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!
Epic Brewing announces direct-to-consumer shipping to Ohio
Epic Brewing Co., based out of Salt Lake City and Denver, is now shipping beer directly to Ohio customers. Buckeyes are now able to order small batch and highly coveted releases that rarely, and sometimes never, make it to Ohio.
Epic offers a wide range of styles that are usually only available at the brewery. From Big Bad Baptist Imperial Stout and its specialty variants to oak-aged sour ales and small batch beers, there are dozens of options to pick from on its website.
Orders can be placed for 12-oz cans, 16-oz cans, and 22-oz bottles depending on the beer, and orders can include merchandise. As of today, Epic Brewing is only fulfilling orders to residents in Ohio, but the brewery plans to expand to several other states by the end of 2022. You can start your order on this page of its website. Customers can use the code OHIOISEPIC at checkout for 15% off their first beer order until April 19.
Portland’s Grains of Wrath partners with Kendall’s Pioneer for southwest Washington distro
Grains of Wrath Brewery celebrates its fourth anniversary this month with a new distribution partnership supplying its award-winning West Coast IPAs and German lagers across southwest Washington. With support from Ridgefield, Wash.-based Kendall’s Pioneer Distributing, a selection of Grains of Wrath beers are being delivered to craft beer enthusiasts in draft and packages, complementing existing distribution for the popular products across Oregon from Medford to Bend to the Oregon coast.
Kendall’s will be distributing many Grains of Wrath beers including award-winners Built for Speed IPA, Frost Hammer Helles Lager, Dystopia IPA and Dive Bar Lager.
“Our Camas headquarters business grew quickly, and we opened a Portland Brewhouse about 14 months ago,” said Mike Hunsaker, owner and head brewer. “As we’ve grown our production volume with two locations and a talented staff, we consider partnering with a quality distributor as the next logical step to present our fresh beers to more people across the region.”
With a 10-bbl system in Camas and a 15-bbl steam system in Portland, Grains of Wrath is poised to produce 3,000 bbls in 2022. The brewery already has racked up 26 honors for its beers, with the first one coming just three months after the company began brewing.
“Grains of Wrath is an outstanding brewery operated by great people, and beer lovers will appreciate their attention to excellence,” said Les Kellum, Kendall’s sales and brand manager. “Helping high-quality independent brewing owners in our region like Grains of Wrath was exactly what was envisioned when Kendall’s Pioneer was formed as a specialty distributorship by the Corwin family in 2014.”
Grains of Wrath is one of 31 members of the Northbank Brewers Alliance, where owner Brendan Greenen of Grains of Wrath serves as the organization’s copresident.
Idaho’s Bombastic Brewing celebrates multi-state expansion, credits brewing partnerships
Bombastic Brewing is going big time. The craft brewery based in Hayden, Idaho, has inked distribution deals in Idaho, Washington and Utah and has Oregon and Montana in its sites. Founded in 2016, Bombastic Brewing is known for its adventuresome and nontraditional craft brews. Bombastic’s signature Murder, a wordplay on the grouping of crows featured in the can’s artwork, was recently rereleased. The Mexican Chocolate Imperial Stout has notes of vanilla and cinnamon, a chocolate finish and a slight kick of peppers.
“Murder is what we first worked on together with the goal of it being one of our flagship recipes,” said Brewer Matthew Skillicorn. “Twenty or so batches later, we finally hit what we think is not only a drinkable 10.5 percent stout, but also a balance of heat and sweetness from the adjuncts. We are excited to bring it back year after year and hope everyone enjoys it as much as we do.”
The pandemic hit small, independent breweries especially hard. The team at Bombastic Brewing credits their survival to the brewery’s partner brewing business model. Bombastic contracts its production out to Northwest breweries for larger batches.
“Our motto is Beer Brings Us Together and that’s true on so many levels,” said Cofounder Russell Mann. “We strive to have a synergistic relationship with other craft breweries. We have less overhead and the ability to produce greater volume, and bringing our business to other breweries can help them supplement their income.”
The trade group Brewers Association estimates the craft beer industry took a $6 billion hit in 2020 and more than 22,000 industry jobs were lost. Though the craft beer community struggled, Bombastic doubled down, releasing a barrel-aged stout to celebrate its fifth anniversary and expanding its market by contracting out distribution.
Bombastic was also bolstered with industry recognition and multiple awards.
Four of Bombastic’s brews were rated among Idaho’s Top 10 by Beer Advocate, including a trio of Bombastic’s Russian Imperial Stouts: Attempted Murder (No. 3), Aggravated Murder (No. 6) and Murder (No. 9). Shiver, a stout brewed with Thomas Hammer Coffee, rounded out the Top 10. Attempted Murder also nabbed a silver medal in the 2021 North American Beer Awards.
“We set out to push the envelope in Idaho,” said Brewer and Cofounder Phil Hottenstein. “Our customers see our beers and know what to expect. We’re always aiming to surpass those expectations.”
Orcas Distributing Ltd. is distributing Bombastic at retailers in Washington, including several Total Wine & More and BevMo! locations, plus smaller specialty shops. Northwest Specialty Beverage, based in Boise, is distributing Bombastic throughout Idaho, and Golden Beverage is distributing Bombastic in Utah state liquor stores by special order.
A map of retail outlets is available on Bombastic’s website: https://www.bombasticbrewing.com.
21st Amendment goes to Wisconsin
21st Amendment Brewery is bringing its California craft beers to Wisconsin to the great cities of Milwaukee and Madison and to share in the spirit this state has for delicious handcrafted food and drink. The 21st Amendment beers will be distributed through Wisconsin Distributors, servicing 30 counties in southern Wisconsin with two warehouses located in Sun Prairie and Appleton.
“We have an immediate connection with Wisconsin at our downtown San Francisco brewpub as we’ve had Sully’s Cheese Curds on the menu for over a decade with Wisconsin’s own Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery curds,” said Shaun O’Sullivan, cofounder and brewmaster at 21st Amendment Brewery. “We have a deep respect for the centuries of brewing that have come before us, and Wisconsin is certainly at the heart of it and we are happy to have our beers amongst Wisconsin’s local beers.”
“Wisconsin is at the center of the long history and culture of beer in America,” added Nico Freccia, cofounder/COO of 21st Amendment Brewery. “Our brand is rooted in history and celebrates the spirit of American innovation. So it’s such a natural fit and an honor for us to be able to make our beers available in the great cities of Wisconsin and the birthplace of American beer. Our full lineup of four different Brew Free! or Die IPA beers will be available, including the refresh of our flagship Brew Free! or Die IPA, the brand-new Hazy Brew Free! or Die, as well as Tropical and Blood Orange. But, of course, there’s no way we’d come to Wisconsin without Hell or High Watermelon Wheat.”
“We are over the moon to be launching 21st Amendment in Wisconsin. Personally, I’m looking forward to enjoying a few Brew Free! or Die Blood Orange IPAs and Hell or High Watermelon’s by a fire pit this spring,” commented John Campbell (VP craft and imports, Wisconsin Distributors).
Born in the San Francisco Bay Area and masterminds of beloved fruit beers, 21st Amendment celebrates its 22nd Anniversary in 2022 with limitless innovation and discovery for its community of rabid beer fans. 21st Amendment has an array of fan favorites and exciting new beer releases for 2022: Brew Free! Or Die IPA (New Recipe, New Look), Brew Free! Or Die Hazy IPA, Hell or High Watermelon Wheat, Hell or High Mango, Hell or High Pomegranate, Coaster Pilsner, Close Encounters of the Hop Kind, Tasty Double Hazy IPA, Brew Free! Or Die Blood Orange IPA, El Sully, Fireside Chat, and its Variety Hop 12-Pack.
New York’s Montauk Brewing expands to New Jersey with Kohler Distributing
Customers will soon be able enjoy a Montauk Wave Chaser in New Jersey. Montauk Brewing Co. recently announced it was opening its first market outside its home state of New York on April 1.
“We’re thrilled to partner with Kohler Distributing for Bergen and Hudson counties. Our team couldn’t be more excited to work with such a professional and energetic team as Kohler. It’ll be fun to see what we can accomplish together,” said Montauk President Terry Hopper.
A tour of Hoboken and Jersey City in February confirmed the decision to bring Montauk across the Hudson. Fans and distributors have been asking for the brand in New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island — and as far away as Florida and California — so this step just makes sense. Montauk will launch kegs of its flagship Wave Chaser IPA and Easy Riser Belgian White to start, a plan that worked well for them in the NYC market a few years ago. On June 1, Kohler will add Passaic, Sussex, Morris, Essex, and Union counties.
The Montauk team noted it is thrilled to introduce fans in New Jersey to the brand and is currently lining up big launch parties for the rollout.
Fermentation Arts Brewery partners with Homegrown Distribution for Massachusetts and Rhode Island
“[We’ve] been looking forward to this launch for more than a year now,” said brewery Founder Ben Holmes, “[and] I’m really glad to be a part of this team.”
FAB Director of Sales and Marketing James Ohlson added, “I believe with the professionalism, dedication and determination of Homegrown Distribution and the commitment and wealth of knowledge that their team has, this will be one of the best distribution partnerships I have had the privilege to work with.”
Sharing his supplier’s enthusiasm, Homegrown’s Business Development Manager Joe McCann recalled his first meeting with Holmes.
“I met Ben at the Rhode Island Brew Fest in 2020, and he had gathered a large crowd to hear his passionate stories and wouldn’t let anyone pass by without stopping to try his beer. Ben and the rest of the team’s ability to bring that passion to Somerville and beyond will be paramount to winning over fans far and wide. Their focus on quality, and crowd-source tasting every batch, will ensure FAB continues to evolve and continues to improve.”
FAB was founded in 2019 with an emphasis on creating lagers and IPAs via emerging and experimental brewing applications. The brewery focuses on using innovative hopping techniques that include mash hopping, cryogenics, and biotransformation. Leadership has also put an emphasis on activism and social responsibility.
Homegrown has opened the partnership with the release of Pilsner 4 Peace, a single-hopped pilsner created by Holmes in 2020 to address growing hostilities between the United States and the Middle East. The open-source recipe is free to brewers who wish to collaborate on creative can art with artists around the world, particularly those with Kurdish, Iranian, Asian, Jewish and North American backgrounds. Upcoming releases include the single-hop NEIPA Tales of the Mosaic Marvel and the double dry-hopped Johnny Get Your Raygun DIPA. Both IPAs are slated to be shipped later this month.
California’s Farmers Brewing signs distribution deal with Markstein Beverage of Sacramento
Farmers Brewing Co. recently announced a distribution agreement with Markstein Beverage Co. of Sacramento. The partnership between the farm-to-glass brewery and distributor transfers distribution rights to Markstein in the counties of Butte, El Dorado, Nevada, Placer, Sacramento, Solano, Sutter, Yolo and Yuba.
The changeover in distribution rights will begin in early April and allow Farmers Brewing to expand its footprint within the area.
“After growing our own self-distribution network over the last two years, it was time to switch gears and partner up with a well respected distributor in the industry,” said Bill Weller, founder of Farmers Brewing. “The partnership will allow us to expand into areas that we could not service ourselves, invest back into the brewery for expansion and redirect all of the time and energy we were spending on self-distributing in these areas.”
“Markstein Beverage Co. of Sacramento is excited to announce our partnership with Farmers Brewing Co. bringing their farm to glass craft beers to our amazing retailers and consumers.” said Jason Whitworth, chief operating officer. “California prides itself on its robust farming community, and it’s an honor to partner with a fellow family-owned company to bring high quality, locally-made, craft beers to retail.“