Upstart brand Shot Beer specializes in lagers — specifically selling them — not necessarily making them. The Minnesota beer brand’s flagship is Shot Regular, brewed with original German pilsner traditions, using sun-ripened Czech Saaz hops and premium 2-row malted barley. The brand and beer are aimed at young adults, and like many young companies today, it outsources its production department. It custom brews with Minhas Craft Brewery, in Monroe, Wis. According to an article from Minnesota’s StarTribune:
“Contract manufacturing is what most of the world does today,” said entrepreneur Scott Schwalbe. “Nobody really makes their own products. They outsource it. I said I would suspect that you could do the same thing in beer.”
Custom brewing is not a new concept, but not many craft brewers explore this route today (and it has the potential to be a cheaper initial alternative to investing in brewing equipment and supplies). Schwalbe is a part of Libertas Inc., the Rochester branded marketing company behind Shot Beer. Shot Beer debuted in bars in August 2012 and in liquor stores in February of this year. Last year’s sales totaled less than $50,000, a figure that was surpassed this year by Memorial Day, Schwalbe said in the article. The company has four full-time equivalent employees but hopes to raise money to make additional hires to expand its sales and marketing efforts.
“It’s for the folks that want a good premium beer but aren’t quite ready to drink one of the hoppier [craft beers] every day,” said Schwalbe, referring to hops-laden craft brews that deliver more bitterness than lagers. “The folks who like those still like a mainstream beer after mowing the grass or when they’re out on a boat. We’re trying to be positioned as the Midwest, the Minnesota brand to replace a Bud or a Miller. Once somebody tastes it, then we usually get them.”