26 May 2009
For anyone tuning in late, there's considerable craft-beer-drama in NEPA. This drama concerns the distribution of Sierra Nevada and Rogue products, specifically in Luzerne and Lackawanna counties. Before I go any further I'll apologize, because there's simply not a lot I can post at this time and not a lot of info available to the general public. I've been following the development of this story for a while, and due to the overwhelming demand for info, I thought I'd at least post some of my observations and opinions.
Bottom line for local craft-beer drinkers is that both Sierra Nevada and Rogue beers may become very difficult to find in NEPA. In a vague sort of way I can say that the problem is a result of a dispute in distributorship rights and territories. Let's just say that the "party of the first part" has filed actions against the "party of the second part" in an attempt to clarify SN & Rogue territories...and yes of course the LCB is apparently involved. I can also tell you that both Rogue & Sierra Nevada are aware of the situation, but given the nature of distribution rights in the lovely state of PA, there is apparently little they can do. For those guessing on their own, yes...a familiar face in our local beer market of course seems to have his hands in the mess.
I do not expect that SN & Rogue will drop off the shelves completely in our area, but do expect to see less and less of them on tap and in bottles, and do expect to potentially see prices change as a result. The truly troubling part for me is that I see no solution. Given the situation, I see very few possible results that will help the NEPA craft beer drinkers.
This is all of course my opinion and my assessment of the situation....stay tuned for future details.