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17th Star Distributing Bringing More Craft Beer to Columbus

Ayana Wilson Ayana Wilson 17th Star Distributing Bringing More Craft Beer to ColumbusPat Lombardi and Greg May of 17th Star Distributing — Photo by Walker Evans.
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Did you know the state of Ohio is represented by the 17th star on the US Flag? Well, it is. And did you also know that craft beer distribution has been not been able to keep up with the demands of craft beer production? Well, it hasn’t. And what do these two things have to do with each other?

Well, 17th Star Distributing is the name of the newest beer distributor in the state, and Greg May and Pat Lombardi, founders of 17th Star, are doing something that’s completely unique: they’re only distributing craft beer. No large domestic brands. No wine. Just craft beer.

The idea for 17th Star began when Lombardi, recognizing that a revolution was taking place in the beer world with the swift emergence and popularity of craft brews, decided to capitalize on his position as a beer and wine salesman.

He saw the need for a distributor that was focused on the little guy, and after sharing his idea with May, an attorney-turned-BW3 franchise owner, the guys jumped, head first, into the business, and haven’t really come up for air since then.

“Craft beer is not a fad; it’s a movement. It’s a shift in how we think about beer,” shares May. ” We realized that the beer business is rapidly changing everywhere except in the distribution segment. That’s why we came to be. Smaller brewers need a distributor more able to meet their needs.”

The first brewery to use 17th Star’s services was Cismontane Brewing out of California who makes Coulter IPA. Soon after that, they began distributing for Wiedmann, the “every man craft beer” people,  in Columbus and its environs.

Millersburg Brewing and Cellar Dweller Brewing are the only two Ohio-based breweries currently working with 17th Star, but there are plans in the very near future to start working with Actual Brewing Company.

For now, 17th Star distributes in Franklin and Delaware counties, but will extend their reach to the Dayton markets in the next few weeks. After that, they will inch their way to Cincinnati, hoping to begin distributing there later in the year.

Beers from 17th Star’s clients can be found at House Beer, Local Cantina, Arch City Tavern, and Savor Growl, among others. A complete list of breweries and their offerings is available at www.17thstar.com.

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