Distribution Channels and Challenges for Craft Beer

About the Episode

Kevin McGee returns to F&B Talk to talk about the craft beer industry and distribution challenges to consumers both domestically and internationally. Kevin talks about distribution channel options, how distributors influence the reach of products and where they get shelf space, the logistics and challenges of selling internationally and differences in international markets, the consolidation of distributors and how this impacts smaller companies, and working with smaller versus larger distributors.

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“We need good distributors. It’s not really possible to do this business at a significant level without being able to rely on your distribution network.”

Kevin McGee

In this Episode

1:51 What is the most pressing issue in the craft brewing industry right now?
8:01 How consolidated are distributors? What do their markets look like?
10:35 What are distributors in California doing differently than distributors in other states?
16:07 Are distributors consolidating in other sectors of the F&B industry?
19:42 How fragmented is the brewing industry?
23:53 Are there other distribution channel options?
28:02 How often do companies merge to become a larger entity to get the attention of larger distributors?
31:45 How consolidated is the on-prem market? How much control do distributors have in this area?
36:50 Are there opportunities for companies to sell directly to consumers without going through a distributor?
38:45 What are the differences between producing draft beer versus packaged beer?
42:05 How does the concentration of power and distribution differ across global markets?
46:02 What are the logistics and challenges when distributing craft beer internationally?
50:11 Are there multiple importers within each country, or is the distributor the importer?
53:42 Are most consumers loyal to one brand, or do they spread their loyalty across brands?
58:01 What’s the biggest trend in the craft beer industry?

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Resources Mentioned

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Acronyms or Terms Used in This Episode

  • On-prem: on-premise – locations where alcohol is sold to consumers who will consume it in that location, such as bars and restaurants.

Meet Our Guest

Kevin McGee

Kevin McGee

President & CEO of Anderson Valley Brewing Company

Kevin McGee is the President & CEO of Anderson Valley Brewing Company of Boonville, California, and the Founder of the Healdsburg Beer Company of Healdsburg, California.

The world’s first solar-powered brewery, Anderson Valley Brewing Company, has been making world-class beer since 1987, when it was one of only 20 craft breweries in the country. Today, the brewery leads the industry in responsible brewing and environmental sustainability practices and is widely recognized as one of the craft beer industry’s true pioneers. Healdsburg Beer Company was founded in 2007 when Kevin turned his garage into a licensed and bonded commercial brewery and then single-handedly operated the brewhouse out of it for 14 years.

Kevin has been working with beer and wine businesses for over 20 years in a variety of capacities. He is a graduate of the Executive Program at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business and has been practicing law for over 25 years. Kevin’s background includes being the personal legal counsel and business strategist to wine industry legend Jess Jackson, founder of the Kendall-Jackson wine empire, and serving as CEO of a wine and hospitality-focused private equity firm spread over three continents.

Kevin previously worked as a prosecutor for San Mateo County and for The City and County of San Francisco and spent eight years teaching Gang Violence law and trial skills for the California District Attorneys’ Association.

Location Location: Northern California
Website Website: www.avbc.com

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