Green Flash Brewing Co-Founder and CEO Mike Hinkley provided an update in his company’s 2013 operations and some insight into projects slated for 2014:
2013 sales figures
Green Flash beers are currently available in 48 U.S. states and entering North and South Dakota as well as Wyoming in November. Only Hawaii and Utah remain as outliers.
The San Diego brewery is now operating at 70 percent of its ultimate capacity and swiftly growing distribution with a roster of nearly 80 employees.
2013 depletions are up 37 percent, year to date. Of total depletions, 82 percent are in long established Green Flash territories, 14 percent from regions opened in 2012 and 4 percent from new markets opened in 2013. The flagship leads the way — West Coast IPA has increased from 50 percent to 52 percent of the product mix through the year. West Coast half-barrel sales are currently up more than 50 percent in San Diego, in the brewery’s eleventh year.
Western territories currently comprise 53 percent of total depletions with 34 percent annual growth. The Central U.S. states are now 13 percent of total depletions with 70 percent growth, due in large part to recent new market expansion. Eastern states sell 34 percent with annual growth of 33 percent. No surprise, California leads in overall sales with the surprising runner-ups of New York, Florida, Pennsylvania and then Massachusetts. These states are all within two day’s freight from the Virginia Beach brewery to come on line in 2015.
The 2014 product line
For 2014, SKU counts are drastically reduced to make distribution and retail sales more efficient, while consumers are provided with the variety they crave. Four packs are reduced from four to three full time offerings — West Coast IPA, Hop Head Red and Double Stout. Full time 22-ounce offerings are reduced from seven to three — Le Freak, Imperial IPA and West Coast IPA. To provide ease of operation and variety to consumers, one UPC code is used for the (un)seasonally released monster IPAs Palate Wrecker, Road Warrior (making a 2014 debut) and Green Bullet. Similarly, one UPC is used for the Hop Odyssey series, which highlights periodically released experimental hop-centric ales, for the first time in 22-ounce bottles.
Green Flash is targeting 20 to 25 percent growth in 2014.
“At that pace, we will have the ability to hire and train our East Coast team and implement the precise processes company-wide so that Virginia Beach will be ready to operate at the highest level, at just the right time,” Hinkley said.
A Barrel Room in San Diego. Hinkley and team are currently scouting a 2nd San Diego facility exclusively for the Green Flash barrel-aged beer program, including the storage and packaging of the barrel aged beers (i.e. Silva Stout, Little Freak, Super Freak, Flanders Drive, etc.) in cork finished bottles. The new space could open as early as late 2014.
“After years of experimentation in this area, we are ready to take this exciting next step,” Hinkley said. “We will open a packaging hall and are planning to also use the space for a food and beer pairing concept destination. We have hundreds of filled barrels aging in a warehouse targeted for packaging and release in Q3-Q4 of 2014.”
Virginia Beach Update. “It took slightly longer than expected to iron out all of the development details and nail down the finer points on the land acquisition in Virginia, but we are back on track. We plan to break ground in the spring of 2014 and are looking toward opening the facility as planned — by the end of 2015,” Hinkley said about the new brewery build.