On Saturday, I’m covering the Hbg Brewers Fest starting at noon, 3rd and Locust Streets. So I went over to Troeg’s Brewing Company to talk to John Trogner, who gave me a much better understanding of the six-pack debate headed for the state Senate.
A Senate committee last week voted 9-2 for a bill that would permit beer distributors to sell ales, malts and lagers by the six-pack, instead of limiting them to selling by the case.
This is important for the distributor, because more and more groceries are seeking restaurant licenses, a trend that probably started with Wegman’s. A grocery with a restaurant license can sell you a six-pack of beer and cut its margin to the bone to get you in the door.
It’s important for the consumer, because it means not having to make an extra stop at a noisy bar, get somebody’s attention, ask for a six-pack and pay a whopping premium price.
And it’s really important for craft brewers, who use more expensive ingredients in smaller quantities than, say, Anheuser-Busch. As a result, a case of Troegs costs a lot more than a case of Bud Lite.
That makes it too hard for consumers to experiment with microbrews.
Getting someone to shell out for a full case of something they’ve never tried is a tough sell — but spending a few bucks for a six-pack, that’s a good gamble.
So the six-pack bill is about marketing, on several levels.
So is the Brewers Fest. If you can’t meet me there, let me know what your favorite beer is and I’ll drink it for you.