We Want Better Beer & We Want It Now – Kurt Strickmaker

In Tennessee, when a brewery and a distributor agree to work together, it’s a big deal. That’s because once the contract is signed between the two parties, they’re stuck that way for life. The brewery and the distributor are married to each other. And don’t get me started on the divorce process. Let’s just keep it at this: it’s long and painful.

So if you want to be a beer distributor in Tennessee, building the list of brands you sell is not a process to be taken lightly. First, there has to be a demand for the product in the market. Otherwise, nobody will buy the beer that you’re trying to sell. Secondly, you need to make sure the product you’re selling is a quality product that will stay consistent and reliable over time. Thirdly, and most importantly, you need to ensure that the company you’re going to work with is run by people you truly enjoy being around. You are, after all, stuck with them forever.

Call him the Better Beer Guy, who started Bounty Bev with one goal in mind: bring the best American craft beer to Nashville.

Kurt Strickmaker has travelled all over the country to find the beer that Nashvillians want to drink. He’s responsible for the return of Dogfish Head, and the Nashville debut of Founders. He’s also brought fresh regional breweries like Good People and Wiseacre to the market. And the list of breweries that Kurt distributes is growing rapidly.

But you’d never know that Bounty Bev is burning on all cylinders. That’s because Kurt and his crew can always find the time to sit down and share a beer. “We always want to be the little guy”, he told me. “We want to get to know you.” That’s a sentiment that goes a long way in a town where a friendly personality is everything. Being personal and honest is how Kurt makes his business work. That’s why some of the best names in American craft choose to work with him.

To Kurt, building relationships is at the center of Bounty Bev. “Everybody has great beer”, Kurt says, “so we have to sell ourselves.” To loosely paraphrase, brewing and distributing great beer is the easy part. The difficulty lies in attaching your personality to the beer–making sure that everyone who drinks Jackalope Bearwalker Brown or Good People IPA knows that there’s a lot of personal care and investment in the pint.

So the next time you drink a tasty craft beer, thank the Better Beer Guy. It may have been his friendly personality that got it there in the first place.