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Self distribution in California

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Is it possible for a distiller to sell directly to retailers when getting started ? Did any of you do this when you first started producing ?

While the AB 1295 permitted craft distillers to sell directly to consumers (single-tier) since 2016, it seems California ABC Act has always permitted a two tier  system for California manufacturers ...

§ 23363. Licensed manufacturers of distilled spirits originally distilled in this State; Sale to licensees
Any licensed manufacturer of distilled spirits originally distilled in this State may sell them to any person holding a license authorizing the sale of distilled spirits.

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maybe for brandy only. it continues:

Quote

This section shall not apply to distilled spirits manufacturer licenses issued after the effective date of the amendment of this section enacted at the 1959 Regular Session of the Legislature, and this section shall not apply to manufacturers of distilled spirits who have not regularly and continuously exercised the privileges of this section by sales to retail licensees.

In addition to the rights and privileges granted by this section, any person holding a distilled spirits manufacturer license may sell brandy to any person holding a license authorizing the sale of brandy.

 

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I'm not a lawyer but here's my understanding... you can self distribute your brandy if you have a brandy manufacturers license (type 03) but you can't self distribute other spirits. If you have a type 07 rectifiers license you can self distribute anything you make. 

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As a Type 74 license (craft distiller) you can have a tasting room and sell 3 bottles per person per day from your tasting room.   But CA is a solid 3-tier state with no self-distribution option... which means having to romance a distributor to carry your stuff.

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21 minutes ago, Patio29Dadio said:

which means having to romance a distributor to carry your stuff.

This is no small task. Consider hiring a sales staff to drum up interest from the retail side. 

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I had to create my own distributor in CA.  I talked him into jumping through the hoops, getting a small warehouse, then helped him start acquiring his retailers.  We are a year into it.  Still working out the bugs, but he is getting our product into major retailers now.

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