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Minnesota breweries tap into Milwaukee market

Posted at 7:28 AM, Aug 27, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-27 08:28:48-04

MILWAUKEE -- Competition is fierce among breweries to get your attention.

It's not just about making the beer. Businesses are finding crafty ways to get into stores.

Jim Watkins at Sociable Cider Werks in Minneapolis has a goal to get his hard cider to Wisconsin.

"Every time I go to Milwaukee I feel like it's the Twin Cities forgotten triplet," said Watkins.

For a small brewery, finding a distributor to take it across state lines is difficult. Watkins is cutting out the middle man by partnering with another Minnesota-based brewery to get it out to the Badger State. It is called self-distributing.

"Minnesota and Wisconsin law allows for breweries under a certain size to distribute their own product," said Watkins, referencing Wisconsin State Statutes 125.28, 125.29 and 123.295, "The idea was that it would give smaller brands an opportunity to tell their story to sell directly to the retailer

"We'll do two days a week in Madison and two days a week in Milwaukee is our plan," said Watkins.

Third Space Brewing in the Menominee Valley self-distributed when it first launched.

"We pitched it ourselves and if they ordered it we had to deliver it ourselves," said co-founder Andy Gehl.

The hard work paid off. They caught the eye of a distributor and business has quadrupled.

"We wanted to focus on brewing beer," said Gehl. "We wanted to focus on engaging with our customers and not all the logistics of delivering our products."

Another option is to ditch distribution altogether and build excitement only out of brick and mortar breweries.