By Bart Watson
As the volume going directly through breweries has grown, so has the concern from traditional on-premise retailers and distributors as to the effects of breweries on their business. Let me start by saying that some of these concerns are valid and need to be heard by breweries that want to access wider distribution. In places where businesses with brewing licenses gain similar retail rights to pure retailers, brewers should be sensitive to the concerns of retailer accounts. For example, brewers should be cognizant that retailers will be aware of your pricing relative to theirs. Similarly, in states that give brewers the right to operate satellite locations, brewers should be aware that opening non-brewing locations or selling beer other than your own may bring push back from retailers who view them as competitors.

With that said, I do think that some of retailer complaints and fears are overblown, as there is growing evidence that brewery visits represent new demand and so are adding to the total volume of beer sold, rather than just shifting beers from one channel to another.

Brewery Visits Mean More Occasions
Letís start with some data from a new survey the Brewers Association conducted with the help of CGA/Nielsen as part of their NCGA OPUS Survey in September, 2017. The data come from 1,447 people who said they had visited a brewery in the previous three months. Of those, a whopping 64% said that the brewery visit was either a different type of occasion or was in addition to typical on-premise occasions.

Q: As you have visited a Brewpub/Taproom or Brewery in the last 3 months, did that visit replace a visit to a bar or other on-premise establishment? (If you visited multiple breweries, please select the option that is most typical)