With exactly one zillion breweries operating across America, distribution news is always a steady constant in the CBB mailbox. Every week, we get 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! If you have distribution news, send it to [email protected].
Athletic Brewing inks deals to have its non-alcoholic beers on JetBlue
Athletic Brewing Co., America’s leading producer of non-alcoholic craft beer, announced earlier this month that JetBlue will become the first major U.S. airline to sell non-alcoholic beer at 35,000 ft. That’s pretty cool. Beginning this May, JetBlue customers will be able to enjoy Athletic Brewing’s award-winning Upside Dawn Golden on all domestic flights.
“We’re excited to take flight with JetBlue and allow flyers to relax at 35,000 feet with a great-tasting alternative to full-strength brews,” said Bill Shufelt, Athletic Brewing cofounder and CEO. “This is a huge milestone for Athletic and a key partnership for us in the travel industry.”
According to a recent survey, one-third of Americans are trying to consume less alcohol in 20231. At the same time, year-to-date dollar sales of non-alcoholic beer are up 34 percent2. Athletic Brewing is the second-largest non-alcoholic beer brand in the United States, with dollar sales growing 94 percent3.
As the demand for non-alcoholic beverage options continues to grow, Athletic Brewing’s Upside Dawn will provide a refreshing alternative for JetBlue customers who want to enjoy a brew without the effects of alcohol.
“In our continued effort to provide customers with an onboard experience customized to their needs and preferences, JetBlue is proud to be the first major U.S. airline to serve non-alcoholic beer,” said Mariya Stoyanova, director of product development, JetBlue. “We’re thrilled to partner with industry leader Athletic Brewing to offer our customers the refreshing, balanced taste of a classic craft Golden without the alcohol.”
Upside Dawn is a bright and light-bodied brew that has been crafted to remove gluten4. Crisp with floral and earthy notes, it is made with premium Vienna malt and a combination of English and American hops. Upside Dawn contains just 45 calories and 10 grams of carbohydrates5.
Launched in 2018, Athletic Brewing developed a proprietary brewing method to craft its award-winning non-alcoholic beers. The company doesn’t rely on any alcohol removal techniques and fully ferments its brews to be less than 0.5% ABV, which is the legal limit for non-alcoholic beer in the United States.
- 1 NCSolutions consumer sentiment survey of 1,000 Americans.
- 2,3 NielsenIQ, Total US xAOC + Liq Plus + Conv, CYTD ending 3/25/23.
- 4 This product is fermented from grains containing gluten and crafted to remove gluten. The gluten content of this product cannot be verified, and this product may contain gluten.
- 5 Average Analysis per 12 fl. oz. — Calories 45, Carbohydrates 10 g, Protein <1 g, Fat 0g.
Wiseacre Brewing expands distro to central and south Florida
Wiseacre Brewing Co. recently announced new distribution in central and south Florida via Progressive Distributing. Three of the Memphis-based brewery’s year-round beers — Air Bath Session IPA, Gotta Get Up to Get Down Coffee Milk Stout, and the Great American Beer Festival Bronze Medal-winning Tiny Bomb Pilsner — will be available along with seasonal and specialty releases in Total Wine and Whole Foods stores across Florida, as well as in many other stores, bars and restaurants.
Wiseacre’s Tiny Bomb has grown to become the No. 4 Craft Pilsner in the country, growth fueled in part by the state-of-the-art production facility Wiseacre built in downtown Memphis in 2020, which quintupled the brewery’s previous capacity. The new facility also led to the development of new beers and the creation of new packaging options, which include 12-, 16- and 19.2-oz cans coming in six-packs, four-packs, 12-packs, variety packs and single-serve.
“In my time at Wiseacre, I’ve seen the industry evolve at each tier, but Tiny Bomb has anchored us in every wave of change and will continue to be the compass that guides us forward through whatever obstacles and opportunities lie ahead,” said Amanda Thompson, new COO of Wiseacre Brewing. “We are just starting to package off of our four new 300-bbl fermenters, and it couldn’t come at a better time. This recent equipment expansion is what’s making it possible for us to get our beer in the hands of our fans in central and south Florida. Florida is definitely a competitive market, but our focus on an amazing Pilsner continues to be a strategy that resonates with our distributor partners. We are getting great enthusiasm from our distribution partner Progressive and we feel confident that it will trickle down to retailers and customers.”
Wiseacre is currently sold in Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, D.C., and Wisconsin, meaning that Wiseacre fans in a total of 20 states and the District of Columbia can buy their Wiseacre favorites closer to home.
Rupee Beer continues quick expansion across U.S., now includes North Carolina
Rupee Beer is on a mission to bring Indian craft beer to the world, and the brand recently announced its expansion into the South, starting with North Carolina, with more southern states lined up in coming weeks. Rupee Beer is specially brewed to pair with Indian, spicy and world cuisine by world renowned master beer brewer and Indian chef. It is the first Indian-inspired beer to bridge the gap between world cuisine and craft brewing, with placement at select Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, Costco & Total Wine locations.
Rupee is growing the presence of its multi award winning lager at 4.75% ABV fast, with availability across 12+ states. Brothers Van & Sumit Sharma, sons of Indian restaurateurs in the business internationally for over 45 years, found themselves continually frustrated they could not find any Indian beer in Maine.
They decided to not only create their own beer, but set out to game change the food and beverage industry in a bold and diverse way. The Sharma brothers strategically partnered with global craft brewing legend Alan Pugsley, 40+ year master beer brewer, lover of Indian food as a British expat and creator of over 80+ global beer brands, to create Rupee Beer and rewrite everything society understands about craft lager as it relates to spicy world cuisine.
Brewed with pristine quality in mind and premium rice, maize, malt and three types of hops, Rupee Beer dismantles the traditional lager experience by lowering levels of carbonation to allow for a more comfortable and enjoyable dining experience.
Northern California’s Markstein Sales purchases Bay Area Distributing
Markstein Sales Co., the largest woman-owned and operated wholesale beverage distributor in Northern California, recently announced that it has bolstered its product portfolio through the purchase of key brand distribution rights for multiple products from Bay Area Distributing. Through this agreement, Markstein will now be able to provide its customers with even more well-known national brands, as well as local brands, ensuring that all quality beer and beverages have the same opportunity for purchase on the store shelves.
Both Markstein and Bay Area Distributing have deep roots and commitment to their local communities. Bay Area Distributing was established in 1972 by Ken Sodo who recently announced his retirement from the company. Likewise, Markstein has been a strong supporter of the northern California community for more than 100 years and has grown and expanded its business to service more than 3,000 retail accounts in Contra Costa and Alameda counties.
“We wish Ken the best of luck in his retirement as he trusts Markstein to continue bringing the community a strong mix of large and small beverage brands,” said Laura Markstein, president of Markstein Sales Co. “As a company with more than 220 employees living locally, we are proud of supporting our community, whether that is through sponsoring events, funding local organizations, volunteering our time, or helping hard-working local beverage companies get on the coveted store shelf. We work in, live in, and love this community and we are always looking for ways to provide the best service, products, and support to the best region in the world.”
New brands coming to Markstein
Some of the additional brands Markstein will now be able to provide its customers include:
- Alcoholic Beverages — Asahi, Bear Republic, Drakes, Dust Bowl, Famosa, Farmers, Full Circle, High Water, Shadow Puppet, and Two Pictures
- Non-Alcoholic Beverages — Calypso, Nestle, and Poppi
Hensley Beverage completes acquisition of Premier Distributing, moves into New Mexico
Hensley Beverage Co., one of the largest beverage distributors in the nation, has completed the acquisition of New Mexico based Premier Distributing Co. This acquisition adds around 7.5 million cases to Hensley’s portfolio.
“This is a new day for Hensley Beverage Co. as we expand our geographic footprint outside of Arizona,” Andy McCain, president and COO of Hensley Beverage Co., said. “We have known the Premier organization for many years and are excited that they have entrusted our company to continue their legacy. We look forward to getting to know the Premier team and integrating them into the new combined organization.”
Already the leading distributor of craft, domestic and import beer, spirits, fine wine and non-alcoholic beverages throughout Arizona, Hensley Beverage Co. will now expand its sales and service of Anheuser-Busch InBev beverages throughout the majority of New Mexico. Hensley Beverage Co. will continue to operate all the New Mexico locations as Premier Distributing Co., while welcoming the addition of 300 new employees in Albuquerque, Las Cruces, Santa Fe, Clovis, Farmington and Gallup.