Flying Dog rep alleges MillerCoors is guilty of DC bar tap line payola


(Washington, D.C.) – Rumors about side deals for tap lines, one of those common back room conversation topics across the beer industry, rarely surface in the public eye. Today, one Flying Dog Brewery rep has apparently had enough and is fed up with it…!/FlyingDogDC/status/166977473794416640!/FlyingDogDC/status/166979556501233664


D.C. law prohibits manufacturers and wholesalers from giving money or providing gifts to a beer establishment without prior consent of the D.C. Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration. [edit: removed broken link to DC Code, Title 25, §25-735 and 736 – if anyone can come up with a good link, please share in the comments.]

Flying Dog has shown in the past that it takes legal matters seriously having filed a lawsuit against the Michigan liquor control board after the board banned a beer called Raging Bitch.

A rep for MillerCoors’ Tenth and Blake division was contacted though the company had no official comment to offer at this time.

22 thoughts on “Flying Dog rep alleges MillerCoors is guilty of DC bar tap line payola

  1. I’ve heard tAles of BIg brewers in the Boston area utilizing some low-ball tactics to mess with the local craft brewers, too… Don’t want to name names though as my source wished to remain anon.
    Bottom line, brew-bullying seems to be a much more common practice than we previously gave it credit for, and it unfortunately seems like we’re going to be seeing more and more stories like this with so many craft brewers stealing space from the “big boys” on limited tap accounts.

  2. sounds like the Salesrep is just mad he lost a tap handle. He should’ve been more proactive and talked to the bar and persuad to leave his own beer on tap. Last I seen the Tenth and Blake beers are way up in sales…..

  3. Tenth and Blake’s sales are only up because they keep buying craft breweries! Do not get your facts confused!

  4. Pat this happens and it’s not just MillerCoors and no it is not just a poor salesman not putting in the effort. You can be the best salesman (sales person, sorry ladies) in the world but if you are not willing to break the law or sacrifice your ethics to get a line then there are others that probably will. This is very clear at some bars when all of the beers are from one distributor or there are six lines from one brand. I’m not saying a bar with that many lines from the same brand is always breaking a law but generally we call it a Tap Takeover and a brewer is in town or a new brand is being released! In the long run the bar thinks they are making out due to the kickbacks but really the customer does see this. The majority of the people that I know that love craft beer want variety across brands and distributors and they start to wonder why the beers they want are never on tap at their favorite bar. I doubt it’s because the salesman for their favorite beer isn’t trying but they might not be willing to give away glasses, cases or a new tap tower. (In some states I’m sure some of these items can be given away but in many it is illegal.) In the long run I think it hurts the bar itself and eventually the distributor and the brewery.

    I have a lof of respect for the people that don’t pay to play. I generally drink their beers more and frequent the bars that carry beers from all of the area distributors and local breweries that self distribute.


  5. Well said Tucker. The old game has had it’s muscle for so long, they just expect to be able to do this. But, thank God (or whatever), right? They just breed the need for craft beer bars and help them survive. And with the growth of home brewing, granting people a whole new perspective on beer drinking, the genuine craft beer market has much room to grow.


  6. Right Adam, 10&B’s sales are up, (if they are, I don’t know) because the same people who think MGD is good also love that “hefenwisen” blue moon, as far as I can tell.
    Also, perhaps they benefit from their parent company’s muscle and political contribution?

    Pardon my ignorance, but blue moon, leinenkugels, killians, et, et… do they have any actual craft beer?

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  8. Tenth and Blake sales are up according to quarterly earnings releases filed with the SEC.

    As to your question about whether they produce craft beer, they do not if you define the term as the Brewers Association does. Others that define the term more loosely may or may not consider some of those to be craft beers.

  9. Flying Dog should check through their distributor list. Coors is their distributor in Colorado that pays to keep them placed as a Colorado local brewery on the shelves

  10. Tim, have you had Big Eddy from Leinenkugels? It was an Imperial Stout that was rated a 99 from Ratebeer. I believe that is a craft beer. I guess it depends on your definition of craft beer. As for pay to play, it happens everywhere. If you see an account with a majority of taps from one distributor, more than likely something unethical occurred. Unfortunately, this happens because of the lack of good beer in their portfolio, sales skills, and the account. An account needs to be blamed as well for it wouldn’t happen if they wouldn’t accept these bribes. Go to your local craft ecccentric bar and from what I have seen this doesnt occur as often.

  11. I’m a Salesrep for a distributorship that sells MC products. We also sell Boulevard, Lucky Bucket and Empryean (craft beers from Nebraska), and Sam Adams. 10th and Blake is up huge in this area. Flying Dog is a joke in this area- and in most areas. In my experiences- tap handles are won because of the beer and the personal relationships you have with the bar. A good Salesrep isn’t going to push a beer on a bar that doesn’t sell. It doesn’t build a good relationship.

  12. The local DC miller coors distributor also distributes flying dog . Why would they pay to have one of their own draft lines replaced with something else they sell?

  13. Pat, for a sales rep you don’t know much about market share – as a local brewery to the DC region, Flying Dog is a popular, high selling beer. Your beers are a joke in these parts – so one can’t base their judgements on a major market based on the experiences of Nebraska. Things aren’t as down-home and old-timey here in the big city like they are in Nebraska; if you pay a bar owner to stock your product, they’ll stock it. One bar owner said it best to me, “bottom line or bust”.

  14. I’m a sales rep for a company a lot like Flying Dog but in NYC the world of “pay to play”. I know Tommy personally, he’s a good guy. It sucks in this industry when you walk into a brand new account and every single line is macro shit. You scratch your head and say “how could this have happened with all the great local breweries and how fast they are growing in sales in this area?” You introduce yourself to the bar manager or owner and before you can even start talking about your brewery and what you offer they say…”all our lines are spoken for”. The way these company’s operate is illegal in the state but there is no real governing power to enforce it. I’m in bars 24/7 and have never met an SLA agent. Tommy’s frustration is warranted but I’d advise to brush it off because it’s just one line and when it gets taken down to craft taps will go up in its place…that is of course unless Miller Coors or AB Inbev buys those breweries 😉

  15. JB- never once paid for a beer handle. It’s against the law here. Flying Dog isn’t available on draft here. Not one tap handle. It might sell in DC… Must be a Great seller…

  16. Seems to me the guy was simply venting his frustration and immediate thoughts (as people do on Twitter). I think HE realizes it’s not a huge scandal and is commonplace, but was just pissed at the moment.

    I’d think it was a bigger issue if the sales rep did…by doing something like reporting it to authorities.

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