For most craft breweries across America, self distribution makes sense. Time intensive and expensive at onset – sure – self-distro offers control over where products are sold, what margins are maintained, and how market relationships are managed over time.
That said, self-distribution isn't a luxury every craft brewery in the United States has access to.
Across America, individual states are responsible for setting their own distribution and direct-to-consumer (DTC) shipping laws. Understanding how to navigate the two- and three-tier distribution system can be complicated, and you'll need to understand the state laws in place prior to moving your product.
Below you'll find a summary of US brewery distribution laws by state.
|State||Self Distro||DTC Shipping|
|District of Columbia||Yes||No|
|Rhode Island||No||Yes (Limited)|
Distribution data courtesy of the Brewers Association.
Note that these laws are interstate, and that expansion into states outside of your own will require a re-assessment of distribution regulations. If you're operating in a state where self-distribution is legal, we recommend you read up on the key differences between distribution options to ensure you select the best alternative for your business.
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