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Bissell Brothers Brewing, a young but highly regarded brewery in Portland, Maine, found itself at a crossroads in 2015.

Thanks to an onerous law that limits what brewers can legally self-distribute in the state, the company was faced with the reality that it would soon have to sign on with a wholesaler if it wanted to keep growing. That notion didn’t agree with the company’s vision of the future, however, as it didn’t want to hike prices or take diminished profits, the likely outcome of partnering with a wholesaler that would take a hefty commission.

So it decided to forge a different path. Rather than sign on with a traditional wholesaler, Josh Schlesinger, who had long been in charge of Bissell’s distribution in-house, would instead branch out and build an entirely separate distribution business of his own, one that took a smaller cut of the brewer’s revenue but maintained a fanatic devotion to the Bissell brand. Sleek Machine Distro officially launched in August.

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