Rhinegeist To Distribute Self, Others in Kentucky
Cincinnati’s Rhinegeist Brewing Company, based in Over-the-Rhine, has imminent plans to launch their own craft beer distribution company in Northern Kentucky under the Ghostriver Distributing moniker. Naturally, this is a regionalized play on their Rhinegeist name which is German for ghost of the Rhine.
They have self-distributed their beers in Ohio since their launch in 2013 but have continued to set their sights on becoming a regional player. They have steadily amassed a fleet of refrigerated vans/trucks to cart their beers all over town (and the state) with great success. We’ve known about plans to get their beer across the river for some time but I’ve learned they have plans to add additional craft beer brands to their distribution efforts. Certainly, this helps them capitalize on the infrastructure investments they are making if they can aid (and profit) in the distribution of other brands. This is certainly a precarious situation but not uncommon across the country – just look at Southern California’s Stone Distributing.
A brewery can drive additional revenue by self-distributing (when allowed by state law) since they aren’t paying a third-party to manage inventory and get their beers in the hands of retailers. In the same vein, owning your own distributing company helps the bottom line. However, infrastructure and logistics can be challenging if your primary focus is brewing beer. It seems Rhinegeist has done an excellent job of saturating the Greater Cincinnati market with their beers so this jump across the river, and jump into a new business model, shouldn’t be like starting from scratch.
Learn more about the standard “three-tier” distribution system from Queen City Drinks
They have established a full-blown warehouse operation in the Erlanger area to serve as their southern base. Internet records show the LLC was filed in April of this year so this obviously a well planned strategic move.
I can’t wait to see what brands they end up adding to their portfolio and now the Kentucky folks will be able to easily enjoy Rhinegeist cans and draft in their neighborhood!