Jack has posted his annual list of Delaware Valley GABF medal winners here (and an impressive list it is); Bil has all the Pennsylvania winners here (we were fifth in number of medals, just behind Washington, about where we usually wind up (actually, according to Uncle Jack, we actually took 14 medals, and so beat Washington and came fourth; check it out, the numbers don't lie); and the whole damned thing is here. Very nice, good beers, and all that.
But while we're puffing up the Delaware Valley, I just got news that the National Beer Wholesalers Association named Origlio Beverage their Craft Beer Distributor of the Year; and Clement Muller received their Craft Beer Distributor Recognition Award. That means we have the #1 and #3 craft beer distributors here in southeast PA. Not in volume or dollar sales, of course; this program recognizes the beer distributor who does the most to market, promote and sell craft beer.
Full disclosure: I do freelance writing for Origlio's newsletters and I've done some consulting and staff training for them. But from the time four years ago when I first met with them -- when their craft portfolio consisted of Samuel Adams...and Yuengling -- to now, the change has been incredible. I like to think the best advice I gave their salespeople was to be sure they actually knew the brands they were selling; because craft beer bar people could tell if they didn't.
But this was all Origlio. They have stepped up, built a huge and high-quality portfolio, trained a specialized sales force, and have encouraged bars that never before sold craft to take it on (and helped them to make it work). The best part of it, though, is why they did it. Origlio was doing fine: they had Coors Light, Corona, Yuengling, Guinness, Heineken, Tecate, and they had Sam Adams. But they saw how things were moving, particularly in Philly, and they wanted part of that future.
Hats off to Muller as well. They saw they needed to step up, and they have. Competition is one hell of a goad. They've expanded their portfolio, reached out to operators, made connections, and got smart.
Best part about this for you? These two wholesalers -- and the other top-notch wholesalers, large and small, in the area who are on their toes in this very competitive, varied, and fast-moving beer market -- get you the stuff, the rarities, the far-aways and small locals, the Belgians and the Danes, the Japanese and the Latvians, Lost Abbey, Founders, Russian River (suck that, rest of the east coast), the best beers around. Next time you trash-talk that Philly Beer Week slogan -- America's Best Beer Drinking City -- remember who brings it in.