Johnson Brothers Bakery Supply Inc. is Texas’ largest baking supply company, but you knew that. What you might not have known is that Johnson Brothers started Brewery Direct in 2016 with the same idea in mind — be a great supplier (especially with malts) — but in this case to regional brewing markets. To accomplish this, it’s cleverly capitalizing on its expertise in the baking supply biz.
Just yesterday, Brewery Direct announced it was expanding into eight additional states and Ontario, Canada, with three big strategic partnerships. It’s working with baking supply companies based in New Jersey, Wisconsin and Ontario to offer malted grains, hops, yeast and specialty ingredients to breweries in their current territories under the Brewery Direct name. From the press release:
“All the overhead is covered through our baking supply business, which allows us to hit the brewery market. We already were driving right by the breweries and the commonalities are grains and food and yeast,” said Kevin Johnson, CEO of Johnson Brothers Bakery Supply and Brewery Direct. “The quality of the individual service we give to our customers is a huge factor. It is why Johnson Brothers has been successful.”
Johnson Brothers discovered that many of the ingredients they carried for bakeries were specialty ingredients that small- to mid-size breweries often employed in brewing — stuff like fruit purees and sugars. According to Brewing Direct, it wasn’t too much of a leap to add, say, malts from Germany. We reached out to the company to see what sets them apart from the competition.
“Besides the fact that we have a great complete line up of malts, we are bringing old-fashioned service to an industry that has never had it before,” explained Kevin Johnson, CEO of Brewery Direct. “We deliver the brewers’ order on our company trucks free on an as-needed basis. We look to improve a brewers’ cash flow and help them use fresher product as brewers are able to order only what they need and not have to order excess inventory to save on enormous freight costs. In an industry like craft beer and distilling much like the bakery industry the people are what makes them better and for Brewery Direct it is our people and service that sets us apart from all others.”
Who are these baking supply companies?
To expand Brewery Direct, Johnson and Vice President Jesse R. Reyes, sought partnerships with specific regional baking supply companies. All offer customized service with free shipping for any volume of ingredients. The companies joining Brewery Direct are: A. Oliveri & Sons of North Bergen, N.J. (New Jersey, New York, Connecticut and eastern Pennsylvania); Valley Bakery Supply Co-op of Greenville, Wis. (Wisconsin, northern Illinois, southern Minnesota and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula); and Traynor’s Bakery Wholesale Ltd. of Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.
Brewery Direct expects to add more partnerships this year to meet, what it calls, “the underserved needs of the fast-growing craft brewing industry.”