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Distribution delays leave some beers in short supply in Central Texas

The distributor told the KVUE Defenders it is behind on its routes due to a surge in demand.

AUSTIN, Texas — It wouldn’t take you nine seconds to see why Shayla Neris loves nine-ball. You can find her shooting pool at least once a week at Skinny Bob’s Billiards in Round Rock.

“I play on a team with some of my girlfriends that I've also known for 30 years,” Neris said.

She spends most of her time serving as the pool hall’s general manager. 

Skinny Bob’s Billiards plays host to worldwide competitions, which creates a demand for a large beer inventory. But half of the inventory has faced delays and left Neris with nearly empty shelves.

The pool hall uses two distributors. Brown Distributing Company delivers products including Budweiser and Michelob Ultra. Its shipments, Neris said, are on time.

The other distributor, Capital Reyes Distributing, delivers national beer products like Miller and Coors, as well as regional beers like Shiner and Thirsty Planet. Capital Reyes has not delivered to Skinny Bob’s in weeks, Neris said.

Neris is not alone. A viewer sent the KVUE Defenders a photo from outside a convenience store in Granger, Texas. It showed the store has a limited supply of beers due to distribution problems.

Credit: Darryl Henry

Laurel Patrick, vice president of corporate affairs with Capital Reyes, wrote to the Defenders:

“Capital Reyes and the entire Reyes Beverage Group organization holds itself to high standards when it comes to market service levels, and we are taking concerted action to ensure we address unexpected issues that arose over the last few weeks.

“These actions include bringing in support from across the Reyes network and implementing new delivery routing to increase the number of our routes. While we did initially propose a temporary limit to the SKUs that we deliver, we are making changes based on feedback from our retailers and customers to ensure that all accounts are able to get the SKUs they need ahead of SXSW and other key events in the coming weeks.

“We are excited about joining the Texas market and the high demand for our partners' products. Local business trends have been very positive and we're adding to our team to keep up with demand.  We look forward to continuing to fulfill our purpose of connecting customers, consumers and brands every day, everywhere we operate.”

Patrick wrote the company has seen “incredibly high demands” and a positive business trend. The company sent 90,000 cases of beer throughout the Austin area on March 14 alone.

Capital Reyes is also hiring more personnel. The company website shows 23 job titles with availability in and around Austin. Jobs include a maintenance technician, marketing executive, finance and accounting associate, delivery driver, warehouse supervisor and a sales representative. Some positions advertise a sign-on bonus.

“I would be happy to go and pick up my own beer. I'll rent a truck. I'll get a friend's truck, whatever I need to do,” Neris said.

The Defenders dug through state law and the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission administrative rules. A TABC spokesperson confirmed that only people with specific permits can sell to retailers and only people with specific permits can deliver beer for anything other than personal use.

Records the Defenders found show a limited number of distributors in Central Texas. Capital Reyes is the sole distributor of some beers, including Miller products.

Patrick wrote that it may take a few days for deliveries to resume as normal.

Meanwhile, Shayla and other businesses will continue to wait.

If you have a story tip for the KVUE Defenders to investigate, email defenders@kvue.com 

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