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! If you have distribution news, send it to [email protected].
Bell’s Brewery expands distribution into northern California and Montana
Bell’s Brewery recently announced that it will expand its distribution network into Montana and the northern regions of California. With this expansion, Bell’s now distributes its high-quality craft beer to 44 states, including Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. Bell’s beer is available at retailers now, including stores, bars and restaurants. This expansion allows Bell’s Brewery to distribute and sell product across the entirety of California, as its beer has been available in the southern regions since 2015.
“I’m thrilled to share our exceptional brews with craft beer drinkers in Montana and California, as these are key markets in our industry,” said Carrie Yunker, executive vice president of Bell’s Brewery. “Broadening into these regions marks an important milestone on our journey to become a nationwide brand, allowing more opportunity for people across the U.S. to enjoy Bell’s beer.”
Bell’s iconic, best-selling, dry-hopped American IPA, Two Hearted Ale, will expand to both markets in six- pack 12-oz cans, 19.2-oz cans and on draught. Montana will enjoy two additional offerings: Bell’s 12-pack 12-oz can Variety Packs which features Two Hearted Ale, Official, Juicy Gossip and West Coast Hazy, and for a limited time, its coveted seasonal wheat ale, Oberon Ale, in six-pack 12-oz cans and on draught.
Oberon will be available through September while supplies last, before making its return in spring 2023. The sales expansion also allows Montana and all regions of California to be eligible for Bell’s recently announced Inspired Giving philanthropy program. Launched in August 2022, Bell’s Brewery will donate $1 for every barrel of beer sold to organizations working to solve the world’s most pressing environmental and social challenges. Bell’s Inspired Giving initiative includes the brewery’s first-ever Grassroots Grant Cycle, with this year’s focus on allocating funds to organizations that are making an impact on clean water stewardship. For more information on the grant program, or to apply, visit bellsbeer.com/inspired-giving.
“What stands out most for our team is that this market expansion allows us to not only reach new communities, but to also grow our impact through philanthropic giving as a direct result of growing our business,” added Yunker. “We’re ecstatic to share our values of Inspired Brewing with a broader audience, and we’re eager to introduce our beloved brands to new fans across the country.”
To find Bell’s beer, please visit bellsbeer.com/beer-finder.
Chicago’s Cruz Blanca enters Texas (its third state)
Cruz Blanca Brewery continues to expand its distribution this year. After launching into the Wisconsin market in May, Cruz Blanca opened distribution in Texas beginning September 1 through Flood Distribution. Cruz is the first craft brewery in the United States exclusively dedicated to brewing craft cervezas. Texas is the third state for Cruz Blanca’s distribution.
The expansion into the Texas market was a natural next step for Cruz Blanca Brewery. “Launching Cruz Blanca cerveza into the Texas market feels like a coming home,” said Josh Allard, director of sales for Cruz Blanca who resides in Austin.
Cruz Blanca’s mission is to shake up the Mexican beer segment with a modern approach to brewing cervezas that capture Mexico’s obsession with refreshment and flavor. Its line of classic lagers and tropical ales include Mexico Calling Lager Especial, Vamos Vienna Lager, Palm Shade Hazy Tropical IPA, and La Floridita Sparkling Rosé Ale with hibiscus and passionfruit.
Allard isn’t the only Texas-native at Cruz Blanca. Head Brewer Jacob Sembrano was born and raised in Texas and began his career cooking in Texas kitchens. The transition from cooking to brewing was natural for Sembrano. After moving to Chicago to work in the booming culinary scene, he traded in his chef whites for brewing boots at Goose Island. In 2016, Sembrano cofounded Cruz Blanca with CEO Manny Valdes in Chicago’s West Loop neighborhood.
The original Cruz Blanca Brewpub and Taqueria opened its doors on Cinco de Mayo, offering Oaxacan-style tacos inspired by the famous smoke alley taco corridor in Oaxaca, wood-fired tlayudas (giant tostadas), and beer-friendly antojitos.
“Our team has deep roots in Mexican culture and food,” said Valdes. “Our award-winning head brewer and executive chef Andres Padilla has 40+ years of brewing and culinary experience that spans Chicago, Austin, El Paso, and Mexico City. With the second largest Mexican population in the U.S., Texas is a natural extension for a cerveza brand with a deep passion for Mexican and TexMex flavors.”
“Mainstream Mexican imports continue to outperform the U.S. beer category and Cruz Blanca delivers the first craft cerveza brand to capitalize on this consumer trend to propel the Mexican cerveza segment forward,” said Allard, ”In 2021, Mexico Calling Lager grew 60 percent. In 2022, Cruz Blanca is projected to roughly double in volume in Illinois. We are proud to build on this alongside some of the most iconic breweries in Texas.”
Big Boss Brewing partners with Bevana
Big Boss Brewing Co., Raleigh’s oldest brewery, is partnering with beverage platform Bevana to bring its award-winning craft beers to customers across the country. Founded in 2006, Big Boss will continue its transition to a new taproom while focusing on the innovation and quality that made it a staple of North Carolina’s independent beer scene for the last 15 years.
“Leaving your original taproom is a bit like leaving your childhood home, but we know that this is all just another step forward for us as we focus on making even more of the types of beers that let us help build the North Carolina brewing scene,” said Seth Adams, brewery director for Big Boss. “And partnering with Bevana just made perfect sense. We get to focus on innovating and staying close to the community, while they cut through the noise and help us reach customers across the state. We get to stay small and independent, but think big.”
The brewery’s most popular beers will continue to be found wherever fine craft beer is sold throughout the state, including its flagships Penny Brown Ale, Trail Guide West Coast IPA, and Seabee Gose brewed with Tangerine and Raspberry. New and seasonal offerings will also be hitting shelves soon, following on the heels of its most popular yearly offering — Harvest Time Pumpkin Ale.
“Big Boss is one of the true foundational breweries here in the Carolinas,” explained Aaron Gore, Bevana’s senior director of business development. “It was the first brewery that I worked at after moving to North Carolina years ago. Being able to help new customers across the country experience and enjoy some of the beers that built our local craft brewing industry is a privilege. No one should ever miss out on their next favorite thing to drink, just because of where they live. Bevana cuts through that, and helps breweries like Big Boss continue to grow and innovate.”
Big Boss’s beers will also be offered through Bevana’s online shop, where all of the platform’s beverage partners may be ordered and shipped directly to customers’ homes or businesses. With the ability to deliver beer to customers in 42 states, it helps beverage makers and drinkers cut through the noise and the barriers that stand in the way of enjoying the best drinks that the world has to offer, regardless of location.
San Diego’s NA brand RationAle partners with Breakthru Beverage for distro across Colorado
RationAle Brewing is taking its San Diego-born, Sonoma-brewed, non-alcoholic craft beers and heading east with the announcement of its partnership with Breakthru Beverage Group, a leading North American distributor of the world’s top beer brands, to support the brand’s expansion into Colorado, the first expansion state after launching in California. In conjunction with the distribution across Colorado, RationAle is introducing its four different brews without the booze in six-pack cartons of 12-oz cans for the first time since launching in late 2021.
“Our partnership with Breakthru Beverage couldn’t have come at a better time, as we have built such strong momentum in the California market, equipping us with a winning playbook for our first foray across state lines,” shared Jamie Fay, founder of RationAle Brewing. “Breakthru is the gold standard of what a distribution partner should be. We’re honored to be welcomed into its portfolio of best-in-class beer, wine, and spirits brands, to seize the immense opportunity within the non-alcoholic beer category, which is increasing at a more rapid pace than ever.”
Having added two new flavors to its current product line, alcohol-conscious consumers and craft beer enthusiasts alike can now enjoy RationAle’s West Coast IPA and New England Hazy IPA — adding to the current fan favorites: Citrus Hazy IPA and Mexican Lager — which are now in-store and online for nationwide shipping at RationAleBrewing.com.
“While Breakthru is very strong in the craft beer category, we have a limited number of non-alcoholic [NA] options. To best position us for growth in the NA beer space, we needed to partner with the right brand. Bringing RationAle in adds huge value to our establishment as well as for the Colorado consumer,” said Shane Cahill, VP of sales, Breakthru Beverage Colorado. “Jamie is passionate about supplying the best-tasting product and that’s ultimately what’s going to drive people to RationAle. My goal would be for RationAle to be a top 10 brand in our portfolio and once you get liquid to lips, I feel that’s an achievable goal.”
On the home front, in California, RationAle has been gaining extensive traction and building out the non-alcoholic craft beer set in the fridges of Erewhon Market, Mollie Stone’s, Olivers, Lassen’s, Seaside Market, and more.
“When I launched RationAle nearly a year ago to offer up a great tasting, quality alternative to those of us seeking moderation, I couldn’t have imagined where we would be at this stage of the game: Four completely-crushable flavors of NA craft brews, incredible retail partnerships, and a presence in both CA and CO,” said Fay. “To say we’re stoked for what lies ahead would be a complete understatement.”
Launched in late 2021, RationAle Brewing has added variety, flavor, and innovation to the fast-growing U.S. non-alcohol beer category, providing brew-loving consumers with rational options to enjoy craft beer in moderation. All of RationAle’s taste-forward brews are served in 12-oz cans, made with high-quality ingredients and in small batches, mimicking the bold, refreshing taste of traditional craft beer.
The new West Coast IPA and New England Hazy IPA, like its original two SKUs, are crafted in small batches and go through a proprietary dealcoholization process that maintains the integrity of the original craft brew. The West Coast IPA is a throwback to the classic Indian Pale Ale taste with dry, bitter hops balanced by notes of fresh pine and citrus, while the New England Hazy IPA is a juicy, hazy IPA with tropical notes of stone fruit.
To learn more and shop for RationAle Brewing, visit www.rationalebrewing.com.
Three Magnets Brewing’s Self Care brand announces Fresh Fest non-alcoholic limited subscription
Three Magnets Brewing announced that its Self Care line of non-alcoholic beers will introduce a six-beer “Fresh Fest” limited subscription, celebrating the fall traditions of Octoberfest, fresh hop season and the emergence of Sober October. These subs have already started, so sign up right here.
“Our mission continues to be brewing the highest-quality, innovative small batch non-alcoholic craft beer for our customers. Our Fresh Fest offerings build on that commitment and invite our customers into the excitement of annual fall beer traditions. As brewing innovation in the non-alcoholic space continues to evolve, there are no longer excuses for non-alcoholic beers to sit out the annual traditions such as fresh hop season,” said Co-owner Nathan Reilly. “Rightly so, sober and sober curious non-alcoholic craft beer drinkers have greater expectations.”
Reilly continued: “This time of year represents so many great things about beer. For too long, consumers drinking non-alcoholic beers were completely ignored during the fresh hop season. Here in the Pacific Northwest — the hop capital of the world — we are uniquely positioned to create authentic fresh hop offerings for our customers, going from field to ferment within a few hours. We can’t wait for our Self Care customers to taste this year’s harvest.”
Head brewer, Aaron Blonden added: “Some of the most consistent feedback we have gotten from our loyalty club members was how much they loved our fresh hop IPA’s from last year. With that, I wanted to build off the success and popularity of those beers, and level up our efforts for this year. So, we are adding an additional fresh hop to our capacity, for a total of four, and our brewing team is going to reward our customers with some new fresh hop varieties, including a pilsner and pale ale.”
In addition to direct-to-consumer availability across 41 states beginning September 19, these new Self Care beers will be available at select bottle shops and specialty grocers along the I-5 corridor in Washington, Oregon and California.
New Self Care “Fresh Fest” Series
Self Care and Three Magnets Brewing present the 2022 Fresh Fest, a collection of six seasonal non-alcoholic beers, including four fresh hop varieties. Pre-orders for the Fresh Fest limited subscription are available at www.DrinkSelfCare.com, and new releases ship every two weeks beginning Monday, September 19. Customers will receive their Fresh Fest subscription over three shipments.
- Self Care “Bohemian Brew” Czech-Style Pilsner – Shipping September 19th
- Self Care “Block Party Fest(ival) Bier” Fest Bier – Shipping September 19th
- Self Care “Freaky Fresh!” Strata Fresh Hop Hazy IPA – Shipping October 3rd
- Self Care “Fresh Stuff!” Centennial Fresh Hop Pilsner – Shipping October 3rd
- Self Care “Fresh Cut!” Amarillo Fresh Hop Pale Ale – Shipping October 17th
- Self Care “Fresh Jams!” Chinook Fresh Hop Modern IPA– Shipping October 17th
Three Magnets Brewing Co., a family-owned 15-bbl brewery and 200-seat restaurant, opened in 2014 in the heart of downtown Olympia. Three Magnets distributes beer in Washington, Oregon, California and British Columbia. The company also sells its beer online, alongside specially curated guest craft beer, via its web store, Porch Drops and Drink Self Care. Its restaurant/pub has a robust catering program, 3Mag Catering, and a meal/beer delivery program, Garden Movement, which was developed to drive business during the COVID shutdowns.
Alesong Brewing and Blending partners with River Barrel Distributing for Seattle distribution
River Barrel Distributing continues to partner with local beverage makers to make more craft drinks available to the Seattle area. With a list that already includes favorites like Zoiglhaus Brewing, North Jetty Brewing, and Bauman’s Ciderworks, River Barrel will now be distributing beer from Alesong Brewing and Blending.
“I am excited to continue working with Alesong Brewing and Blending,” said Ben Fuller, a new member of the RBD team with 20 years in the beer industry. “You really can’t go wrong with anything they release.”
Alesong Brewing and Blending was founded in 2015 by brothers Brian and Doug Coombs and brewer Matt Van Wyk. The three combined their chemistry, brewing, and wine-making backgrounds to create something a little different for the Pacific Northwest. Located in Eugene, Ore., Alesong sets itself apart from other beer companies by focusing solely on small-batch, barrel-aged beers inspired by nature, food, experiences, and more. While its unique beers can already be found throughout Oregon and in parts of Washington, Alesong is looking forward to reaching more individuals in the Seattle area.
“In the past, we’ve hand-delivered beer ourselves or worked with other larger partners, both with their own challenges,” said Matt Van Wyk, founder of Alesong. “We feel the move to work with River Barrel has aligned Alesong with the appropriate wholesale partner who truly understands our needs as a small producer from Oregon. As a company, we’re elated to get barrel-aged beer into the hands of some of our biggest fans who previously had few avenues to do so.”
River Barrel Distributing will continue to add craft beverage makers to its list of partners with the goal of bringing quality beverages to the Seattle and western Washington area.