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!
Great Lakes Brewing heads to Maryland, First New State Since 2012
Great Lakes Brewing Co. (GLBC), now celebrating 31 years of independent craft brewing, recently announced plans to distribute its award-winning ales and lagers throughout Maryland.
On October 7 (today!), Ohio’s original craft brewery will be available throughout the state of Maryland through a partnership with Backup Beverage. While GLBC has deepened and expanded its existing distribution territory in recent years, this is the first new state the brewery has opened since 2012.
According to GLBC Regional Sales Manager Mike Friedle, launching in the state of Maryland presents exciting growth opportunities for the brewery. “Maryland has long been a missing piece of our distribution footprint along the East Coast. Previously, those in the area would need to travel to neighboring D.C., Virginia, West Virginia or Pennsylvania to purchase our product. We’re thrilled to finally make our beers available to everyone in the DMV.”
Customers can expect to find GLBC’s year-round family of beers in package and draft: Dortmunder Gold Lager, Eliot Ness Amber Lager, Holy Moses White Ale, Burning River Pale Ale, Great Lakes IPA, Commodore Perry IPA and Edmund Fitzgerald Porter. GLBC’s seasonal portfolio will also debut in Maryland beginning with Oktoberfest and Ohio City Oatmeal Stout in October, and followed by fan favorite Christmas Ale in November.
California’s 21st Amendment Brewery goes to Michigan
Michigan beer drinkers get ready. The 21st Amendment Brewery is making its way to the Wolverine State and bringing its favorite beers to get the fun started with brands like Brew Free! or Die IPA, Sparkale sparkling rosé ale, summer seasonal Hell or High Watermelon wheat beer, Blood Orange Brew Free! or Die IPA, El Sully Mexican-style lager, Tasty IPA, a west-coast IPA and Blah Blah Blah IPA, an Imperial IPA. Whoa.
“We have wonderful fans of our beers throughout the Midwest, and we’ve been wanting to get to Michigan for quite some time, so we are thrilled to finally make it happen,” said Dave Wilson, president of 21st Amendment Brewery. “Michigan is one of the best craft beer states in the country and has a deep reputation for great craft and helping make the industry what it is today.”
Michigan and California have a lot in common. The two states have the largest diversity of agricultural crops in the United States, plus they share an incredibly rich and vibrant craft beer spirit and community. Michigan loves craft beer.
“For me, bringing our beer to Michigan is wonderful. I’ve long admired the great craft beer from Michigan and have many friends that work at breweries around the state. Selfishly, I’m looking forward to toasting pints with them as well as with Michigan craft beer fans,” said Shaun “Sully” O’Sullivan, brewmaster and cofounder of 21st Amendment Brewery. “All of our 21st Amendment year-round, seasonal and Insurrection Series limited release beers will be available on draft, and in six-pack cans, including our popular variety packs.”
“Cans are the perfect companion for your outdoor adventures, and what better place to explore than Michigan,” said Nico Freccia, cofounder of 21st Amendment Brewery. “So, grab some cans of our craft beer while whitewater rafting the Menominee River, the Port Huron Float Down or ice fishing during the winter months for walleye, northern pike and crappies.”
The 21A will be distributing its packaged and draft beers at retail locations throughout the state of Michigan with Imperial Beverage, its distributor partner.
Florida’s Big Storm head north, begins fronts in New Jersey and North Carolina
Florida-based Big Storm Brewing Co. is expanding distribution again — this time to New Jersey and North Carolina. The move follows an expansion to Ohio announced last month.
“With such great support from our local communities in Florida, we’ve had immense growth at Big Storm,” said Big Storm Co-owner L.J. Govoni. “We’re excited to share some of Big Storm’s top award-winning beers with consumers in both the Garden and Tar Heel States.”
Big Storm will be distributed in New Jersey by Shore Point Distributing Co. Inc. and in North Carolina by Carolina Eagle Distributing. Both distributors will carry Big Storm’s core beers: Wavemaker Amber Ale, Tropic Pressure Florida Ale, BroMosa Tangerine IPA, Palm Bender Gulf Coast IPA and Arcus Southern Pale Ale. Its seasonal lineup will be available during designated months and includes Oats In Hose Oatmeal Stout, Key Lime Shandy, Oktoberfest Lager and Dunder and Blixem Spiced Ale.
“Geographic boundaries come second to working with distributor partners who share our vision of the Big Storm brand, commitment to customer service and a love for the product. We feel both Shore Point and Carolina Eagle check all those boxes,” Govoni said.
New Jersey has seen a 43 percent growth in its craft beer industry since 2015, according to a 2019 study done by the research company C + R. The state, along with Kentucky, which has tied it with 43 percent, has seen more craft brewery growth than any other state.
Founded in 2012, Big Storm currently has three taprooms in the Sunshine State — Clearwater, Odessa and Cape Coral. Led by Head Brewer Joel Moore, Big Storm has embraced its tagline “Florida’s Craft Beer Forecast,” by developing a dynamic lineup of Florida favorites like Tropic Pressure Florida Ale, steeped with hibiscus flowers, and Key Lime Shandy, brewed with Key lime purée.
Tennessee’s Wiseacre Brewing launches distro in Georgia, announces new year-round beers
Memphis-based Wiseacre Brewing Co. recently announced that it launched statewide distribution in Georgia on October 1. In partnership with Georgia Crown Distributing, Wiseacre Brewing Co. will bring to the Peach State its signature lineup of beers, including Ananda India Pale Ale, Gotta Get Up to Get Down Coffee Milk Stout and the Great American Beer Festival Bronze Medal-winning Tiny Bomb Pilsner, as well as various seasonal and specialty offerings. Georgia will be the ninth state in which Wiseacre is sold, in addition to Tennessee, Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Illinois, Florida and Pennsylvania.
“We’ve gotten so much feedback through emails, reviews and social media from Georgians who tried our beer on their visits throughout the Southeast, Chicago and Philly and want to be able to buy Wiseacre in their home state,” said Wiseacre Cofounder Kellan Bartosch. “We want to say to Georgia. We got the message loud and clear. Now that we’ve got the help of the pros at Georgia Crown, we’ll be able to get our beer to you quickly.”
Wiseacre beer made its way into select Atlanta bars and stores starting in late September.
In addition to the Georgia launch, Wiseacre is also thrilled to announce the introduction of three new year-round beers: a pale ale, a Berliner weisse and an India Pale Ale series. Regular Pale Ale is a seasonal offering that became a perennial best-seller thanks to its new-age IPA characteristics but session-able 5.1 percent ABV. The Beach Within Reach Berliner Weisse is a sour beer made in the style of a German ale that Napoleon once dubbed “the champagne of the North.” Lastly, the MemFresh India Pale Ale series will kick off with Xanadu Hazy IPA.
“In the realm of hoppy beers, “hyper-fresh” is increasingly relevant — IPA super-fans want beers that are consumed within weeks or even days of production for maximum flavor and aroma,” said Wiseacre Brewmaster and Cofounder Davin Bartosch. “With this new IPA series, our goal is to keep the beer extremely fresh, so we’ll be brewing smaller quantities on a regular basis rather than larger batch sizes like we do on most of our year-round beers. This past year, we have experimented constantly with hops, varieties of ale yeast, new grain bills and more. We’re taking the best and most unique things we learned from that to create this new IPA series. Look for MemFresh beers to pop up a few times before the end of 2019, but to be more widely available in early 2020 on draft and in four-pack cans.”
In just five years, Wiseacre has grown from a 954-bbl operation with no employees to a capacity of 20,500 bbls with nearly 40 employees (full-time and part-time). The additional production capacity at its new facility, opening 2020 in Memphis, will enable Wiseacre to grow to help meet growing demand for Wiseacre’s five year-round beers and over 160 specialty and seasonal beers, as well as increased regional distribution.
Wiseacre opened in Memphis in August of 2013 after brothers and Memphis natives Davin and Kellan Bartosch gained experience working in the brewing industry around the country. Their brewery and taproom are located at 2783 Broad Ave where they’ve made over 160 beers ranging from German lagers, to hoppy American styles, complex and boozy Belgian beers, and barrel aging beers to boot.
Cape Cod’s Devil’s Purse (named after a fish egg) sells in Connecticut
Michael Segerson’s earliest memory is picking up a curious-looking object on the beach in Chatham, Mass., and learning it was a devil’s purse — the egg case of a skate. Fast forward to December 2010 when Segerson was looking for a nautically inspired name to put on the labels of the home-brewed beer he was giving as holiday gifts. When word spread about the quality of his homebrews and demand became overwhelming, Segerson took Devil’s Purse Brewing Co. pro. This was an unexpected turn of events.
“I was pursuing a career in the wine world, studying for a master of wine certification,” said Segerson. “One class focused on beer and spirits, and genetics and chemistry were also covered. With wine, it’s all about the quality of the grapes. Beer is a more level playing field. Some of our first beers were an ESB and a Kolsch — no one else was doing it. Our beers also stand out for being inspired by European tradition.”
Segerson and his older brother and business partner Richard Segerson grew up in Greenwich, Connecticut, and spent every summer in Chatham, Mass., so it follows that Devil’s Purse beers are sea-inspired, from Pollock Rip IPA to Intertidal Oyster Stout, which is brewed with fresh Cape Cod oysters.
The company’s three core beers are available in Connecticut: Handline Kolsch, an unfiltered German-style kolsch, mildly hopped with vanguard; Surfman’s Check ESB, a malt-forward style driven by English malts and hopped with Northdown and East Kent Goldings; and the classic Pollock Rip IPA, featuring Apollo and Chinook hops for a dry finish. Other beers are available seasonally, and many more can be sampled at Devil’s Purse’s Cape Cod tap room, which is open year-round.
“We are thrilled that Devil’s Purse beers have been so well received in our home state,” said Rich. “It is not uncommon for locations to sell out during tastings.”
Devil’s Purse has partnered with distributors in each of the four states where it’s currently available. Distribution in Connecticut is through Star Distributors Inc.
Taste Devil’s Purse beers at these upcoming events
- October 7, BevMax, Stratford
- October 21, Temple Wine and Liquor, New Haven
- October 22, Total Wine and Liquor, Norwalk
Shmaltz Brewing partners with Gasko and Meyer for upstate New York distribution
Shmaltz Brewing Co. recently announced it’s now working with a new upstate New York distributor Gasko and Meyer Inc. With local warehouses based one hour south of the Capital District in Kingston, N.Y., Gasko and Meyer Inc. will service all of the 518 area code plus will add western and central New York from the upper Hudson Valley to Buffalo. The latest addition to Shmaltz’s network of distributors across the country, Gasko and Meyer enhances the regional retail presence and draft availability of the award-winning craft beer lineup. Shmaltz teams up with Gasko and Meyer to bring rejuvenated focus and attention to the Shmaltz brand throughout upstate New York.
Shmaltz’s distribution growth throughout the country comes on the heels of returning to a contract-brewing model with outsourcing to Captain Lawrence Brewing Co. in Westchester County in Elmsford, N.Y. Considered one of the true pioneers of craft beer in New York State, Captain Lawrence constantly innovates and evolves as part of the vanguard of the craft brewing scene. Shmaltz’s new autumn and winter beers are released fresh off of Captain Lawrence’s brand spankin’ new canning line.
“We couldn’t be happier with our decision to work with Gasko and Meyer,” said Jeremy Cowan, founder of Shmaltz Brewing. “They have wholeheartedly embraced our craft beer portfolio and are as excited as we are about growing our presence here in our home market of upstate New York, which has a booming craft beer scene. The entire family at Gasko and Meyer has welcomed our brand, and you can feel the level of enthusiasm from everyone in the company. We look forward to this exciting chapter of our growth with them.”
“I’m a longtime fan of Shmaltz Brewing,” said Bruce Nober, sales manager at Gasko and Meyer. “I’ve been extremely impressed with their award-winning portfolio over the years. Shmaltz is a standout brewery that brews everything the modern beer drinker could want: true craft lagers, barrel-aged imperials, iconic holiday releases and hops hops hops. Something for everyone.”
Dallas’ Lakewood Brewing picks partner Hops and Vines
“We are pumped to join forces with the talented team at Hops and Vines Distributing,” said Wim Bens, founder and president of LBC. “Hops and Vines shares our dedication to quality, service and bringing only the best craft beer to market. Since day one our approach was to grow our distribution footprint organically and now the time has come to share the beer love with almost all of Texas.”
Hops and Vines will roll out distribution in Waco, San Antonio and Houston in addition to the current Lakewood Brewing footprint over the next few months, as well as take over the distribution rights in the Austin market.
“We are incredibly excited and proud to partner with Wim Bens and the brewing talent at Lakewood Brewing Co., and to support and enhance their brand-building efforts throughout the state of Texas,” said Tristan Maldonado, cofounder and CEO of Hops and Vines. “Lakewood is perhaps best known for The Temptress imperial milk stout, which is the No. 1-selling craft stout in the entire state of Texas, even though it’s currently only distributed in limited areas of the state. We’re excited to bring The Temptress and Lakewood’s other highly creative beers to share with beer lovers across more of our great state.”
Lakewood’s year-round offerings include Lakewood Lager, Lakewood IPA, All Call Kolsch, Lemonale, The Temptress and soon Texas Porter.
In 2011, after years of experience learning the beer brewing process, Wim Bens set his sights on bringing high-quality, hand crafted beer to the Dallas metroplex. Lakewood Brewing became one of the first local breweries to enter the Dallas beer scene and started distribution in August of 2012. Since then Lakewood has drawn beer lovers in with their award-winning portfolio of year-round, seasonal and specialty brews.
Hops and Vines began servicing retail accounts serving Lakewood products during the month of September. Lakewood will officially mark its entry into the San Antonio craft beer community at the San Antonio Beer Festival on October 19.
Author Mead expands into Oregon and Washington
Author Mead Co. has announced that it has signed on with two distributors to bring its draft meads to more places in the Pacific Northwest. Point Blank Distributing in Portland will handle Oregon distribution and Kendall’s Pioneer in Ridgefield, Wash., will handle Washington distribution. This move will help Author Mead Co. go deeper and wider with customers and consumers in its home market. Point Blank and Kendall’s Pioneer will expand the distribution footprint for both on-premise and off-premise retail accounts.
“We are thrilled to be working with the knowledgeable, professional and cutting-edge teams at both Point Blank and Kendall’s Pioneer,” said Mike Killgore, director of operations and brewing at Author Mead Co. “We have been bursting at the seams trying to keep up using a self-distribution model, and this brings peace of mind that we will exceed expectations with our crowd-favorite draft meads and the great service our customers have come to know us by.”
The wholesalers will be bringing on board the entire lineup of cans, kegs and bottles including Raspberry, Semi-Sweet, Marionberry and Rosé, as well as seasonals Peach, Black Currant Sour and Cranberry.