Thursday, June 15, 2006

The three-tier blues strike again.

Yesterday I spoke with my representative from North Vernon Beverage Company, which is our supplier of Sierra Nevada and Upland brands.

Up until quite recently, North Vernon was the place where our pallets of special-order draft Rogue ales came to rest, but this longtime arrangement changed in April when Indianapolis-based World Class Beverage obtained the rights for Rogue distribution for the entire state through a deal with Best Beers in Bloomington.

Or not, as I was informed yesterday.

It seems that North Vernon read the fine print of an agreement inked some years back, and concluded that the deal between WCB and Best Beers did nothing to alter North Vernon’s privileges with respect to Rogue distribution in a territory that includes New Albany. Both Rogue and WCB had no choice but to concede in the face of the legalese, so now we’re back where we started two months ago.

Of course, there has been a casualty of this uncertainty, this being the special-order draft pallet of Rogues that was to have included Rogue Chocolate Stout and Rogue Smoke for Dave Fest 2006. After following all the directions given me to procure these beers by the first of June, at best they’re currently in route, and will have to be sent to North Vernon, not WCB, which will delay delivery to me for an even longer period.

As Rogue’s Jim Cline correctly observed in a note to me, occurrences like this are why people like me become terminally disillusioned with the requirements of the three-tier distribution system.

I’m certainly not angry with anyone in particular, and it’s fine with me to deal with North Vernon for Rogue kegs.

I just want the goddamned beer!

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