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Sunday, November 06, 2016

Why Pubs Don't Do House Beers

A quick follow up on Friday's post about The Commons doing an exclusive beer for Bailey's Taproom. I asked why more pubs don't do this. Turns out there is a small and large reason. The small reason is volume: it would be hard for most pubs to move through a batch of beer before it got stale, unless the brewery made pretty small batches. There are probably some work-arounds for that one.

The big issue is this runs afoul of the law. "The OLCC frowns upon anything that can smack of being a 'private label'" says brewer Ben Edumnds in comments at the Facebook page. He elaborates: " We've run into this issue the vast majority of times when we've tried doing a "house" beer for someone. Toro Red is the exception to this, but John Gorham's restaurant group has 7 outlets to move it at this point. We're able to do Wisco for Saraveza because we sell it beyond us Saraveza and our two spots."

Christopher Barnes, who knows the distributor side of things, elaborates. "The Oregon system is set up to be largely fair to retailers of all sizes. Everyone pays the same price for kegs and cases. There are no special quantity discounts. This allows small retailers to compete with larger retailers. Private labels can be used to circumvent this system by making something that could give larger retailers a competitive advantage."

So now we know.

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