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Breweries Distribution

Brash Brewing to Leave Flood Distribution for Ben E. Keith

Houston’s Brash Brewing Company is leaving Flood Distribution for Ben E. Keith. Flood’s Kyle White confirmed the departure and stated, “We wish them well in the future.” Full statement below.

If you ask any Houston beer nerd for the most exciting developments in recent months, you’ll likely hear an answer that includes mention of Brash Brewing and Flood Distribution. Brash, after its start as a contract brewery in Massachusetts, under the leadership of Petrol Station’s Ben Fullelove, relocated and opened its Houston facility, Brashland, only four months ago, and immediately began churning out incredible beers. Meanwhile, in just barely two years of operations, Flood Distribution has brought, to Houston and Austin, an incredible portfolio of beverages that include Oasis Texas, Jester King, Virtue Cidery, To Øl, and, recently announced, The Bruery.

And, as the same beer nerds above will tell you, it makes perfect sense for two local Houston beer-loving establishments such as these to be in a partnership, as was the case for the past four months. Thus, it comes as a shock that Brash has chosen to relocate their distribution to Ben E. Keith, the Fort Worth-based fourth-largest distributor in America, whose business is most associated with Anheuser-Busch InBev products.

Ben E. Keith has always had a craft focus, however, and recently has expanded their craft portfolio to include new distribution contracts for Whole Foods Brewing, Conroe’s B-52 Brewing, and Smuttynose. Through recent actions, it’s clear that Ben E. Keith sees craft as an important part of their business, and the Brash contract will certainly bolster that in Houston.

How this impacts Flood remains to be seen, though one could speculate that the hit from Brash will be somewhat mitigated by the upcoming Bruery launch, as well as the Cantillon approvals that are gradually occurring. Flood Distribution’s Kyle White, when asked about Brash’s decision, stated simply, “Brash made a decision to leave based on what they believed to be best for their business. As a fundamental principle, we don’t use state franchise laws to imprison brands who are not interested in working with us. We wish them well in the future.”

The statement’s mention of “state franchise laws” alludes to the curious niche in Texas alcoholic code that allows a distributor to essentially lock up a contract with a brewery forever, or until such time as both parties agree to part ways. Flood, acting as an independent and craft-focused distributor, chose not to exercise this right in business with Brash.

As to what may have triggered this change, Houston Beer Guide has only heard rumors and speculation and cannot reasonably comment. At this time, representatives from Ben E. Keith and Brash Brewing were unavailable for questioning. Should this develop further, we will of course update. In the meantime, we wish nothing but success for both Houston businesses, regardless of the circumstances.

Update (2/16/16):  This morning, we received the following statement from Ben Fullelove from Brash Brewing: “The only thing we really have to say is, we love making beer and we will continue to make Houston proud by making the most kickass liquid we can possibly make.”

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