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Recommended beer distributors - Philadelphia area

larrybard Dec 17, 2009 06:51 PM

Can anyone recommend a beer distributor in the Philadelphia area -- preferably with very competitive prices (and of course a decent selection)? I'm in the Chestnut Hill area, and although Brewer's Outlet nearby has an excellent selection, frankly I'm not happy with their prices. While sometimes I take advantage of their uncommon offerings, when I want to stock up on cases of some common brews (e.g., Golden Monkey) I'd like to save some money, even if I have to drive a bit. Recommendations would be greatly appreciated, with the holidays approaching. Thanks!

  1. b
    Buckethead Dec 17, 2009 07:40 PM

    The best distributor in the city in my opinion is Bella Vista Beverage, on 11th a few blocks north of Washington Ave. I haven't really compared prices though, I just go there because they have the best selection.

    1. Delucacheesemonger Dec 17, 2009 09:20 PM

      Do not know re: prices, but Kunda and Beeryard in Wayne have a goos selection.

      1. n
        nolangti Dec 18, 2009 04:36 AM

        Beer Yard in Wayne has the best selection of any place in SEPA even though it is the size of a postage stamp. Exton Bev is right there with them. Wholesalers like BV only have their own brands, so you might not find everything you want, but Jordan and his crew are great. I shop on selection/service though, not price.

        1. b
          Boognish Dec 18, 2009 05:24 AM

          I think it's doubtful that you'd find a distributor whose prices are drastically cheaper than another's here in PA. I'm afraid you'll have to cross state lines to find better deals.

          Generally, like the other posters, I try to shop where I can find a wide range of selection if I'm shopping in PA.

          1. c
            categorialnovum Dec 18, 2009 06:25 AM

            I think you're missing the obvious answer, new jersey. Even with the $4 escape from jersey tax coming back over the bridge, it's worth it. Especially if you're going to pick up a bunch. There's a few places not that deep in, both on 38. Take 676 over the ben franklin bridge and split off onto rt 38 once you're across the river. The closest is canal's. Decent selection of cases and six packs, but the real reason to go there is to stock up on bottles of more obscure stuff that you'd go to a place like the foodery in philly for. A bottle of Delerium or roedenbach will set you back like $7 instead of $15 in a bottle shop. They have some pretty hard to find stuff, too, like the jolly pumpkin beers. The other place is a little further down 38, just past the cherry hill mall, total wine. It's more like a wal-mart or toys r us, and the selection, especially for cases and 6 packs, is accordingly larger. As you might expect, it's awesome for wine, too. One thing to keep in mind, is that even without the PA taxes, the PA beers, especially victory, tend to be cheaper in PA than NJ.

            I've heard a place called monster beverage is supposed to be pretty good, as well, but I've never been and i'm not exactly sure where it is.

            1 Reply
            1. re: categorialnovum
              Bigley9 Dec 18, 2009 06:56 AM

              Personally I go to Bella Vista Beverages, but I am shopping for selection not price and they have the best. If you are crossing state lines, consider Delaware (Total Wine right off 95 at 202, Kresson's, same exit, opposite direction on 202) where there is no state tax - saving 6 or 7 or 8 percent can add up esp if you are stocking up.

            2. b
              Bob Loblaw Dec 18, 2009 07:41 AM

              I really like having brewer's outlet right here in the 'hood.
              but then, one case of beer lasts us around 2 moths, so we don't worry about price quite as much.

              1. l
                larrybard Dec 18, 2009 10:42 AM

                Thanks to all for replies so far. I agree that for price it normally makes sense to go to DE or NJ (though the comment about PA beers being cheaper here is quite interesting; I didn't know that might be the case). I had read many favorable reviews about Bella Vista when I first started to search (on the internet) for some leads. I'm lazy, so not only are DE and NJ probably out of the question for 5 cases of beer, but with all the snow predicted for this weekend I am especially unlikely to venture far. On the other hand my son and I will probably be making a pilgrimage to Sarcone's for an Italian hoagie tomorrow (Saturday), so it may make sense to stop by Bella Vista then.

                5 Replies
                1. re: larrybard
                  rwclax Dec 18, 2009 11:47 AM

                  I would also like to find another option for beer in NW Philly. I just left Brewers Outlet 5 minutes ago. They had cases of Yuengling Lager and Yuengling Variety cases both marked for $20.49. Then tried to charge a few dollars more for the variety pack even though the sign clearly stated the variety pack was also $20.49. First they said the variety pack would still cost me $20.49 because they made a mistake but then they refused. I know it's only a few dollars but I'd rather take my business elsewhere.

                  1. re: rwclax
                    categorialnovum Dec 18, 2009 12:15 PM

                    I used to do brewer's outlet when I lived in Mt. Airy, and while the selection wasn't bad, i found it kind of annoying, especially because of the lack of pricing. Javie's on umbria st. in manayunk is pretty good on selection and solid on price. Doc's world of beer in the andorra shopping center (where ridge and henry merge) is small, but compares extremely well on selection and price. They just seem to rotate their stock more often. The best thing about this place is that every case of beer has an individual bar code stuck on the side with the price, so you know exactly what you're looking at, no looking at a sign 20 feet above 5 different beers.

                    There's also a drive through distributor on the other side of manayunk (the side closer to lincoln drive) on ridge. It's ok, but it's not the kind of place you really feel like browsing with traffic going through the middle and all.

                    I've been bouncing around the NW for the last few years and the options aren't that great in the mt. airy / chestnut hill area (aside from brewer's outlet) Depending on where you hang your hat, it might be easier to go out towards lafyette hill or flourtown.

                    1. re: categorialnovum
                      discndav Dec 18, 2009 01:05 PM

                      Stone's Beverage on Fairmont Av has a good beer selection but I don't know how their prices compare.

                  2. re: larrybard
                    MLTimes Dec 18, 2009 03:34 PM

                    I'm willing to trade off paying a few dollars more per case for convenience and selection-- so it's Stone's (near work) and Bella Vista (near home) for me.

                    1. re: larrybard
                      Delucacheesemonger Dec 19, 2009 02:52 PM

                      Pa generally cheaper than Maryland for beer by far.

                    2. Den Dec 19, 2009 05:40 AM

                      Whitemarsh Beverage in Lafayette Hill on Germantown Pike is my go to spot near home but I also go to a big place in Springhouse on Bethlehem Pike behind the old Pike Diner. They seem to have very good prices.

                      For those beer drinkers who like a nice heavier winter brew try Sam Smith's Winter Welcome.

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