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  1. #1
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    Retailer/distributor question

    I've asked my local retailer, who carries Pappy's 20yo, to try and locate other bottles in the Pappy's line (Lot B, OVRW 10/107, 15yr, 23yr), thinking that if they are able to get the 20yo, they shouldn't have a problem getting the others.

    I got a call from them, telling me that it didn't look promising. Even said they were told that Pappy's doesn't make a 15yo product!

    The retailer said he would try to get more information, and would get back to me.

    Can anyone shed some light for me on how the retailer/distributor relationship typically works? Is it usually along brand lines (almost impossible to find Weller products, for example, in my area)?

    Incidentally, another retailer in the same general area does carry some Lot B, Pappy's 15, and OVRW 10/107. But their prices are higher in general than my retailer of choice, and I was trying to do better.

    Thanks for any insight or suggestions.

    Kevin

  2. #2
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    Each state is different. I don't know about Florida.

    But they were wrong about a 15 year old Pappy.
    I have one. They dropped the Old Rip Van Winkle 15 year old and now make the Pappy Van Winkle 15 year old.

    Oscar

  3. #3
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    Quote Originally Posted by scopenut
    Can anyone shed some light for me on how the retailer/distributor relationship typically works? Is it usually along brand lines (almost impossible to find Weller products, for example, in my area)?
    The short answer is "no," because there is no "typical" relationship. The state laws differ greatly. In some states, an agency of state government is the sole distributor. Some states license a limited number of distributors and require exclusive relationships, in other states a producer can have multiple distributors.

    In some states there are hurdles to jump and fees to pay for each different product you carry, which sometimes causes distributors to carry some of the products available from their producers, but not all. Because of this, producers may choose not to offer certain products in certain areas.

    Weller is a good example of this. Certainly Sazerac/Buffalo Trace has distributor relationships in all 50 states, but there are many where Weller is not available.

    The confusing regulatory regime is a Prohibition holdover and while it is touted as being about controlling alcohol abuse and protecting children, it's really all about money.
    Last edited by cowdery; 06-01-2006 at 20:45.

  4. #4
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    Thanks for the clear explanation, Chuck.

    I've heard of the system being described as an hourglass, with the producers and retailers/consumers at the wide top and bottom, and the distributors in the narrow bottleneck.

    So, if I understand you correctly, there might be additional fees involved for a retailer who carries Pappy's 20 to also carry 10/107, Lot B, etc? I had figured that once a retailer carries one item in a product line, any others by the same producer shouldn't be a problem. Unfortunately, it seems I might be wrong about that. Still waiting to here back from the retailer for a definitive answer.

    Kevin

  5. #5
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    Not fees for the retailer, but fees for the distributor to have that product "listed" (i.e., able to be sold) in that state.

  6. #6
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    From a retail perspective in upstate NY, the Pappy line and ORVW are a pain to get from distributors. The distributor's only have them in stock once in a while, so it requires patience and the willingness to buy whatever the store can handle when they are available. Pappy 12yr and Pappy 13yr Rye in particular are usually only available for 3-4 weeks a year from our distributor.

  7. #7
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    That's what was so puzzling to me, as my retailer of choice has lots of Pappy's 20 at $80. I thought there wouldn't be a problem having them get other bottles in the Pappy's lineup. But as Chuck pointed out, maybe the distributor fees are the deciding factor.

    Which brings up another question. Does a retailer typically deal with a single distributor (at least within a manufacturer's lineup), or do they pick and choose? Again, this will likely vary by state and situation. Reason I ask is that the other Pappy's products are sold locally, so some distributor in FL deals in it. Just maybe not the one that my retailer uses.

    Kevin

  8. #8
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    Quote Originally Posted by scopenut
    Which brings up another question. Does a retailer typically deal with a single distributor (at least within a manufacturer's lineup), or do they pick and choose? Again, this will likely vary by state and situation. Reason I ask is that the other Pappy's products are sold locally, so some distributor in FL deals in it. Just maybe not the one that my retailer uses.
    Totally depends on the state law. If a retailer has the option of buying, say, Jack Daniel's from three different distributors, then there is competition. The states that are restrictive, by for example requiring exclusive producer/distributor relationships, do so because they don't want competition. The "rationale" (highly dubious) is that competition encourages alcohol abuse. Many states also regulate prices for the same reason and unlike with most government price controls, they aren't setting a maximum price, they are setting a minimum price.

 

 

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