Time for another round. We are getting better and more efficient and

don now expect to be on schedule for the actual seasons. So we pulled a sort of Monty Python and the Holy Grail move and skipped summer and moved directly into fall. This will make everything more timely and relevant especially the advertising, all craft beer people, supporting us. Have a look at them.

And summer in Tennessee tends to be a bit too warm for things like beer festivals, but here is a brief summer beer festival round up. First of note, the Nashville Predators Foundation held a beer festival in the air conditioned comfort of Bridgestone Arena. This is one of the great festivals, not only because it is climate controlled, has actual restrooms, and a great selection of beer, but it includes a hockey ticket later this year. That makes it the best buy in festivals by far! More importantly, 100% of the profits go to the Predators Foundation charity, which last year gave upwards of a quarter million dollars to local communities and youth organizations.

Another one included a trip by the entire Tennessee Craft Beer magazine brain trust down to Guntersville, Ala., just outside Huntsville (featured in an article this issue). This first time event was a two day affair in Civitan Park right on the beautiful Lake Guntersville (during a Bassmasters Classic. There were boats everywhere in town). Met with the Mayor and the event organizers Friday night, and returned for the Saturday festivities. The beer selection was not expansive but included several great Alabama beers not available in Tennessee. The crowd was fairly small making for a relaxing event with ample opportunity to sample. Look for the brain trust to report from the Great American Beer Festival in the next issue.

In other big news, middle Tennessee now has a new craft beer distributor. Delivering Liquid Art, we introduce Tennessee Craft Distributors. Owned by Ed Muranyi, the “head beer dude,” what follows is an excerpt of some of his thoughts, and what we have learned from him.

Being an engineer and home brewer for over 30 years, Ed’s wife June, and friends thought he would be opening up a brewery, pub, or taproom. But after closely studying the industry, it was very apparent that the biggest threat to the craft beverage industry was lack of distribution tailored specifically to growing craft breweries.

Ed’s automotive engineering background allowed him to live and work throughout North America and Europe. Through those years he had the opportunity to sample many beer styles, in many countries. He admits the job had it’s perks. With this “global liquid education” Ed earn his Cicerone Certification earlier this year, and the automotive sector taught him supplier development, and inventory management skills. After learning more about wholesaler franchise laws, and studying some of the industry statistics, it seemed like the best way to grow Tennessee’s craft beer industry was though distribution.

Ed has found that many small breweries feel their products can get lost if a distributor portfolio is too large or includes macro beer, wine, liquor, soft drinks, etc. TCD has a commitment to only deal in craft beer, cider, mead, and kombucha, and to keep the supplier portfolio small, but of the highest quality. They feel that with so many breweries opening thoughout the States, not all of them will survive, and they want to help the best prosper.
Ed admits, one of the toughest parts of his job is deciding what brewers to partner with. When evaluating a brewery’s liquids, it’s tough to tell a brewer “your baby is really not that cute, when compared to the other pageant babies”. But honesty is the best policy, and if a brewer has thick skin, and wants to survive, they appreciate honest feedback. It is TCD’s job to seek out some of the best brewers and make sure their products are distributed correctly to Tennessee’s best retailers. Their mantra is “Delivering Liquid Art”, and their business is developed around that philosophy.

Their flagship brand is Dark Horse Brewery, a multiple award winning, very highly regarded brewery out of Marshall, Mich. They also have Bi-Wing Brewing out of Madison, Ohio, Noble Ciders from Asheville, and recently picked up Red Silo Brewing out of Cookeville, Putnam county’s first ever brewery. We are looking for great things from this team!

In this issue look for a truly enlightening article on a member of one of the pioneering families in the post-prohibition adult beverage industry, Robert Lipman. He is third generation owner of Lipman Brothers which holds Tennessee State Permit No. 1 for wholesale liquor distribution. They were the first distributor of Jack Daniels Whiskey and have the largest craft beer selection in middle Tennessee. They distribute Yazoo Brewing products, and I have seen first hand the great working relationship the two companies share. A truly inspiring story.

Read on and enjoy. It’s time for a pint. Cheers! DON

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