With exactly one zillion breweries operating across America, distribution news is always a steady constant in the CBB mailbox. Every week, we get virtual piles of announcements on new alliances, upcoming state expansions and even reductions from breweries growing and shrinking their distribution footprints. Here is some of that wholesaler news. Enjoy!
Iowa’s Toppling Goliath partners with Alliance Beverage to expand into western Michigan
Craft beer enthusiasts have come from all over the globe to experience the award-winning barrel-aged stouts and IPAs Toppling Goliath Brewing Co. is renowned for. Although the trip to Toppling Goliath brewery in rural Iowa has helped cultivate the brand’s affinity shared by legions of fans, beer connoisseurs in western Michigan are now able to enjoy Toppling Goliath brews closer to home.
Toppling Goliath recently announced the expansion of distribution in Michigan to include 38 additional counties located in northern and western portions of the state.
“Toppling Goliath is so excited to join the team with Alliance Beverage Distribution to complete our coverage in Western and Northern Michigan. The state is such a great beer destination and we are honored to be a part of their craft beer scene. The skill and market awareness that Alliance has makes for a great partnership in the craft beer world,” said Clark Lewey, owner of Toppling Goliath.
Through the distribution partnership with Alliance Beverage Distribution in Michigan, Toppling Goliath will be available this spring.
“All of us at Alliance Beverage are thrilled to partner with Toppling Goliath Brewing and their talented team of associates as we prepare for their upcoming market launch,” said Tim Wille, craft brand manager at Alliance Beverage Distributing. “Toppling Goliath has a reputation as one of the finest breweries in the country, and when you combine a world-class brewery with a world-class beer market like West Michigan, you create a recipe for long-term success. The Alliance team is excited and proud to start representing Toppling Goliath products throughout our distribution footprint this coming May,”
Minn.’s Indeed Brewing adds distribution in grocery store chains and convenience stores in Wisconsin
Indeed Brewing Co., headquartered in Minneapolis, has grown its presence in Wisconsin steadily since late 2017 when it started self distributing in the Milwaukee and Madison area. Its success in building relationships and seeing Flavorwave and Mexican Honey Light resonate with consumers helped lead to the decision to open a second taproom and pilot brewery in Milwaukee.
With a goal of expanding its reach across Wisconsin, Indeed Brewing Co. is adding distribution to grocery store chains and convenience stores. Flavorwave IPA and Mexican Honey Light American Lager are being positioned to be more widely available to consumers with doubled points of distribution this year. Both beers have proven to be a go-to choice for craft beer drinkers in Wisconsin for their exciting flavor while maintaining sessionability and an accessible price point.
“Flavorwave and Mexican Honey Light were immediate hits when we opened the Milwaukee taproom in 2019,” says Sales Director Ryan Bandy. “These beers have gained a steadfast following, and now we’re doubling our points of distribution to make them more ubiquitous.”
Over the last three years, Flavorwave has doubled in volume each year without adding different pack-types and is poised to be up 100 percent again in 2021 with added chain distribution. Mexican Honey Light has become Indeed’s second best-selling brand behind Flavorwave and will be slotted alongside Flavorwave in many sets. The lighter version of Mexican Honey Imperial Lager has gained a following in Wisconsin for its unique take on a lower ABV, low-calorie light beer.
“We’re excited for these beers to be more available for consumers at the places that they most frequently shop,” says Milwaukee Sales and Marketing Manager Jeff Gray. “It gives us the chance to continue making Flavorwave and Mexican Honey Light a common Wisconsin fridge beer. Pair your lawn-mowing New Balances with a Mexican Honey Light!”
The popularity of Flavorwave prompted distributors to request that the tropical and juicy IPA be packaged in 19.2-oz cans. The cans, which feature a minimalized design, will be a staple in all Kwik Trip locations.
“It’s really cool to see our 19.2 next to Bell’s Two Hearted and Lagunitas in Kwik Trip,” says Bandy. “We’re proud and humbled to be existing on the same level as some of these bigger craft breweries and seeing not only how much the industry has grown, but how we’re growing right there with it.”
21st Amendment heads to Hawaii with Republic National
21st Amendment Brewery just announced its portfolio of premium craft beers will now be available in Hawaii through a new distributor: Republic National Distributing Co. (RNDC). The second-largest wine and spirits distributor in the nation, RNDC began distributing the iconic San Francisco brewery’s beers and hard seltzers to retail stores, restaurants and bars on April 1. 21st Amendment Brewery is the 34th biggest craft brewery in America currently available in 33 states plus Washington, D.C. RNDC will enhance the regional retail presence and draft availability on several islands including Hawai’i, Maui, O’ahu, Kaua’i, Moloka’i, Lana’i, Ni’ihau, and many others.
The islands of Hawaii stretch along some 1,500 miles of idyllic and rugged coastlines with some of the world’s most exquisite beaches. 21st Amendment Brewery is thrilled to bring its beers to the eight major islands with their sweet island air and Hawaiian’s penchant for culture, cuisine, and handcrafted beverages. Epic coral reefs, incredible surf, Haleakalā National Park, fresh seafood, beach life and the island’s rich history make 21st Amendment’s Hell or High Watermelon Wheat or their newly launched SOMA Hard Seltzers a sublime companion for the perfect beach day.
“Over the years, Hawaii has been a second home to me,” says Shaun O’Sullivan, cofounder and brewmaster at 21st Amendment Brewery. “My family would travel there on vacations from southern California where the great Pacific Ocean was part of our backyard. I am vying to join our sales and marketing team and requesting relocation to represent the 21st Amendment there permanently. See you soon. Poke and beer. Mahalo!”
“This is a natural progression for us to expand our distribution to Hawaii. Our beers are built for Pacific Coast enjoyment and the thought of a refreshing Hell or High Watermelon Wheat on the beach in Hawaii sounds like paradise,” adds Nico Freccia, cofounder/COO of 21st Amendment Brewery.
“RNDC is excited to partner with 21st Amendment Brewery in Hawaii and we look forward to their growth and success in our market,” comments Republic National Distributing.
Born in the San Francisco Bay Area and masterminds of beloved fruit beers, 21st Amendment welcomes 2021 with limitless innovation and discovery for its community of rabid beer fans. 21st Amendment goes big for its Anniversary year with an array of new releases: SOMA Hard Seltzer (March 2021); Moon Boots IPA in partnership with the Pink Boots Society (April 2021); Brew Free! Or Die Tropical IPA (June 2021); Tasty Double Hazy (June 2021); 21st Amendment Anniversary IPA (July 2021); 21st Amendment Hoppy Pilsner (September 2021); and new seasonal flavors of Mango and Pomegranate in the Hell or High line.
NA beer expert Hairless Dog is now available in Walmart stores in Missouri and Ohio
Hairless Dog Brewing Co. recently announced the rollout of its popular brews to Walmart stores in Missouri and Ohio. Citra Lager and IPA cans are now available in more than 50 locations throughout the two states. Stores will be offering six-pack cases for $8.98 each.
Consumers who want to avoid alcohol without compromising flavor seek out nonalcoholic beers, but some brews contain as much as 0.5 percent alcohol. Unlike category competitors who brew their NA beers with alcohol and then boil it off (a process which leaves some alcohol behind but also changes the flavor of the beer in the process), Hairless Dog Brewing Co. invented an innovative brewing process in which alcohol is never introduced, making them the first 0.0 percent ABV craft NA beer in the country.
“We have been shipping our products to the lower 48 states, but our partnership with Walmart allows us to expand our physical footprint in the Midwest,” commented CEO and Cofounder Jeff Hollander. “We cannot wait for customers around the United States to sample our NA craft brews.”
“No other retailer provides small businesses with as many channels and avenues to success, and we’re thrilled with their response to Walmart’s first-ever virtual Open Call event,” said Laura Phillips, Walmart senior vice president for global sourcing and U.S. manufacturing. “It’s truly inspiring to see the strong entrepreneurial spirit of the participants. Despite the challenges small businesses faced last year, they brought incredible energy, innovation and ingenuity to their product pitch meetings, and we are excited about what this means for our customers, our communities and our commitment to source an additional $250 billion in U.S. manufactured products that support American jobs.”
Hollander and Paul Pirner established the company after both deciding to opt for a life free of alcohol and their desire to make an NA beer that people wanted to drink for what it was rather than what it wasn’t. Hairless Dog Brewing currently has four styles of craft beer available, all of which are 0.0 percent ABV, including an IPA, Citra Lager, Coffee Stout and Black Ale — with new flavors slated for release in 2021.
Ceria Brewing launches NA craft beer in Texas and Puerto Rico
Ceria Brewing, cofounded in 2018 by creator and former Blue Moon brewmaster Keith Villa, Ph.D., recently announced the continued growth of its non-alcoholic craft beer with its spring 2021 launch into Texas and Puerto Rico.
This brings to 18 the number of states and U.S. territories where the brand’s non-alcoholic (NA) Grainwave Belgian White Ale and NA Indiewave West Coast style IPA are available in liquor, grocery and convenience stores, through a total of 39 distributors.
Expansion into Texas
In Texas, Ambiente Beverage, founded in 1989 and based in Austin, will begin distribution of Ceria NA to fine retailers such as H-E-B Grocery, Central Market and Whole Foods, according to Ambiente Partner Michael Salas.
“Working with Keith and knowing his passion for quality makes it exciting to partner with Ceria early in an expanding category. His prior relationships will help foster and educate the market about the non-alcoholic craft beer segment,” said Salas.
Ambiente Opco, LLC is one of the largest value-added distributors of craft beer, fine wine, artisan sprits and specialty beverages in the State of Texas.
First NA craft beer in Puerto Rico
Ceria is the first NA craft beer available in Puerto Rico. The company signed with Ballester Hermanos Inc., founded in 1914 and headquartered in Catano.
“As the interest and popularity of NA Beers have increased in the U.S. market, we wanted to partner with a great startup company and a well respected veteran of the craft beer movement,” says Ballester Hermanos’ Craft Beer Portfolio Brand Manager José R. Maldonado Rodríguez.
“There are many reasons to enjoy an NA beer today. For years, we have seen consumers be more conscious of their own health with the selection of their brands. NA beers are not only for pregnant women, but also for those wanting a refreshing drink that provides recovery after exercise. Without compromising the quality or taste of their beers, CERIA has hit a home run with Grainwave and Indiewave.
“You can grab as many as you want without having a hangover the next day. It’s a real craft beer without alcohol,” says Maldonado.
Confirmed retailers include The House and Supermax
Among establishments on the island serving the brand is La Esquinita Beer Garden in Bayamón whose Owner Kike Fernández, says, “Beer fans in Puerto Rico have been missing a flavorful NA alternative. It’s finally here, and it’s awesome.”
Adds 16-year craft beer industry veteran and Certified Cicerone Zalika Guillory, owner of La Taberna Lupulo in Old San Juan, the first craft beer bar on the island, “Ceria NA beers allow you to enjoy the great flavor of craft beers without having to worry about how many you consume. La Taberna Lupulo is very excited to carry the brews of such a well respected veteran of the beer industry.”
Ballester Hermanos has a sales force of over 400 professionals who use the latest technology to serve more than 5,000 customers in Puerto Rico.
New alcohol-free Belgian-style white ale and West Coast IPA
Grainwave NA is a refreshing, medium-bodied Belgian-Style White Ale, containing only 77 calories, which is brewed with blood orange peel and coriander. It is then dealcoholized to 0.00 percent alcohol by volume (ABV), thus eliminating all alcohol.
Ceria Indiewave NA, at 99 calories, is a flavorful West Coast IPA that perfectly balances Cascade, Citra, and Amarillo hops with light caramel malts for a smooth citrusy character, then is also dealcoholized to 0.00 percent ABV.
Forecasting tremendous growth
The non-alcoholic beer market is anticipating tremendous growth in the coming years, according to Dr. Villa, who retired from MillerCoors in 2018 to start Ceria Brewing with his wife and co-founder Jodi Villa.
NA beer is the fastest growing segment of the global beer market. Currently an approximately $17 billion industry, according to IRI, it is expanding at a CAGR of 7.5 percent and is expected to reach $25 billion in 2024. In the United States, NA beer represents an approximately $728 million market, and at a CAGR of 38 percent, is growing faster annually than the global rate, according to IRI and CraftBrewingBusiness.com (that’s us!).
Dr. Villa adds, “Interest in better health and wellness, active lifestyles, and a reduction in alcohol consumption is fueling the NA trend.
“Beer drinkers realize an NA such as Grainwave or Indiewave offers the great taste of beer without any downside, especially during the pandemic when health and wellness continues to be top of mind,” the brewmaster says.
“There are no restrictions where or when it can be consumed. It’s the anytime, anywhere beverage — on the golf course or tennis court or while biking, hiking, fishing or performing numerous other activities where one needs to maintain their edge while enjoying a great tasting beverage.”
Ska Distributing adds Lone Tree Brewing to its portfolio
Lone Tree Brewing Co.’s collection of canned beers are now available in southwest Colorado through distribution partner Ska Distributing.
The friendship between these two Colorado craft breweries began when they served together on the Colorado Brewers Guild board of directors and stayed strong over the years through their commonality of a flagship Mexican-style Lager.
“John Winter of Lone Tree and I always bonded over similar values, beer styles like Mexican-style lagers and the fun atmosphere of both of our breweries,” says Ska Brewing Sales and Marketing Director Kristen Muraro. “When our Sales Rep Devin lived near Lone Tree Brewing he was one of their regulars. It was his initial idea to collaborate.”
In March of 2020, the team from Lone Tree traveled to Durango to brew a collaboration beer at Ska, and before they even made it home, Collaboration Fest was cancelled due to COVID-19. The pandemic might have stopped them from releasing this collaboration, but it couldn’t keep these breweries from continuing to work together.
“Fast forward to 2021 and we believe the collaboration was a successful failure,” said Dennis Stack, Lone Tree Brewing sales and marketing director. “The Southwest region of Colorado was the missing piece of our distribution footprint and the reputation Ska has built in the area made the decision a no-brainer— we admire what they do to build brands and enjoy working with their great people. We are beyond excited to explore this new chapter of distribution with a great team behind the wheel.”
To celebrate the partnership, Ska Brewing is tapping a guest keg of Lone Tree Vanilla Caramel Amber. This red-hued ale is enhanced with vanilla beans and caramel malt, with no additional sugar added. It will be on draft at world headquarters while supplies last.
Six packs of Lone Tree IPA, Mexican Lager, Strawberry Kiwi Blonde Ale, Red Ale, Peach Pale, Double IPA, and spring seasonal Pomegranate Wit, as well as Lone Tree’s Brewer’s Bundle mixed 12-packs are now available in Durango, Telluride, Ridgway, and Ouray through Ska Distributing. Find Lone Tree beers at Skyridge Liquors, Macs Liquors, WJ Doyle, 6th Street Liquors, and Wagon Wheel Liquors, with more to come.
Indiana’s Upland adds distribution in Chicago
Upland Brewing Co. is partnering with Heartland Beverage to distribute its celebrated portfolio of craft beer, blended hard seltzers and wood-aged sours throughout Chicago this spring. Founded in 1998, Upland Brewing is the third largest brewery in Indiana with eight locations, three unique breweries and national distribution. The anticipated launch in Chicago completes Upland’s statewide footprint in Illinois and further establishes the brewery’s regional presence.
Producing over 75 different beers each year, Upland spans the gamut from pantry staples to the wild and funky. The array of beers included in the launch feature popular regional favorites such as Champagne Velvet Pilsener and Patio Cat Summer Ale as well as limited release innovation brands like Two of Tarts, a gold medal winner in the gose category at the 2018 Great American Beer Festival, and the highly sought after Pawpaw Sour Ale with a fruiting rate of a half-pound of whole pawpaws per bottle.
The pawpaw plant is native to North America and grows throughout the Midwest.
“Pawpaw is a favorite among the brewers,” said Eli Trinkle, head sour brewer. “It creates unique tropical notes in the final product and as a native species, it’s a plant that many of us have growing in our own backyards.”
While Upland’s Champagne Velvet Pilsener may be new to some Chicago beer drinkers, originally brewed in 1902, this brand has a long history in the area. This genuine pre-prohibition pilsner, originally brewed by the Terre Haute Brewing Co., enjoyed regional fame as one of the country’s best-selling beers before prohibition put a damper on things. A faithfully recreated recipe based on handwritten notes from the original brewer, the “beer with a million dollar flavor” will be available in 12-packs and on draft.
Your next read? Maybe our Sober Up series of investigative reports. Check this out. “Sober Up: The nascent Michigan hop industry won’t survive without your help.”
“We receive multiple inquiries each month requesting where to find our beers and wood-aged sours in Chicagoland,” said David Bower, Upland president. “We’re excited to finally be able to connect Chicago-based fans to shelves and taps in the area.”
Rounding out the portfolio, Upland is featuring a unique variation on the popular hard seltzer trend. At 100 calories, 4.5 percent ABV and 0 grams sugar, Naked Barrel Hard Seltzer maintains hard seltzer standards but with exciting new twists. Oak-aged sour ale is blended with naturally fermented seltzer then fruited with real fruit for a bold, refreshing flavor and light tartness. Find it in variety packs featuring Tangerine, Cherry Lime and Grapefruit Hibiscus.
Find these new offerings on shelves and taps in Chicago starting this month at select bottle shops and on draught in beer-focused bars and restaurants, including The Beer Temple, The Open Bottle and Fuller House.