DC Brau makes it easy on its distributor, Hop & Wine. This Washington, DC, microbrewery sells its entire output of about 60 barrels a week to around 100 accounts in the District of Columbia, none more than a few miles from the brewery. “We’re a pretty simple account for them. They come once or twice a week and sell it all in three days,” says co-founder Brandon Skall. He further asserts, “Anything you drink in a restaurant was kegged within the last week.”
Being local is a virtue, but also a necessity for such a tiny operation. Not only are The Public, Penn Quarter Porter and other DC Brau brands available only within DC, but only at bars and restaurants—establishments that sell beer for strictly on-premise consumption. Skall believes this market strategy is better for brand-building. You can deliver a parcel of beer to a supermarket or liquor store and a single customer or two can buy out the entire stock. But in a bar or restaurant, patrons will generally limit themselves to a pint or two, allowing more people to sample the beer. DC Brau, however, will sell you six-packs of cans or growlers at their tasting room on Saturdays.
Tallgrass Brewing Co., a four-year-old microbrewery in Manhattan, KS, with an output of about 10,000 barrels a year, employs a different marketing strategy. Tallgrass distributes its Oasis Ale, Buffalo Sweat (a cream stout) and other beers in 14 states, as far north as the Great Lakes, as far south as Mississippi, and as far east as Virginia and Pennsylvania.