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].
Cleveland’s Saucy Brew Works transfers its home market distribution to Heidelberg
Saucy Brew Works recently announced the transfer of its home-market distribution rights to Heidelberg Distributing, a family-owned and operated business for over 84 years, servicing more than 26,000 retail and industry establishments across all counties in Ohio and Kentucky. With its sights set on a record year, Saucy believes that with Heidelberg’s passion, knowledge, and commitment to growing the Saucy brand, its goals can be realized.
From 2019-2022, Heidelberg’s distribution rights covered the majority of Ohio, excluding nine counties in Saucy’s home market of Cleveland. During this time, Saucy’s portfolio of products saw a total draft volume growth of +115 percent and a total package volume growth of +84 percent. With total points of distribution (PODs) up +57 percent, Heidelberg’s impact has been seen across all channels. In 2023, Saucy aims to take its core IPA Juicy Asap to the next level. Juicy Asap American IPA has seen a total volume growth of +135 percent, setting the stage for the strongest year to date.
In 2020, with Heidelberg at the helm, Saucy expanded its distribution into the Toledo market, followed by the launch of the Dayton and Cincinnati markets in April 2022. With Heidelberg’s footprint extending across state lines, potential for expansion into Kentucky is top of mind for Saucy in 2023.
Brent Zimmerman, cofounder and CEO of Saucy Brew Works said, “We are excited to announce our statewide distribution partnership with Heidelberg. We already have a fantastic relationship with the company in large portions of the state, which made the decision to leverage all of our respective capabilities and culture on a statewide basis an easy one. We look forward to substantial growth in 2023 and beyond.”
Greg Michalec, vice president and general manager of Cleveland Heidelberg Distributing Co. said, “Saucy Brew Works has been distributed in all of Ohio except Northeastern Ohio by Heidelberg Distributing for awhile. Today we close the circle as Heidelberg Cleveland starts distributing Saucy Brew Works in Cleveland, Akron, and the rest of Northeastern Ohio. Heidelberg is excited to not only be the statewide distributor for Saucy but also to be distributing Saucy Brew Works in its hometown of Cleveland and NE Ohio. Heidelberg’s opportunity to strengthen its partnership with Saucy and their commitment to quality, innovation and direct marketing makes this partnership a win-win for both companies. Their beers are drinkable with a lot of characteristics. I’m really looking forward to doing a lot of business with Saucy’s great team and great beer.”
Colorado’s WeldWerks Brewing partners with Artisan Beverage Group in North Carolina
WeldWerks Brewing Co. recently announced its partnership with Artisan Beverage Group, an independent craft beverage distributor based in Charlotte, to increase the brewery’s distribution into North Carolina. Adding the Tar Heel state into WeldWerks’ distribution footprint is especially meaningful for WeldWerks Cofounder and Co-Owner Neil Fisher given his ties to the state.
“Even though it’s been 15 years since I left North Carolina to make Colorado my home, having grown up in Raleigh, attended school at Chapel Hill, and with so many family and friends across the state, a part of my heart will always belong in Carolina,” said Fisher. “I am incredibly excited that we get to work with the amazing team at Artisan to bring WeldWerks beer to the North Carolina market year round.”
Beginning mid-January, participating retailers in North Carolina will be able to enjoy Juicy Bits, WeldWerks’ iconic flagship Hazy IPA, Evil Haze Factory, a double Hazy IPA brewed with an obscene amount of hops, and Bamm Bamm Rubble Rubble, a fruity rice cereal sour ale, as well as other rotating beers from WeldWerks’ innovative beer portfolio.
“North Carolina beer drinkers have high expectations for craft beer these days. As one of Colorado’s best breweries, our team is excited to begin selling WeldWerks locally. They make amazing liquid and have great branding,” said Taylor McDermott, owner of Artisan Beverage Group. “I’m certain that it will be well received by our customers and the consumer.”
WeldWerks is excited to kick off the new year by adding North Carolina into its growing roster of out-of-state markets. Besides North Carolina, the Greeley, Colo.-based brewery also had distribution in select markets across the United States, including increased distribution in California, Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Wisconsin.
Wiseacre Brewing launches statewide distro in Arizona
Wiseacre Brewing Co. recently announced its plans to launch statewide distribution in Arizona beginning on January 9. Thanks to a partnership with Scout Distribution, three of the Memphis-based breweries’ year-round beers — Ananda 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, at Arizona retailers like Sprouts Farmers Market, Total Wine and Whole Foods, among others.
Tiny Bomb has grown to become the No. 4 craft pilsner in the country, and Davin Bartosch, Wiseacre brewmaster and cofounder, anticipated that it will be a huge hit in the Grand Canyon State.
“My brother Kellan and I have spent a lot of time camping, hiking, and generally taking in the natural beauty of Arizona, and we think our refreshing Tiny Bomb is going to pair perfectly with the desert air,” Davin said. “Tiny Bomb marries Memphis’ near-perfect water – which has been called “the sweetest in the country” — with German pilsner malt and local wildflower honey. It has a super clean finish, ideal for a day spent hiking the North Rim or hitting the links in Scottsdale…or riding on one of the limited-edition Wiseacre bikes we made with Phoenix-based State Bicycle Co.”
“Wiseacre has a lot to offer Arizonans beer-wise, but leaning heavily into Tiny Bomb and its wide appeal is an obvious strategy for us as we enter the market,” said Kellan Bartosch, Wiseacre cofounder. “Tiny Bomb has seen 57% growth across Wiseacre’s footprint since 2021, and we anticipate those numbers will be even stronger in 2023 as demand for easy-drinking, lower ABV craft beers soars.”
Tiny Bomb and Wiseacre’s rapid growth has been fueled in part by the state-of-the-art production facility Wiseacre built in downtown Memphis in 2020. Not only did the new facility quintuple the brewery’s previous capacity, but it 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. Wiseacre’s new facility ensures that Wiseacre is well-positioned to adapt to the fast-changing landscape of craft beer with those points, but also because the packaging equipment greatly increases shelf life compared to competition.
Wiseacre is currently sold in Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Washington, D.C., so the expansion to Arizona means that Wiseacre fans in a total of 18 states and the District of Columbia will be able to buy its Wiseacre favorites closer to home.
Wiseacre Brewing Co. opened in Memphis, Tenn., in 2013 after brothers and Memphis natives Davin and Kellan Bartosch gained experience working in the brewing industry around the country and even overseas including Davin’s brewing studies at Doeman’s Academy in Germany. Since then, Wiseacre has grown to have two brewery and taproom locations, more than 60 employees and distribution in 17 states and has made more 170 beers ranging from German lagers, to hoppy American styles, complex and boozy Belgian beers, and barrel aging beers to boot.
Charlotte’s Heist Brewery partners with Bevana for online distro and more
Heist Brewery, one of the most exciting and well-regarded breweries in the Southeast, is partnering with beverage platform Bevana to bring its selection of rotating craft beers to customers across the country. For Heist, founded in 2012 as Charlotte’s first brewpub, the move marks the first time that beer drinkers across the country will be able to enjoy the brews that made the company among the most highly rated in the industry. Fans of the brand both old and new will now be able to order online and have the beers shipped directly to their homes.
“We’ve been able to share our beer with customers in North Carolina and the Southeast over the years, and the partnership with Bevana is great because we’re now able to share it with fans across the country, which used to be impossible for us to do,” said Kurt Hogan, Heist’s founder and CEO. “It’s an awesome opportunity for us to meet craft beer enthusiasts who we may never have been able to connect with before.”
For more than a decade, the brewery has been well known by craft beer enthusiasts for its rotating lineup of diverse beers, including a lineup of hazy IPAs anchored by Citraquench’l, the highest rated example of the style in the Charlotte region. Other stand outs include the signature Pick’n series of heavily fruited sour ales, easy-drinking Druid Pils, and the wood-aged imperial stouts from its new barrel-aging program. Through its partnership with the platform, customers will finally be able to enjoy and discover Heist’s classic favorites and new releases wherever they’re located, bridging the gap between those who love great beer and those who make it. They will also be able to find a selection of Heist products in the Bevana Newton retail taproom, as well as at Bevana sister company D9 Brewing Co.’s taprooms in Cornelius, Charlotte and Hendersonville, N.C.
“Almost every craft beer fan has heard of Heist. They’re one of those breweries that have become almost the stuff of legend among the real enthusiasts,” explained Aaron MJ Gore, senior director of business development for Bevana. “But until now, you couldn’t get your hands on them outside of a very small area in the Carolinas. Great beer is universal, and we’re excited to be able to help drinkers across the country to finally have the chance to try some of the beers that everyone else is raving about.”
Heist’s beers will 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 forty-two 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.
North Carolina’s Hi-Wire Brewing also partners with Bevana
Hi-Wire Brewing, one of North Carolina’s largest and fastest-growing breweries, is also partnering with beverage platform Bevana to bring its award-winning craft beers to customers across the country with online ordering. For Hi-Wire, which started shipping directly to consumers in 2020 in response to the pandemic, this partnership offers a new format and an expanded shipping area.
“We have seen a tremendous response across the country for our online beer store, but this success translated to growing pains for our staff who handled the shipping of the actual beer,” said Chris Frosaker, co-owner of Hi-Wire. “With Bevana handling the e-commerce and shipping side, we now have room to effectively market this part of our business and grow it to its full potential.”
Founded in 2013, the brewery’s most popular beers include Hi-Pitch Mosaic IPA, Lo-Pitch Hazy IPA, Mountain Water Citrus Splash Easy-Drinking Ale, and 10W-40 Imperial Stout series. With distribution in nine states and nine taprooms located across the southeast, and new ones opening soon in Cincinnati, Ohio and Nashville, Tennessee, Hi-Wire continues its expansion and core commitment to connecting people with their community. Hi-Wire’s passion to keep the tradition of craft beer alive by continuing to honor the heritage of brewing is something that aligns well with the mission of Bevana. Through their partnership with the platform, customers will additionally be able to find Hi-Wire products in the Bevana Newton retail taproom, as well as at D9 Brewing Company taprooms in Cornelius, Charlotte, and Hendersonville, N.C.
“Hi-Wire has been one of the truly amazing success stories of craft beer in the last decade,” explained Gore. “To make world-class beer that enthusiasts go nuts for, and to bring that experience to their neighborhoods with some of the coolest taproom experiences you’ll find anywhere, that’s an incredibly difficult balance to strike. Through the Bevana online store, now they can expand that reach even further, and we’re excited to be partnering with them to get great beer in the hands of more people.”
FÜL Beverage, which makes NA beer, signs agreement for statewide distro in Michigan
FÜL Beverages, which makes both natural energy drinks and NA beer, has now secured additional distribution agreements to take its products to retailers across the state of Michigan. Mark Rieth, the entrepreneur and long-time beverage industry veteran behind FÜL (pronounced “Fuel”) Beverage, said that convenience stores and other retailers across Michigan will begin to receive regular shipments of the products immediately with additional stores coming online over the next 60 days. The surprisingly refreshing natural energy drinks and non-alcoholic beers had first appeared in Detroit and southeast Michigan in July.
“The beverage space is hyper competitive with hundreds of drinks vying for limited shelf space,” Rieth said. “We’re pleased with the enthusiastic response from distributors and retailers who recognize the need for healthier, more refined and refreshing non-alcoholic beers and sports drinks and are opening their shelves to help FÜL expand its geographic reach.”
FÜL’s initial product lineup includes six beverages — two non-alcoholic beers, NA IPA and Feel Better Blonde, and four natural energy drinks, including Savage Berry, Lit Blood Orange, Recovery Pineapple Coconut and Rehab+ Cherry which uses 25 mg of CBD as an additional natural healing agent to aid in muscle rejuvenation. FÜL’s is starting the local crafted energy drink market with products that are designed to be healthier and more hydrating than those currently available.
“Unlike most energy drinks, we use all-natural flavors and no preservatives. Our energy drinks ditch the unhealthy sugars in favor of natural coffee-berry caffeine and monk fruit sweetener and are lower in calories versus their counterparts,” Rieth said. “The drinks include electrolytes and Vitamin B to help your body recover and provide a healthier and more hydrating way to replace lost water in your body.”
Each of FÜL’s colorful cans was designed for a specific flavor and each carries the “Fuel Your Quest for Alchemy” tagline.
“We think alchemy is a great cultural statement because our liquids are crafted to help FÜL drinkers to be at their best. Each drink is purposefully balanced to give you — and your body — exactly what it needs without the additives and calories. We’re confident that once people try them, they’ll be back for more,” said Rieth.
FÜL Beverage NA beers are available in six-packs of 12-oz cans. FÜL alternative energy drinks are offered as single serve 16-oz cans and as 12-packs. FUL’s website, www.fulbeverage.com, offers a store locator to help customers find a convenient retailer. The locator will be updated as distribution continues to grow over the next 60 days. The website also offers direct sales for those who would prefer to order online.