Inspired by distribution struggles many Louisiana craft brewers face, Baton Rouge entrepreneur Christoper Peneguy has launched a distribution company focusing on American craft beers.
Louisiana law currently forbids brewers from directly distributing their own products, and Peneguy, who also owns Cafeciteaux Coffee Roasters, says he’s seen many smaller craft brewing companies struggle to get noticed by the larger distributors in Baton Rouge.
“Many brewers really have limited access to the market,” Peneguy says, adding larger distributors represent larger name-brand beers and are incentivized to sell those because they historically move more volume. “They’re at the mercy of these distributors for anything and everything they want to release.”
Peneguy launched Pelican Craft Brands, located on Airline Highway near Southern Craft Brewing Co. this summer.
The company currently has four Louisiana breweries signed, including Rally Cap Brewing Company and Istrouma Bière République, which will open soon in both Baton Rouge and St. Gabriel. Pelican Craft Brands will also assume distribution for Peneguy’s Cafeciteaux Coffee Roasters. Peneguy says he is working to close deals with eight more breweries, some out of state.
Pelican Craft currently has two part-time employees, and Peneguy plans to expand the staff to 10 full-time positions by the end of the year.
“The current system is disruption to free enterprise,” Peneguy says. “Everyone should be able to start a business and be able to control their own destiny, and right now, they just can’t.”