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Why This Popular Florida Brewery Won’t Distribute

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Ever visited a craft brewery that you really liked, and connected with?  And, then wanted to find their beer in, say, a Whole Foods, or on Amazon.com or perhaps in your local grocery? …..But can’t?  The distribution of craft beer is one of those things that most craft breweries desperately want to do.   That is, sell beer to the general public in increasingly larger quantities, thereby increasing brewery revenues and exposure.  Some owners want to see their names or their brand on store shelves and hope to sell out to a big conglomerate for millions of dollars. But there’s this one brewery in West Palm Beach that actually does NOT distribute. And, get this, they have NO plans to distribute their amazing craft beer.  What’s up with West Palm Beach Brewery?

  • It’s All About the Experience. At the West Palm Brewery, they do not distribute their craft beer.  And they have no plans to distribute their beer.   The owner and staff recognize that they don’t just sell beer and wine and great, made to order food in their restaurant.  https://www.westpalmbeer.com/our-food/They create, and share, an experience.  A cool vibe, an involvement or an interaction that you just don’t get anywhere else. And I’m not just talking about the brewery looking nice or upscale and not industrial.  I’m not talking about how they actually have air conditioning unlike some other breweries.  It’s the interaction, the experience.  How happy the staff is; how friendly they are to see regular patrons and fans return. 
  • Brewery = Experience Economy.    A positive, upbeat vibe !  How excited they are when there is a tap party or release party and they are giving away free brewery merchandise.  After all, aren’t we in the experience economy?  Don’t you have LOTS of choices for your food and beer dollars?  You do have a lot of places which you can choose to visit in Palm Beach County, such as bars or restaurants and, indeed, other, fine breweries.  But at the West Palm Beach Brewery, the owner and staff try to make a connection. Whether it’s offering real, made to order food in their restaurant, selling premium wine at The Vault,  https://www.westpalmbeer.com/our-wines/  their wine bar and Napa tasting room, or giving away free brewery bibs to infants….it’s about the experience.  The brewery is pet friendly and well behaved dogs are seated outside and treated lovingly with free treats, water bowls and yes, doggy brewery bandanas.  
  • Mass Produced Beer Never in the Game Plan. So, the West Palm Beach Brewery & Wine Vault was never created to sell mass produced beer. It’s all about the craft!  The owner wanted to create an artisan place where they make really great craft beer on the premises and sell it at their tap room. And they do that.  He also wanted a place to see his wine, which is limited production, select, upmarket wine sold in a fun, Napa like tasting room setting.  Bottling or canning beer and trying to get it into stores was never part of the equation.  Ever.  Making delicious craft beer and creating an experience that you won’t find anywhere else in Palm Beach or South Florida…now that was the idea!  Think The Bounty Hunter  https://www.bountyhunterwine.com/ in downtown Napa, or Garagiste  http://garagiste.com/ the amazing online/email wine merchant.  Think about the experience you get on a first class flight, or walking into the Ritz Carlton or Four Seasons Hotels. Now, this brewery, close to the Palm Beach County Convention Center http://www.pbconventioncenter.com/   is definitely not a 5 star resort, but you get the picture.
  • Crowlers  & Growlers.  So, the brewery does offer crowlers and growlers to go.  What are craft beer crowlers or growlers?  A crowler is a 32 ounce can of beer and a Growler is a 64 ounce jugs of beer, to go.  And, of course, you can always purchase great wine by the bottle or the case and take it home or for a party.
  • Does Distribution of Craft Beer Even Matter?    So…who cares?  I mean, does it really matter that the West Palm Brewery does not want to distribute?  Perhaps not.  But, it’s telling, it’s insightful.  It reveals a lot about the brewery, the owner, and the goals and attitude of what they have created at 332 Evernia Street in downtown West Palm Beach.  They don’t want to spend time on a bottling line, or filling kegs for some restaurant or bar down the street. That’s not where their focus is.  Their focus…is on you.  Always small. Always local. Always craft. 

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Jun 29, 2018