Pietra (Corsican) Beer?
I know this is a long shot, but I figured that if anyone would know it would be my fellow Chowhounds. My husband and I fell in love with this beer last year in Corsica and I would like to surprise him for his birthday with some. It's proving to be harder to find than I thought. Has anyone seen this beer imported anywhere in the Chicagoland area or see a place I could have it shipped? I've tried Binny's and other similar large stores to no avail. Any suggestions?
I thought I had posted my response before, right around January 22nd, 2009, but it seems that it never made it up. It may be too late for your husband's birthday, but here's the response I posted (or tried to post) earlier:
I am a Regional Manager with Shelton Brothers and we recently began importing both the Pietra and Colomba from Brasserie Pietra. We do distribute in Chicagoland, through Windy City Distributors, so you should be able to go into any good beer shop in the area and request it. We have plenty in our warehouse, so our distributor can easily order it for any retailers near you. But I suppose this depends on how soon your husband’s birthday is approaching. If a shop doesn’t already have the beer in stock, it could take a few weeks to get it in. If it’s coming up soon, my first suggestion would be to go to West Lakeview Liquors, located at Addison and Leavitt. They are generally a great place to check for any specialty beer. Their website (www.westlakeviewliquors.com) notes that they received some Pietra at the beginning of December, so they may still have some left.
If you need other options, check with Windy City at 630-836-9503 or email@example.com. I’d suggest places myself, but due to the three-tier system of alcohol distribution in the US, we are unable to keep a complete list of all the places that sell our beer. We must first sell to distributors, who then sell to retailers, who then sell to consumers, so we don’t always have direct contact with all the shops that carry our products. However, Windy City should be able to point you in the right direction.
On a related note, regarding the comments others have made on how to find imported beer, the TTB Public Cola Registry is not always the most accurate method of searching, although it can certainly be a good place to start. While it's necessary for an importer to submit labels to the TTB before (legally) importing a beer, this doesn't necessarily imply that they'll ever actually bring that beer in. Also, they don't need official authorization from the brewery to submit a label for approval or even to get it approved. Approval from the TTB just means that the label meets all the legal requirements to sell that beer in the US.
We are the exclusive US importers for Pietra, and the brewery hasn’t sold their beer to anyone else in the US for at least two years prior to sending us our first order this past fall. Any Pietra with labels other than ours, therefore, would have to be at least that old. I’d recommend staying away!
Generally, your best bet for determining the importer of a beer is to check the brewery’s website. In this case, Pietra lists all their exporters under their “Contact” section: http://www.brasseriepietra.com/en/pgs/export_en.htm. Once you know the importer, you can contact them to find a distributor near you, who can help you find a shop that sells the beer you are looking for, as I mentioned above. Complicated, right? But that’s US law for you! In our case, we list the distributor for each state on our website, http://sheltonbrothers.com/distribution/.
I hope all this helps. If anyone has any questions, feel free to write us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Let us know how your husband enjoys his Pietra, quimbydog!
IT WOULD APPEAR THERE APPARENTLY IS A US IMPORTER IN ELMHURST, ILLINOIS (just outside Chicago):
Here it is the beer you requested on beer advocate:
when I hit the locate this beer button this address and phone number appeared and as luck would have it its in Illinois... so give em a ring. (PS it was last seen at this store on 12-14-2008 09:13:31 UTC)
526 W. North Ave.
Elmhurst, Illinois, 60126
United States 08-04-2008 17:37:56 UTC
phone: (630) 279-6835
[ view reports ]
Link to the above info: http://beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/14985/?view=beerspy
You can try their website you can register an account for free: http://beeradvocate.com/ They have a "beer trade" kinda like a beer ebay matching service: "Beer Trading for individual beer trades; in search of or for trade."
I hope this helps.
Nice find. When I clicked on that the other day, I kept getting a blank screen (BA's been overloaded lately) and just assumed it was not a US source, given the reviews.
But, note that that is a *retailer* not an importer. Of course, being in Illinois that's great for the OP, since it means the beers are distributed in her state.
One way to "guess" if a beer is available in the US as an import is to check the reviews on Beer Advocate. http://beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/2977/7195/?view=beer&sort=latest&start=20 The fact that there are less than 30 reviews, and the vast majority of them are from European reviewers (on a predominantly US based site) would certainly suggest there is no US importer.
(Another method is to check the US Gov't TTB's site- https://www.ttbonline.gov/ but it's down today).
Shipping beer from Europe is extremely expensive (due to the weight of bottled beer) and of questionable legality in most states.
TTB's site is back up. This company got a label approval (necessary to legally import beer into the US) for the beer last year-
4031 TUGWELL ST
FRANKLIN PARK, IL 60131
Phone Number: (847) 678-0685
Fax Number: (847) 678-0685
And in 2008, Shelton Brothers also got an approval-
Remember, these are importers. They sell to local distributors, who then (hopefully) stock a local retailer with the beer.