Some of the country’s most sought-after beers are a few clicks away for Columbus consumers.
While the Covid-19 pandemic has presented myriad challenges for craft brewers, it’s also created opportunities to find and reach new customers. Local delivery and carryout programs have buoyed the sales of many. So too has shipping beer to consumers who aren’t within a short drive.
Several Ohio brewers ship around the state, including Wolf’s Ridge Brewing, Seventh Son Brewing and Pretentious Barrel House in Columbus and Little Fish Brewing in Athens.
It’s just in-state breweries though. Out-of-state operators – including some heralded names like Nashville’s Southern Grist Brewing, Massachusetts’ Trillium Brewing and Virginia’s The Veil – have taken notice.
Southern Grist General Manager Brandon Cox said that when the pandemic shut down taprooms, they had to look for new revenue streams. That included delivery in their local market, but also shipping out of state.
That Nashville brewery isn’t the only one to set its sights here.
Ohio’s S permit, which allows direct shipping to consumers, predominately has been used by wineries. There are hundreds that hold such permits around the country. The permit was expanded in 2011 to include beer, but few have applied for it.
Based on Columbus Business First research, just two breweries received that permit from 2016 to March of last year. But since the Covid-19 pandemic, 16 more have now have gotten those permits with more likely to come. One of those waiting on approval is Trillium.
“Historically we haven’t sold off-site at all,” Trillium Director of Marketing Mike Dyer said. “We wanted people to come to our taproom. We want to own the experience and the quality of the product.”
They want to own those margins too. Beer sold on-premise at taprooms is more profitable than keg, canned or bottled beers sold elsewhere. With taproom business closed or constrained for brewers around the country, selling direct is a way to create more margin-friendly sales.
It takes two or three days to ship. Both breweries said they’re confident the quality of their beers holds up in that time and distance. Shipping costs vary — roughly $20 to $40 depending on brewery and order size, according to Columbus Business First research. That may be a barrier to purchase for some consumers, but to others that might be a small price to get their hands on beer otherwise difficult to get.
Here are the breweries that have been approved to ship beer to Ohio:
- Against the Grain Brewery, Louisville, Kentucky.
- Atlas Brew Works, Washington D.C.
- Aurochs Brewing, Emsworth, Pennsylvania.
- Burial Beer Co., Asheville, North Carolina.
- Beaver Brewing, Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania.
- Cascade Brewing, Portland, Oregon
- Empirical Brewery, Chicago.
- Evasion Brewing, McMinnville, Oregon.
- Firestone Walker, Paso Robles, California.
- Foam Brewers, Burlington, Vermont.
- Ghostfish Brewing, Seattle.
- New Belgium Brewing, Fort Collins, Colorado
- Oozlefinch Beers & Blending, Fort Monroe, Virginia.
- Rubsam & Horrman Brewing, New York.
- Sierra Nevada Brewing, Chico, California.
- Southern Grist Brewing, Nashville.
- Two Pithers Brewing, St. Helena, California.
- The Veil Brewing, Richmond, Virginia.
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