South Dakota brewers want self-distribution - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

South Dakota brewers want self-distribution

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With all this talk about the new wine legislation, South Dakota breweries have to jump through hoops to get their product to the customers as well.

We spoke to a restaurant owner here in Sioux Falls, Nancy Gellerman. She also has a brew house out in Custer.

It is a small two-barrel system and she brews on a very small scale. She would like to serve her beer at her restaurant in Sioux Falls. But, she's not able to do that without a middle man.

Gellerman frequently has customers order the craft beer she brews in Custer, but she hasn't been able to have it on tap.


"The problem is we have to sell it to our distributor. They pick up the beer from my brew pub, they take it back to their warehouse and then they bring it back to one of my restaurants. When in fact, I could just do that myself," said Gellerman.

Because the law doesn't allow Gellerman and other craft brewers to self-distribute, it would be illegal to sell beer from her brewery in Custer at her restaurant in Sioux Falls.

"When I sell it to my distributor, it's at a rate that we set on price and then he has to sell it back to me at a higher rate, which I totally understand. That's part of the process and I don't want to buy my beer back at a higher rate and therefore goes any sense of profit for me," said Gellerman.

Gellerman says more and more breweries are opening in South Dakota. And for these small business owners, being able to self-distribute would help them be more independent and grow their businesses.

"And its basically for promotional opportunity to be able to take your beer to an event, or to your other restaurant or to a location and be able to self promote who you are without having to use a distributor. We are not large enough for a distributor to really pay attention to us. We can't produce that much," said Gellerman.

Gellerman says all she's asking for is a small amount.

"If you have 5,000 barrels or if you have 10,000 barrels, that's such a minute amount of beer that we don't even produce that much at my brewery at this point," said Gellerman.


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