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!
Remember, Black Is Beautiful available till the end of April in 600 Walmart stores across 21 states
One of the most important brands in all of craft beer, Black Is Beautiful is available now till the end of April in Walmarts around America. This year brewed by 13 different craft breweries — in both stout and IPA forms – the Black Is Beautiful initiative is a collaborative effort amongst the brewing community and its customers in an attempt to bring awareness to the injustices that many people of color face daily. Awesomely, the brand will be available in-store and online for pickup from more than 600 Walmart stores across 21 states. Also awesome: The craft brewers producing the brand will donate a portion of their proceeds to the Harriet Baskerville Incubation program, a nonprofit supporting women and BIPOC in the brewing industry. The Black Is Beautiful idea was started by San Antonio, Texas’ Weathered Souls Brewing Co., and it’s an important one to support.
Last year, Walmart brought Black Is Beautiful to customers across the country as a way to support entrepreneurs and diversity in the brewing industry. Here are some details about this year’s expanded program:
- As part of Walmart’s ongoing work to grow diverse suppliers and bring exciting new products to customers, the company’s craft beer merchant, Adrienne Freeman, worked with Marcus Baskerville and Weathered Souls to leverage Walmart’s size and scope to distribute Black Is Beautiful beer to its customers.
- Weathered Souls and the 12 participating breweries will brew the Black Is Beautiful beer this year to support women and BIPOC in the brewing industry.
- Of the 8,000+ breweries in the United States, less than 65 (less than 1%) are Black-owned. Additionally, less than 22% of those breweries are owned by women.
- Harriet Baskerville Incubation Program, named after Marcus’ grandmother, who herself was a prohibition-era brewing pioneer. The program provides opportunities for women and BIPOC — traditionally underrepresented in the brewing industry — by creating access to brewing education, guest seminars, practices and more and helping minority entrepreneurs who don’t yet have the financial means to open a brick-and-mortar location.
- New this year, Weathered Souls encouraged breweries to craft an IPA recipe that reflects the type of IPAs consumed in that part of the country.
The Black Is Beautiful craft beer initiative continues to garner attention, premiering this month as the latest addition to the Martin Luther King Library in Washington, D.C.
DuClaw Brewing expands to major Texas markets
In an effort to expand its distribution network, DuClaw Brewing Co. just announced its expansion into Texas markets including San Antonio, Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth and Houston. This comes on the heels of DuClaw’s continued growing footprint, expanding to 14 states within the past five years.
“With careful preparation, we are ready as we’ll ever be to make this expansion happen. Many markets we’ve entered in the last few years have been very organic, with consumers and distributors approaching us, and this time is no different,” said DuClaw Southern Regional Sales Manager Mandy Durmaz. “I’m eager to see locals get a taste of our playful approach to brewing, and understand what brands they gravitate towards. Building these genuine relationships is one of the biggest joys for our team, so it’s going to be a win-win for all of us.”
To support the launch, DuClaw partnered with its newest distribution partner, Ambiente Beverage Co. to service and target growing craft beer markets. This was a natural fit given the distributor’s strong reputation throughout Texas and well-established infrastructure.
“Texas is a large, diverse state, making it a massive undertaking to launch something like this, and we are going to grow with it,” said Durmaz.
In additional to limited edition seasonal releases, DuClaw’s fan-favorites will be available, including:
- Sweet Baby Jesus! (6.2% ABV) — A classic full-bodied porter with a smooth, dry finish and just enough hops to balance the aromas and flavors of roasted malt, rich chocolate and peanut butter. One sip and you will…exclaim the name!
- Strawberry Letter 23 (7.1% ABV) — With an enticing aroma of tart, light, strawberry essence and hoppy goodness, this medium-bodied sour blurs the line between an IPA, sour ale and fruited ale for a unique and refreshing brew.
Oregon’s Ecliptic Brewing partners with Hayden Beverage to open Idaho
Portland’s Ecliptic Brewing — founded by beer icon John Harris — is opening a new market in Q1 of 2022. Ecliptic has partnered with Hayden Beverage to launch its Idaho territory in mid-February of this year. John Harris, Ecliptic’s owner and brewmaster, has wanted to open the Idaho market for a few years now.
“We’ve had our eye on Idaho for a while, but we didn’t have the production capacity to support it,” he said. “Our brewery had nearly been at max capacity, and we needed more beer.”
When Ecliptic Brewing opened its second brewery and taproom in southeast Portland last November (Ecliptic Brewing Moon Room), the opportunity for new markets arose. Continued Harris, “Idaho was a natural next step for us. We’re really excited to be partnering with Hayden Beverage to bring our beer to our neighbors next door!”
Hayden Beverage is Idaho’s largest statewide distributor of beer, wine, and premium non-alcoholic beverages.
Erin Grey Kemplin, Ecliptic’s sales manager, said: “It was really important for us to find the right distributor partner in Southern Idaho. We were very thorough in our search and we found that with Hayden.”
Hayden Beverage is an independent, family-owned and operated business which has been around since the 1930s. It now employs more than 600 employees between its Idaho and Montana footprint, showing major growth — and an opportunity to provide great service — in its 50+ years of business. Hayden will support Ecliptic with market events and tasting opportunities, as well as social media posts.
Ecliptic Brewing will launch the Idaho market with a variety of beers. Highlights include the company’s flagship beer — Ecliptic Starburst IPA — and Phaser Hazy IPA, as well as with their Seasonal Series, beginning with SunRay Juicy IPA. Additionally, some beers from its Cosmic Collaborations Series will make it for the launch including Ecliptic + Wayfinder Cold IPA and Ecliptic + Reuben’s Brews CRI-STAR IPA. Check local retailers for beer availability throughout the state.
Ecliptic Brewing has planned an Idaho market launch visit for the week of February 14.
Ecliptic Brewing is a venture from John Harris, an Oregon beer icon whose background is steeped in the state’s rich craft brewing history. The name Ecliptic unites Harris’ two passions: brewing and astronomy. Ecliptic Brewing’s Mothership location opened in October of 2013 in North Portland and its second location — the Moon Room — opened in November of 2021 in southeast Portland. Ecliptic celebrates the Earth’s yearly journey around the sun through both its beer and restaurant menus. Harris’ signature beers include Ecliptic Starburst IPA, Phaser Hazy IPA, Carina Peach Sour Ale, Capella Porter and Pyxis Pilsner.
Ecliptic beers are available at the mothership brewery (825 North Cook St), the Moon Room (930 SE Oak St), in grocery stores, bottle shops, and on-tap throughout the area. They are distributed by: Maletis Beverage (Portland, Salem, Vancouver, Wash), Bigfoot Beverage (Eugene, Bend, Coast), Fort George Distributing (Northern Oregon Coast, Southern Washington Coast), Hodgen Distributing (Eastern Oregon),Summit Distribution (Southern Oregon), NW Beverages (Seattle, Tacoma), Odom(Eastern Washington, Northern ID), Dickerson Distributing (Bellingham), Hayden Beverage (Idaho), Crooked Stave Artisans (Colorado), Freedom Distributors(North Carolina), Beer Thirst (Canada) and Tread Water (Japan).
Mother Earth Brewing extends distribution to New York with Iron Horse Beverage
Mother Earth Brewing Co. just announced another addition to its already extensive distribution network, teaming up with craft-centric New York wholesalers Iron Horse Beverage. The Empire State marks the fifth Northeastern state in Mother Earth’s network, and the eighth east of the Mississippi. The brewery’s Executive VP Kevin Hopkins has been working with Iron Horse for several months on this strategic partnership:
“We first started introducing our beers to the eastern seaboard four years ago,” said Hopkins. “Now, with the addition of New York State, we’ve met our customers’ demands and can satisfy their thirst throughout the five boroughs. Who couldn’t be excited to know that Mother Earth is now available in Manhattan, on Staten Island, and in Brooklyn, The Bronx, Queens and beyond! It’s a great day for us and for all of our fans, and we couldn’t be prouder to be here!”
Iron Horse Beverage has already begun distribution of kegs and cans and to retailers. Coverage will include the entire state, with a focus on the 14 southern counties. Customers will be able to use the brewery’s interactive Beer Finder to locate Mother Earth Beers near them beginning mid-March at findmotherearthbrewing.com.
Mother Earth Brew Co. develops hand crafted artisanal ales in year-round, as well as seasonal and specialty offerings. With multi-state as well as international distribution serviced by breweries in Vista, Calif., and Nampa, Idaho, Mother Earth’s award-winning beers help define and maintain the standard of excellence expected of independent craft brewers.
The Bruery’s Ruekeller line of lagers gets national distribution
The Bruery is no stranger to brewing traditional, old-world inspired lagers, launching its Ruekeller: Helles in the wide market back in January of 2020 in 16-oz four-pack cans. Now Helles is getting some friends on the shelf, starting with Ruekeller: Dunkel, which is part of a new seasonal rotator that will hit wide distribution in late February.
Challenging in process, traditional in method, Ruekeller: Dunkel is inspired by old-world brewing techniques in the likeness of the traditional name. The company crafted this Bavarian-style dunkel with the finest of ingredients, the utmost of care, and years of experience in brewing extraordinary craft lagers. Ruekeller: Dunkel is a 6.2% ABV dark lager that’s lightly sweet with notes of mild caramel, chocolate, and a satisfying nuttiness.
“Our Bruers create such unique and innovative beers every day, every once in a while they go back to tradition and truly perfect a classic style like this dunkel,” says Brand Director Caitie Gold. “Our Bruers are experts in their craft and technique, and this style really highlights that expertise. We love our lagers here at The Bruery; next time you spot a table of off-the-clock Bruers on our Tasting Room patio, check out how many are sipping on one of our lagers.”
Stefan Weber, production manager for The Bruery, discusses the process behind creating this classic Munich-style beer: “Ruekeller: Dunkel is brewed with the traditional method of krausening. At the end of fermentation we throw in about 10% new beer to clean it up and make it extra crisp and refreshing, this also helps us avoid any undesirable flavors. The method also produces carbonation without the need to use sugars or other adjuncts. This beer was a labor of love; we say ‘hard to brew, easy to drink’. Dunkel turned out incredible, with a lot of bready character and a touch of roasty and chocolatey notes; I’m going to be drinking this in my backyard all Spring.”
The name Ruekeller is a play on words, paying homage to both the traditional krausen method of brewing fine lagers, and The Bruery’s namesake, Patrick Rue. In German, “ruh” literally translates to “quiet or “peace,” while in brewing, the Ruhkeller, or “Rest Cellar,” is where the beer is krausened.
This newest lager is now available across The Bruery’s distribution footprint in four-pack 16-oz cans as well as on draft in your favorite bar or restaurant. The Bruery also offers delivery across California, Virginia, New Hampshire, Vermont, North Dakota, Ohio and Pennsylvania, with complimentary delivery on first-time orders over $75. The Bruery is also proud to offer:
- Loakal Delivery across Orange County, Los Angeles County, and Washington D.C. for all orders placed before 12 PM on TheBruery.com.
- Delivery across CA, DC, PA, VA, VT, ND, OH, and NH
- Same-day pick-up for orders placed on TheBruery.com at their Fulfillment Center in Orange County and The Bruery Store in Washington, D.C.
- Availability at bottle shops and grocery stores in 29 states. Use TheBruery.com/find to find their beer on shelves and on tap across the country.
California’s Farmers Brewing expands distribution with Bay Area Distributing
Farmers Brewing Co. announced a distribution partnership with Bay Area Distributing based out of Richmond, Calif. The agreement between the farm-to-glass brewery and distributor will make Farmers Brewing Co. beer available in Alameda and Contra Costa counties starting on Feb. 28.
“It’s always exciting to add great partners and territories,” said Bill Weller, founder of Farmers Brewing Co. “The Bay Area will finally be able to put their lips on a farmer very soon.”
Bay Area Distributing will receive Farmers Brewing Co.’s year-round options — Farmers Light, 530, Valle and Sun Up ‘til Sun Down with seasonals to be distributed at a later date.
Founded in 2017 by a fifth-generation farmer, Farmers Brewing Co., LLC began brewing out of a garage in sprawling Princeton, Calif., with a population of 407. The true farm-to-glass brewery has expanded to a new facility and crafts lighter, sessionable and healthier beers in the Sacramento Valley of Northern California. Farmers Brewing prides itself on producing high-quality grains grown on its own farm to produce high-quality beers.
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