The beer industry is going to the mattresses. After several big moves by Big Beer companies to add new craft brands in order to position them in front of more accounts and more customers (and squeeze out independent craft brands), the craft beer industry is making some power moves of its own.
To help tip the competitive balance back toward independent craft beer, the Brooklyn Brewery, 21st Amendment Brewery and Fort Collins-based Funkwerks Brewing Co. are launching a new sales and distribution platform effective January 1, 2018. The combined sales organization includes a field sales and key accounts team of 70 salespeople and 90 Brand Ambassadors covering 38 states.
“The changes in the competitive landscape demand creative new go-to-market strategies,” said Robin Ottaway, president of Brooklyn Brewery. “We consider ourselves incredibly fortunate to have found partners who share our passion for beer, want to remain independent and hold a long-term view.”
Brooklyn Brewery has made minority investments in both 21st Amendment and Funkwerks in support of the partnership. The three partners will co-develop annual sales and marketing plans and together look for additional beverage companies to join the fun.
From the Brooklyn Brewery announcement:
What does this all mean for you, exactly? There’s still plenty of work to do, but you can expect our collective beers to spread further than before. Yes, that means Brooklyn Lager will someday soon pour in the Bay Area, and 21st Amendment cans will roll forth along the Gulf Coast, and Funkwerks will pop up in Brooklyn. Plus, there will be lots and lots of parties, with plenty of beer from all of us. Again, that’s what this all comes down to: having fun with your friends. It’s just helpful when your friends happen to make excellent beer.
The scope of this is plan is even more interesting when you remember the slew of international partnerships Brooklyn Brewery has cemented in the last few years.
“The three breweries and sales teams really fit together well,” said Dave Duffy, VP of business development for Brooklyn who’ll lead the new platform. “We’re aligned where we need to be, complementary where we need to be and have a lot of domestic and international territory to grow into together. We can’t wait to start adding value to our retail and wholesale partners in a compelling new way.”
“Each of us brings something different to the table,” added Dave Wilson, president of 21st Amendment. “From the diverse beers we produce to our unique perspectives, origins and brand personalities, we’re thrilled to band together with Brooklyn and Funkwerks and bring great beer to more craft drinkers across the U.S.”
Funkwerks especially looks to take advantage of this new platform and gain access to a large and well-trained sales team and top-quality brewing skill.
“From there we get to stay independent, control our destiny and focus on doing what we truly love to do — make creative, compelling and delicious beers,” said Brad Lincoln, co-founder of Funkwerks.
“American craft brewers need to stick together and find new ways to meet the challenges of the 21st Century marketplace,” said Brooklyn Founder Steve Hindy. “We are excited to work with 21st Amendment and Funkwerks to ensure the spirit of independence that built the craft beer revolution continues to lead that revolution.”