Article written by Kenny Gould
Anyone who has attended a beer festival over the last year or two was probably spared the boring details of organizing the event: hiring staff, filling out paperwork, making sure beer actually hits the festival.
When you’re dealing with kegs of an alcoholic beverage, you can’t just use the United States Postal Service. First, you have to navigate interstate alcohol shipping laws, and then you have to ensure you’re paying a fair price, and keep track of your pallet as it moves across the country.
And when you’re getting product from not one or two but upwards of 100 different producers, it’s actually somewhat of a miracle that every keg makes it to the venue. The people responsible for this miracle? A small shipping company called Brew Movers.
What Is Brew Movers Shipping Logistics?
Founded as a one-man trucking operation, Brew Movers is the logistics operator of choice for hundreds of breweries around the country that use the operator to move beer for festivals, but also for supplies, raw ingredients, and anything else that ships on a pallet.
Over the past year, Brew Movers has worked with over 1,200 breweries to move beer, as well as over 28,000 tons of malt. Before COVID, they were set to coordinate 40 festivals this year.
How Did Brew Movers Get Started?
Brew Movers was founded in late 2017 by Brandon Arnold and Adrian Gram. The two co-founders met through their wives, who often attended the same coffee shop in the Plaza Midwood neighborhood of Charlotte, North Carolina.
At the time, Arnold was working for XPO Logistics, one of the biggest names in freight shipping. Born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, Arnold had spent his career in logistics, working for CH Robinson in Chicago before moving to Charlotte in 2013 to take a job with XPO.
On the side, Arnold purchased a single truck and ran general commodities across the country, “to see what it was like to own a truck and run my own business.” When he met Gram, the two bonded over a shared love of business and logistics.
“Adrian [Gram] has a pretty extensive business background and has run multiple companies,” says Arnold. “He’s a numbers guy and I’m a personality. So we balance each other well.”
How Did Brew Movers Get Into The Beer Industry?
Together, Arnold and Gram expanded Arnold’s trucking business. At the same time, they also became a freight broker.
“We’re the middlemen that help facilitate shipping,” says Arnold. “We go between people who ship and the companies who haul goods.”
In 2018, Arnold and Gram got a note from Southern Grist Brewing Co. in Nashville, Tennessee, that they needed help moving beer for their Anniversary Craft Beer Festival.
“We really hadn’t done any shipping of beer, craft beer, or hops,” Arnold says. “But we saw an opportunity — the guys at Southern Grist said, ‘We’re really struggling. We don’t know what we’re doing, we’re getting burned, and the current people we’re using are damaging our goods.’ So we said, ‘Cool. We know what we’re doing and we’ll help you out.’ And it snowballed.”
After successfully helping Southern Grist, Arnold and Gram got introduced to Andrew Kelley at Aslin Brewing in Herndon, Virginia, who also throws a 100+ brewery craft beer festival.
“Kelley gave us a shot because he was experiencing the same shipping issues,” Arnold says. “Once we heard that, we sat down and said, ‘If these guys are struggling, there are probably tons of other guys having the same problem. And that’s how Brew Movers got started.”
What Is The Future For Brew Movers?
From the Aslin Craft Beer Festival, Brew Movers got connected with Neighborhood Restaurant Group (Bluejacket, Churchkey, and The Sovereign, among others), and then Crooked Stave in Denver.
“The community is small,” Arnold says. “Everyone talks and everyone knows one another.”
Over the last few years, Arnold and Gram went from moving general commodities to almost exclusively servicing players in the beer industry. This includes getting beer to festivals, but also moving anything brewers might need: empty cans, fruit, malt, and hops.
“For years, brewers and suppliers were paying more than they should, and were having trouble tracking their shipments,” Arnold says. “That’s what we’ve tried to fix.”
The Brew Mover’s advantage comes in large part from Arnold’s experience in shipping; he and Gram have spoken with over 110 carriers to negotiate rates on behalf of the beer industry. Additionally, whereas brewers once needed to call dozens of freight companies to get quotes, Brew Movers built a web-based tool that aggregates shipping quotes in one easy-to-use interface.
But perhaps most importantly, the Brew Movers team “gets” craft beer.
“We’re craft beer lovers ourselves and we’re really focused on the industry,” says Arnold. “Another provider might have the capacity to do what we’re doing, but they’re not part of the community.”
Original Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/kennygould/2020/08/11/brew-movers-craft-beer-shipping-logistics/#2dc2375e4560