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22 was the loneliest number

Aaron Kremer February 23, 2009 2

Legend Brewery is diversifying its lineup. The 15-year-old business will add six packs and expand its South Side brewery and bottling operation. The reason: Founder and Owner Tom Martin sold Legend’s sister distributorship (Legend Distributing) to Brown Distributing Company. Martin expects demand to rise now that Brown’s larger sales force will be promoting Legend’s brews.

“This is a good business idea. Instead of having ten guys on the road, we’ll have 500 who are able to sell our beer,” Martin said. “They can do it more efficiently than us.”

Martin said in particular Brown will be better able to promote the beer to retailers and restaurants in Fredericksburg, Newport News, Charlottesville and Northern Virginia.

Martin originally started the distributorship, which rented space in the brewery building, as a way to ensure the beer got on shelves at stores and pubs. By Virginia statute, a distributor has rights to a particular label regardless of how well that company is at selling it. Martin didn’t want to leave the fate of his upstart in the hands of a distributor who may not properly promote it. But now that the beer is widely known — available in more than 200 restaurants and stores around Richmond – that’s no longer a risk, he said.

“I definitely think this will increase the amount of beer we can sell,” he said. As a result, Legend will be adding more tanks to its brewing operation, Martin said, and adding six packs in the spring or summer to its lineup. Until then, the beer is still only available for sale in stores in 220z glass bottles.

The deal with Brown Distributing took four months to finalize because of the complicated territory laws. The dollar figure of the deal was not disclosed.

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2 Comments »

  1. Jeff February 23, 2009 at 8:37 am - Reply

    This is terrible for beer lovers. Virignia’s laws regarding beer distribution leave many, many brands unavailable. Try finding any of these beers in Richmond: Schlitz, Olympia, National Bohemian, Three Kings, Strohs, Peils, Wiedeman’s, Fat Tire, etc. the list is long.

    Immediately, we will see many of the brands of which Legend was the distributor of record disappear from the shelves of yoru favorite Wine & beer shop (River City Cellars; Once upon a Vine; the Gas station on Huguenot near Bon Air), as brown decides that they are only moving 2 cases of some great microbrew and it isn’t worht their time.

    Long term, how can Virginia claim to be “open for business” when it restricts trade so much.

  2. John Zacharias February 23, 2009 at 10:36 am - Reply

    I wish all the luck to Tom and gang. I have fond memories of drinking ale in the in the lower driveway before the restaraaunt was built.

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