It appears that some so called “beer geeks” don’t understand basic craftbeer distribution. If you ask me these aren’t real “Beer geeks” or even “beer snobs” just people who are reading lists in publications like Esquire and Men’s Health and feel the need to try everything listed and hell, I’ll say it they come off more as hipsters sometimes.
Here it is in the most simplistic form without getting very very detailed. In order for a brewery to sell beer in any given state a few things most happen.
First, they most license the beer they intend to sell with the state liquor authority by filling out appropriate forms and paying appropriate fees. Then they. need to find a distributor to help sell and deliver that beer to the various venues selling it, (very small breweries have exceptions and can self distribute). These are the two most basic rules now here is the part people don’t seem to get.
Breweries need to be able to meet the demand of a certain market!
People you need to remember we are talking about craftbeer here and not Budweiser or Coors that have facilities all over and in many cases through loopholes own distributors too. A brewery like Russian River, New Beligum, Bells, Three Floyds, etc … (ones not here in NYC) can only produce so much beer a year. The reasons for this are many but the most simplistic answer to the question “Why?” is because they only have so much equipment and can only brew so much beer.
Also, in some states they are limited to the amount they can brew per year based upon licensing and other local laws.
So next time you are shopping for beer and ask a clerk for a certain beer and they give you a blank stare or a dumb look, try to do your research and make sure what you are asking for is even available in your market.