beer-drinking customers?

People like good beer. They seek it out. If their grocery stops selling it, they'll start shopping somewhere else. Make good beer, and you won't have a problem.

Also, you'd make a more believable argument if you stayed away from Chicken-Little statements like, "This could kill my business." That's quite an eye-roller.
Posted by Free Lunch on October 22, 2010 at 10:33 AM · Report this
45
Oh, little naive free lunch. What is going to happen is that the distributors won't go away, the suppliers won't be selling direct to Costco, that doesn't happen even in Califonia. The distributors are too big and powerful, providing suppliers with an indispensable service, especially if the supplier cares about the other 3,000 accounts getting serviced. The small retailers couldn't exist without distributors providing them access to many products in one place. So, a distributor makes a big volume deal with Costco, guess who pays higher prices, all the smaller restaurants and retailers. If Bud and Miller Coors start big discounting with the brands they own like Redhook, Stella, Widmer, Blue Moon it will change the market dynamics, price does matter, I like great beer but if the separation between a great micro beer and an ok micro beer or good import brew becomes large, perhaps I am buying the big nasty corporations products to save a few bucks. This initiative is about lining the pockets of the largest corporations at the expense of small businesses, maybe you're a Wal Mart shopper and you're ok with that.
Posted by akastretch on October 23, 2010 at 6:25 PM · Report this

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