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Jun 28, 2008 05:30 PM

How can I get Bell's Oberon in Los Angeles?

Hi guys. All my Michigander friends are dying this summer in Los Angeles without their Oberon beer. The website doesn't sell directly to consumers.

I was wondering if any chowhounders had a "source" or knew where to get some in LA. I was thinking possibly Whole Foods could special order it since they seem to carry it in other states (at least from what I've read on other posts). Any other places that might be good at special ordering or getting hard to find beers?

Thanks so much. I would love to get some for a great summer BBQ.

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  1. If a brewery doesn't have a deal with a wholesaler (distributor) in a particular state, no retailer in that state is going to be able to stock that beer. Alcohol is a regulated product and beer, in most cases and in most states, is distributed under the "three tier" system (brewery>wholesaler>retailer).

    There are retailers who will ship to out of state consumers, tho' that is illegal in certain states (the retailer usually will have a list on it's website) and, because bottled beer is heavy, the shipping is often equal to the cost of the beer. A list of "mail order" beer retailers can be found on this site-

    A more economical method (tho' somewhat labor intensive- finding the beer, packaging beer correctly for shipping) is to do a "trade" for the beer with someone in Bell's distribution area who might want some Southern California beer. Both the big beer sites, Beer Advocates and Rate Beer, have forums for "Beer trading".

    Of course, your "Michigander" friends could just as easily have someone back home do the same thing (saving the need to return the favor) but one should still check out the beer sites above for HOW to legally ship beer (US mail is illegal) and how to pack it for shipping.

    2 Replies
    1. re: JessKidden


      My beer-lovin' pops does Beer Advocate trades all the time. The packing and shipping are kind of a pain, but if you're a victim of the Wicked three-tier distribution system and can't get your hands on your favorite suds, it's worth it.

      1. re: LauraGrace

        Three-tier isn't really the villain in the case of many craft breweries, that rightly choose to sell in only certain areas.

    2. It is in California.I have friend who is a manager in the TOTAL system, they stock it.I
      used OBERON in a beer pairing/tasting class in DC last month.At that time there were still plenty of 12 oz bottles around,but the 5 litre mini-keg was getting tough to find.Bell's has a web site,I had a few questions,the response was promt,by a family member.Persue this wonderful beer,it's worth it.

      2 Replies
        1. re: lcool

          I'm not sure about northern California, but it Bell's isn't legally distributed to southern California at the moment. Any place that you do find it, it's gray market and should be treated as such (dubious quality control and all). I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure this is the case for the whole state, as I don't think they go west of the rockies. To bad too, they make great beer.

        2. The original comment has been removed
          1. Hi there. I'm also a fellow Michigander & am curious if we can start a petition to bring Bell's Oberon out to Cali. Does anyone know how we could do that? It's the best beer I've ever tasted!! Thanks.