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More from the local beer world

July 2, 2009 - 12:40 pm

Sam Chammas, owner of Whistle Stop Bar in South Park and co-owner of Live Wire, Starlite and Riviera Supper Club, got back to me after my deadline for this week’s story about the merger of two of San Diego County’s largest beer distributors, Mesa and Crest, into a new company called Crest LLC.

(Quick recap: smaller and mid-sized bars are complaining that there’s been a drop-off in customer service and, as a result, they’ve been turning to local/smaller breweries and distributors for their beer needs. This is significant because San Diego’s become a craft-beer mecca. If bars are switching out big-name beer taps for lesser-known beers, it gives the little guys a chance to get their product out there.)

“The consensus is a dramatic decrease in customer service,” Chammas wrote. “Doug from Riviera says they’ve missed delivery days. However Thad at Live Wire says things have been all good, but he credits retaining the same salesperson who is on it.”

(A lot of bar owners I talked to said some long-time sales reps, with whom they’d formed relationships, were laid off in the merger.)

Chammas included comments from Tim Mays, owner of The Casbah and co-owner of Starlite and Riviera, who said the plan is for Starlite to cut ties with Crest “in the next week or so.”

“Customer service is very very poor,” Mays wrote. “Reps seem to have given up in some instances on making an effort. Wrong deliveries – improperly filled out invoices, etc. etc.”

Meanwhile, I got an e-mail from David “Duke” Reyes, one of the brothers from Reyes Holdings, the international mega-distributor behind the Mesa/Crest merger.

“New Crest has been in business for 2 weeks,” Reyes wrote. “Give us a chance…. Please don’t crucify Crest just yet.”

2 Comments leave one →
  1. July 2, 2009 - 1:52 pm 1:52 pm

    There isn’t a better city for this to happen in. San Diego bars have so many great craft beers to choose from they shouldn’t be carrying the tasteless national stuff anyways. As more bars start carrying craft beer more brand awareness will be built up and fewer consumers will want the national stuff.
    Everyone benefits (except for the national corporations that don’t really care about anything local).

  2. July 2, 2009 - 2:00 pm 2:00 pm

    San Diegans are spoiled to have such a great variety of bars serving such a great variety of beers. No more corporate beers on tap? Good riddance! Try a new brew from a local/indie/craft and support your local bar/beer community — you may be surprised at how enjoyable a quality craft brew can be.

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