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!
Brooklyn Brewery heads to southern Wisconsin, pushes NA offerings
Global craft beer innovator, Brooklyn Brewery, recently announced that it began distributing its core lineup of award-winning beers in southern Wisconsin beginning last week. As the fourteenth largest independent craft brewer in the United States, Brooklyn Brewery is available in 34 states, over 30 countries and across 5 continents. Since its creation, the Brooklyn Brewery has worked to put great beer in the hands of many, fostering a diverse and eclectic global craft beer community.
“We’re finally bringing our full portfolio of brands to the state of Wisconsin this spring with Wisconsin Distributors, and the Brooklyn Brewery team could not be any more excited.” said Miles Moser, VP of Sales. “In a state brimming with world-class breweries, and some of the most dedicated craft beer enthusiasts in the world, it’s been flattering to see how many folks have reached out asking us to bring our brands to the market over the years. We are thrilled to be able to enter the market with a foundation of outstanding retail partners like Total Wine & More, Woodman’s, and all good retailers in Southern Wisconsin. We also can’t wait to offer our beers to the many first-class bars and restaurants across the state, and we hope to earn a place alongside some incredible culinary traditions in years to come.”
Upon entry into the market, Brooklyn Brewery’s flagship Brooklyn Lager and Bel Air Sour will be available on draft as well as in six-packs. Popular seasonal, Summer Ale, and newest brand, Pulp Art Hazy IPA, will be available on draft as well as in six-packs and 12-packs. The launch will also include Brooklyn Brewery’s non-alcoholic family of brews, Special Effects Hoppy Amber and IPA, brewed for drinkers who love all that’s hoppy and refreshing, without the high ABV.
“Not only are we bringing our traditional alcoholic beer offerings to Wisconsin, but we’ll also be bringing our new, and quickly growing, non-alcoholic beer brands to the state: Special Effects Hoppy Amber and Special Effects IPA,” said Moser. “We’re always working to bring our customers exactly what they want to drink across all categories, and while that’s often our lagers, IPAs and sours, we’ve also found a passionate fanbase behind our full-flavored craft non-alcoholic beers. We hope that the people of Wisconsin now have another flavorful option when it comes to no and low-alcohol drinking occasions, or when tomorrow’s an early workday!”
Brooklyn Brewery will launch in the state with Wisconsin Distributors, owned by Pierre McCormick, Mike McCormick, Phil McCormick and Casey Trudgeon. They are a beverage distributor with offices in Sun Prairie and Appleton and sell a mix of beer, wine, liquor and non-alcoholic beverages to 30 counties in the state. They have been servicing the Wisconsin community since 1986.
Short’s teams up with Cape Beverage for New Jersey distro
Cape Beverage recently announced the addition of another renowned brewery to its lineup: Michigan’s Short’s Brewing Co. The twelfth state to see Short’s distribution, New Jersey’s beer aficionados will be able to find them on shelves throughout the state beginning May 3.
“We’re so glad to have Short’s aboard,” said Cape Beverage CEO Ryan Krill. “Over the past year or so, we’ve built a fantastic relationship with Short’s, representing their cider brand, Starcut Ciders. Starcut has performed fantastically well for us, and I expect nothing less from their excellent lineup of beers.”
With the addition of New Jersey, Short’s brings its beer distribution footprint to cover the Midwest, Colorado, Florida, Tennessee and New York’s five boroughs. Short’s has been distributing outside their home state of Michigan since 2016.
“We get requests for Short’s beer from all 50 states on a daily basis, but the decision to expand really comes down to the right distributor partners and if we feel confident we can supply the markets with fresh, ample products. Our experience with Cape Beverage in New Jersey has been top-notch,” Pauline Knighton-Prueter, Sales Director for Short’s stated. “They focus on smart growth and have knowledgeable teams who are well-educated on their portfolios so we are confident that we can grow Short’s in a methodical way.”
Cape Beverage is expecting to do exactly that: Grow Short’s into a major New Jersey brand.
“Short’s is a well-established brewery with an excellent reputation,” said Cape Beverage Director of Sales Bill Zaninelli. “We have a number of great synergies. We both have 10 years of history behind us and both organizations are family-owned. We’ve had nothing but good vibes with them since rolling out Starcut Ciders, and I expect Short’s to do equally well throughout the Garden State.”
New Jersey will initially see distribution of two of Short’s year-round flagship beers, Huma Lupa Licious and Soft Parade, as well as a seasonal rotator, beginning with Psychedelic Cat Grass.
Short’s borrows the name of their flagship IPA, Huma Lupa Licious, from the hop plant, Humulus lupulus. Brewed with five different hop varieties recognized for their citrus, floral, piney and earthy qualities, Huma is known for having an intense bitterness that is balanced by a rich malty flavor. Clocking in at 7.6 percent ABV, the citrus and floral aromas complement the unique qualities of this stellar IPA.
Soft Parade is Short’s flagship fruit ale brewed with pureed strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries. At 7.5 percent ABV, this rose-colored ale has aromas of ripe strawberries and grain. With flavors of fresh berries and rye, Soft Parade finishes dry and eminently drinkable.
Short’s current seasonal, Psychedelic Cat Grass, is a triple dry-hopped American India Pale Ale originally brewed for its favorite beer bar. Aromas of pineapple, mango and grapefruit accompany the brew’s slightly hazy, pale orange color and lasting white head. With a 7.6 percent ABV, Psychedelic Cat Grass features a dry finish preceded by balanced flavors of tropical fruit and bitter hops.
“It’s good beer,” Zaninelli continued. “All three beers will resonate well with New Jersey’s discriminating beer drinkers. We expect the demand for Short’s products to grow over the next few years, and we intend to help grow the brand to meet that demand.”
Anderson Valley Brewing taps craft distributor for southern Washington
Anderson Valley Brewing Co. (AVBC) just announced its new distribution partnership with southern Washington’s Kendall’s Craft Beverages. This strategic partnership with the state’s pioneering fourth generation craft beer distributor aims to expand and strengthen AVBC’s presence throughout the Pacific Northwest.
Kendall’s Craft Beverages will represent AVBC’s entire portfolio of brands, including its iconic Boont Amber Ale, Barrel Series beers, Poleeko Pale Ale and goses. Kendall’s representation for the brewery will span across the southwestern border of Washington, including Vancouver, making AVBC’s beers readily accessible in one of the top beer markets in the country.
“We are proud that Anderson Valley selected us to represent their brand in Southwest Washington, and I’m very excited to be working with a longtime friend, Jason Grisham, national accounts manager for the brewery, again after all these years.” said Les Kellum of Kendall’s.
“When selecting a southern Washington distributor, it was important to my family that we aligned with a company who shared our company ethos and represented like-minded, high caliber brands and Kendall’s Craft Beverages is just that,” said President and CEO Kevin McGee. “As a fellow family owned business who understands the Pacific Northwest craft beer consumer, Kendall’s was a natural choice to represent Anderson Valley Brewing Company in this dynamic craft beer market.”
Georgia’s Creature Comforts expands distribution to Charleston market
Creature Comforts Brewing Co. recently announced its expansion to South Carolina’s Charleston and Hilton Head markets starting mid-May. Six Creature Comforts beers will be available on draft only throughout Charleston and Hilton Head Island.
“This decision was a long time in the making,” said Creature Comforts CEO Chris Herron. “We’ve always been fans of Charleston’s hospitality and culinary scene, and since we already distribute to coastal Georgia, it felt like the right step as we begin distributing outside of Georgia for the first time.”
Six beers from Creature Comforts’ year-round lineup will be available in select Charleston and Hilton Head Island locations: Tropicália, Automatic, Athena, Tritonia, Bibo and Cosmik Debris. Eleven seasonal beers will also be available, including six Hazy IPAs, Athena Paradiso varieties and Koko Buni.
New market, new distribution partnership
Creature Comforts tapped Lee Distributors, part of the Reyes Beer Division, to be its first distribution partner outside of Georgia. Reyes is the largest beer distributor in the United States, delivering over 251 million cases each year.
“We have been huge fans of Creature Comforts from a distance for quite a while,” said Lee Distributors Marketing Manager Joe Morrison. “Their vision and commitment to quality across the board was something that we aligned on right from the start — quality product, quality brands, and quality people.”
The expansion comes at a significant moment in Creature Comforts’ history. 2021 marks the brewery’s 7th anniversary, along with plans to open a second brewery and taproom in Los Angeles later this year. The brewery will announce Charleston market launch events soon.
Chicago-area’s Nik & Ivy Brewing uses Porter food ordering platform to bring eats to the brewery
Nik & Ivy Brewing Co. on historic downtown State Street in Lockport, Ill, may be housed in a charming red brick storefront that hasn’t changed much in appearance since its construction in 1920, but the patrons inside are using nothing less than the latest 21st century technology to order food to accompany their frothy lagers.
Owners Paul and Chrissy Ivnik have partnered with a new web-based technology called Porter to create a virtual “food hall” experience for its guests. While the brewery focuses on pouring its 12 or so selections of craft beer, taproom customers use their smartphones to summon burgers, pizza, unique wild game pasta, cupcakes and more from local restaurants at the touch of a button.
Initial collaborators include Mamma Onesta’s Italian Restaurant, The Shack — BBQ, Wings & Burgers, Cupcakery Bakery, Mangia Pizza and The Lockport Stagecoach, with more to be announced soon. The Ivniks intend to maintain an ongoing group of five to six food partners in order to give their patrons a diverse menu selection.
The process is easy: Guests simply use their phones to scan a QR code posted at the bar or at its table. That launches a web interface that allows them to browse the curated menus, select their food orders from as many different restaurants as desired and handle all the monetary details — all without having to interact with an employee or download a special app. The designated restaurants instantly receive and process the orders for delivery directly to the patrons’ specific seats back at Nik & Ivy.
“This arrangement allows us to focus on what we do best, like our ‘Wool Socks and Flip Flops’ Scottish-style ale, and leave the food part to some of our terrific neighbors who specialize in their respective cuisines,” said Paul Ivnik. “Plus, it eliminates all the physical menus from tables and confines touch interactions to guests’ own personal phones, which is something we’re all more cognizant of after the past year of safer dining.”
In the Chicago suburbs and across the United States, Porter is powering up a new digital era of food ordering and payment at multi-vendor venues such as breweries and food halls. Porter is an award-winning business transformation platform that fundamentally changes foodservice. By handling food and beverage ordering, table delivery/counter pick-up details, payment and tipping in a single smartphone transaction, the technology maximizes the guest experience and provides significant financial benefits to venue operators.
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“Ordering food online is not unique, particularly in 2021 — but being able to place a single order and, for example, get a burger from one establishment and some barbecue from another is what sets Porter apart. It is the first mobile technology to manage orders and payments from multiple menus and multiple vendors in a single transaction,” said John Barry, cofounder and Chief Porter of the eponymous company.
For establishment patrons, the payoff is a convenient and diverse food experience that’s impossible to replicate in-house, increased safety due to elimination of waiting in lines and more quality social time with their friends and family at the table versus chasing down orders from lots of places. For operators like the Ivniks, Porter increases orders and revenue; in fact, in early trials of the technology in its home state of Oregon, business owners saw 20 percent increases in check size and 15 percent increases in tips.
“This is what the future of food ordering looks like,” Barry said. “Consumers today are accustomed to using their smart devices for all kinds of transactions wherever they go, and we want to provide them with the same level of sophistication when it comes to the dining experience at multi-vendor sites.”
Back at the brewery, the Ivniks simply say: “Sit back and enjoy a cold Dellwood IPA until the smoked pork sandwiches effortlessly arrive at your table.” Their modern virtual food hall is open for business.
AleSmith + Scout Distribution = more excellent beer to Arizona
Scout Distribution recently announced a new partnership with AleSmith Brewing Co. in the state of Arizona. Founded with a passion and respect for brewing in 1995, AleSmith is recognized as one of the world’s foremost craft breweries on the strength of numerous awards garnered at prestigious local, national and international competitions. Consistently ranked in the World’s Top Ten list on the consumer generated website www.ratebeer.com, AleSmith is currently ranked #9 out of 33,000+ breweries worldwide. Family-owned and community-minded, AleSmith celebrates diversity, charity and the desire to deliver world-class beer with 5-Star service to its customers.
Brandon Richards, president of AleSmith Brewing Co., said “We are looking forward to working with Scout Arizona. We have an aligned vision on how we do business and they have assembled a great team of industry vets to hit the market. Our Arizona customers frequent San Diego and we plan on getting more AleSmith beer to our fans in the coming year.”
Scout Distribution delivers the first AleSmith beers beginning on May 3.
Maine’s Mason’s Brewing signs with Horizon Beverage Group for Rhode Island
“We really want to have a strong presence in the market throughout the Northeast,” said Chris Morley, founder and CEO, Mason’s. “We have eye-catching labels and great beer, so we give more people throughout the region a chance to get to know us. We also know plenty of New Englanders take weekend trips to Maine, and this expansion is a way to introduce Rhode Islanders to a brewery that’s in a part of Maine a lot of people don’t travel to, but definitely should.”
Mason’s Brewing is located in the aptly-named Brewer, Maine. It rests on the Penobscot River, directly across from the Darling’s Waterfront Pavilion, an open-air amphitheater with performances that can be easily heard from Mason’s outdoor seating area. In addition to a diverse portfolio including New England IPAs, stouts, Mexican Lagers and its fan-favorite Cream Ale, Mason’s operates a full-scale restaurant serving smoked wings, burgers, salads and pizzas. The pizza was recently ranked the best in the Bangor area in a contest held by the Bangor Daily News.
Mason’s is currently distributed throughout its home state of Maine, as well as New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey and California. Mason’s will be distributed in the Ocean State via a partnership with Horizon Beverage Group, a leading spirits, beer, and wine distributor with relationships throughout New England.
Colorado’s Holidaily Brewing expands gluten-free beer distro to Houston and east Texas
Holidaily Brewing Co., America’s dedicated gluten-free brewery, is set to distribute to Houston and east Texas on May 10. Holidaily Brewing opened in Golden, Colo. in 2016 and is the passion project of Karen Hertz, who survived both melanoma and thyroid cancer, leading to a treatment regimen including a gluten-free diet.
Hertz struggled to find a great tasting, 100 percent gluten-free beer and was driven to solve this problem. After years of research and testing, Holidaily Brewing Co. was born.
Exponential growth in Colorado led Holidaily Brewing to build a 10,000-sq-ft production brewery in May of 2019, making them the largest dedicated gluten-free brewery in the United Staets. The expansion increased their brewing capacity, equipping them to serve Houston and east Texas.
“We’ve heard the pleas and we’re answering the call,” said Hertz. “Houston is a highly requested city on our website and social media. We’re excited about the opportunity to bring our beer to a market that is gluten-free savvy and appreciates craft beer.”
Starting May 10, Holidaily Brewing can be found in liquor stores, bars, restaurants, and grocery stores throughout the Houston metro area as well cities in east Texas including Beaumont, Tyler and Longview.