28 October 2016
From Night Shift:
We're excited to share some huge news. We've launched a new distribution company: Night Shift Distributing, LLC.
Those familiar with the Massachusetts wholesaler scene are painfully aware of Franchise Law, Pay-to-Play, wholesaler consolidation, and other realities that frustrate the hell out of breweries and customers alike. These obstacles create real challenges for anyone who loves beer:
- Hiked up shelf prices
- Good brands ignored or under-appreciated
- Beers baked in the back of warm delivery trucks, deteriorating by the minute
- Cases shipped out of state to keep breweries alive
- Brands traded between distributors without brewery approval required
- Draft lines bought illegally, minimizing consumer choice
- Breweries stuck-for-eternity with underperforming distributing partners due to archaic laws
The current system is anti-competitive, stifles innovation in distribution, and creates a large barrier to entry for new distribution companies - we’re committed to changing that. After watching wholesalers squash every brewery effort to reform year after year, we finally decided - it's time to work within the broken system to offer ourselves and our brewery friends a new model.
This month, we launch NSD - a MA craft beer distributor that will fight these problems with a fresh approach to beer distribution. We understand the importance of beer quality and proper storage conditions because we don't just sell beer, we make it. We understand the fear of Franchise Law because we share that same fear. We understand the market access challenges facing many MA brands because we own a brand that brews and sells in this state. And we want to keep this state full of great beer.
Photo By: Tim Oxton / Night Shift Brewing
With our unique background, we plan to disrupt the MA wholesaler landscape by offering breweries a like-minded distribution partner, one that worries about the same things that they worry about.
Craft beer has a history of pushing industry boundaries - with NSD, we're looking to build on that tradition within the wholesale industry. Our mission is to offer world class service and a world class selection of craft beer. We promise the following to our partners and consumers:
- A complete cold-chain beer life-cycle for every bottle, can, and keg. This means beers are stored cold and delivered cold in a refrigerated box truck. Freshness is king and cannot be overlooked.
- No lifetime contracts - archaic franchise laws will be ignored. We’ve created a partnership contract that we'd sign ourselves. If a distributor isn't meeting expectations, their brewery partners should be able to walk away. We plan to exceed all expectations, but our partners will have the option to part ways if they wish to do so. No distributor should be allowed to handcuff and jeopardize a brewery's business (and the jobs it supports) because that distributor isn’t holding up their end of the partnership.
- An oath that NSD will not partake in pay-to-play, illicit discounting, or anything that might be termed the “gray area” of legal. World class beer is worth every penny.
- A commitment to quality. We have high standards for both the partner brands we choose and the beers we load on our trucks. We reserve the right to lab test the quality of every beer that comes through NSD and ensure it meets our QA/QC standards.
- The fair and equal treatment of every brand in NSD’s portfolio.Sure, we’re committed to selling Night Shift Brewing’s beer, but no brand is considered most important. We don’t offer incentives or commission to sales staff because high-quality beer will sell itself - our staff is focused on their collective, not individual, success.
Photo By: Tim Oxton / Night Shift Brewing
Our four years of self-distribution have taught us to fight for high-quality product that properly respects craft beer culture and demands quality for consumers. We’re ready to put our four years of market-changing experience up against the decades-old wholesalers (who protect the status quo) because we fiercely believe that beer lovers deserve a higher quality model.
We know we’re going to make some mistakes on the road ahead, but the biggest mistake we won’t make is simply accepting the status quo. We've learned vital lessons over the past four years, and have a proven distribution model and strategy that’s exemplified by NSB’s extremely successful growth:
- Our NSB wholesale C/E (case equivalent) grew from approximately 1,500 C/E in 2012 to an anticipated 75,000 C/E in 2016, a 1,225% annual growth rate (this figure excludes any and all Taproom volume).
- We started delivering with our own Subaru Outback and now have a growing fleet of refrigerated box trucks.
- We’ve built an exciting team of industry veterans that are ready to bring new ideas to the market. Our collective group has 40+ years of industry experience, encompassing everything from alcohol beverage sales to warehouse management to craft beer marketing.
- We just invested in state-of-the-art route accounting software for ourselves and future brewery partners.
- Our team consistently hosts exciting, creative, collaborative events with our retail and restaurant partners. We are more than just a delivery business - we are a complete sales service and service partner.
- Most importantly, we have a place to store all this beer cold! We just signed a 10-year lease on a 30,000 s/f warehouse in Chelsea that houses 15 loading bays, a climate-controlled dock, 10,000 s/f cold storage, and offices.
We've already begun forging partnerships with other breweries, many of whom have been our friends for a long time. Our first brand is, of course, Night Shift Brewing, but our plan is to grow the NSD portfolio into an eclectic, unique group of some of the most exciting brands in the USA.
Our priority is helping the beer community succeed within this incredible MA marketplace. This is our chance to give fellow breweries total brand control, superior beer treatment, and a distribution partner that's working to alter the direction of today's monopolistic MA wholesaler landscape. Much like craft brewers have shaken up the beer industry, let’s rise up and create something better for beer distribution!
There is plenty more excitement to come.
Michael Oxton, Rob Burns, and Mike O'Mara
NSB and NSD Co-Founders