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!
Cincy’s Rhinegeist launches in Michigan with five different distributors
Cincinnati-based Rhinegeist Brewery recently announced its expansion into Michigan, bringing its full line of products to the Great Lakes State for the first time. Starting March 1, Rhinegeist has been be available on draft and in cans and bottles throughout Michigan.
The chance to expand distribution to such a large, thriving beer market like Michigan is an exciting move for the brewery in 2022. Rhinegeist will bring an array of products to the market, headlined by its year-round portfolio of beers, ciders (hitting the Michigan market in the fall), and the new line of Hard Craft Beverages called RGBevs. Here’s what’s included:
- Beers: Truth (IPA), Sunspun Shandy (Seasonal), Knowledge (Double IPA), Cloud Harvest (Unfiltered IPA)
- RGBevs: Bubbles (Hard Craft Beverage with Apple, Peach, and Cranberry), Zango Crush (Hard Craft Beverage with Mango and Blood Orange), and Lemmy Nade (Hard Craft Beverage with Lemon and Lime)
In addition to these staples, a slew of seasonal and limited rarities will rotate on shelves and taps throughout the year and hard-to-get releases from Rhinegeist’s award-winning barrel-aged and sour beer programs. To get these products into the hands of local purveyors and consumers, Rhinegeist has partnered with five of Michigan’s preeminent distributors of imported and craft beer:
- Petitpren, Inc.
- Fabiano Brothers, Inc.
- Atlas Sales Inc.
- Daniel L. Jacob & Co., Inc.
- West Side Beer Distributing
“We first visited Rhinegeist in October of 2019. We met with Matt [Steinke, VP of sales] and Nick [Vitalo, director of wholesalers] to discuss the opportunity of a wholesaler partnership” said Jamey Thompson, director of sales and marketing at Petitpren Inc. “We were very impressed with the brewery as well as their strong and defined culture which was evident during our visit. The portfolio of Rhinegeist is impressive and ranges across a wide spectrum of styles. These brands will be a great fit into our portfolio, and we are enthusiastic to be their wholesaler partner. The planning has been over two years in the making so we are prepared and ready for Rhinegeist’s launch in our market.”
Kyle Klopcic, VP of strategy at West Side Beer Distributors, echoed the sentiment: “We have watched the growth of Rhinegeist Brewery since they opened their doors nine years ago, and are excited to partner with them as they bring their diverse portfolio of craft beverages to Michigan. Michigan beer drinkers will appreciate Rhinegeist’s unwavering commitment to quality, passion for innovation, and desire to push the boundaries of flavor and expectation.”
“Rhinegeist’s entry into the Michigan market is a huge move for us in 2022,” added Steinke. “The Great Lakes State has a legendary reputation in the world of craft brewing and is home to many breweries that we have looked to for inspiration since day one. As a former Michigan resident, this is an especially exciting move for me personally, and I am both thrilled at and humbled by the opportunity to bring our diverse portfolio to such a large and innovative market. We are very excited to partner up with our distributors and get our products into the hands of thirsty Michiganders very soon.”
Memphis’ Wiseacre heads to Missouri and Indiana
Wiseacre Brewing Co. just announced its plans to launch statewide distribution in Missouri and Indiana this March. Five of the Memphis-based breweries’ year-round beers — Ananda IPA, Bow Echo Hazy IPA, Gotta Get Up to Get Down Coffee Milk Stout, Puffel Hazy Double IPA, and the Great American Beer Festival Bronze Medal-winning Tiny Bomb Pilsner — will be available in both states along with seasonal and specialty releases. Tiny Bomb has grown to become the No. 6 Craft Pilsner in the entire country with 57 percent growth across Wiseacre’s footprint in 2021. Thanks to its state-of-the-art production facility, opened in March of 2020, Wiseacre is able to offer a full array of packages with 12-, 16- and 19.2-oz cans coming in six-packs, four-packs, 12-packs, variety packs, and single-serve to create options for consumers in the fast changing landscape of craft beer.
Wiseacre is currently sold in Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, Mississippi, New Jersey, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Washington, D.C., so the expansion means that Wiseacre fans in a total of 16 states and the District of Columbia will be able to buy their Wiseacre favorites closer to home.
Wiseacre already has a devoted following in both Indiana and Missouri, thanks to its collaborations with local breweries and its active presence at local beer festivals. Wiseacre Brewmaster and Cofounder Davin Bartosch has produced collaboration beers with St. Louis-based Perennial Artisan Ales, 2nd Shift Brewing and Rockwell Beer Co. and Indianapolis-based Sun King Brewery, and Wiseacre beers have been featured at 4 Hands Festival in St. Louis, Perennial’s MidWest Belgian Beer Fest, 2nd Shift’s Festivals, and Sun King’s past Canvitational Festival.
“My brother Davin and I also have a very personal connection to St. Louis, in particular, because that’s where our father is from,” said Kellan Bartosch, Wiseacre cofounder. “We grew up going to St. Louis for Blues hockey games in the winter and Cardinals games in the summer. Hitting up Ted Drewes Frozen Custard and places on the hill like Rigazzi’s for toasted raviolis was an important part of our childhood. It’s thrilling to think that you could have authentic t-ravs and a fresh-from-the-tap Wiseacre beer at the same time.”
“When I was living in Chicago brewing beer for Rock Bottom, there was a ton of connectivity with Indiana breweries which led to great relationships and travel to visit friends’ breweries,” added Davin. “The state is full of world-class breweries that have created an amazing beer culture alongside bars, restaurants, and smart consumers. It is an honor for us to begin distribution there this month.”
Wiseacre Brewing Co. opened in Memphis in 2013 after brothers and Memphis natives Davin and Kellan Bartosch gained experience working in the brewing industry around the country and even overseas including Davin’s brewing studies at Doeman’s Academy in Germany. Since then, Wiseacre has grown to have two brewery and taproom locations, more than 60 employees, distribution in 17 states, and more than 170 beers ranging from German lagers and hoppy American styles to boozy Belgians and barrel-aging beers to boot.
Texas Ale Project announces distribution partnership with Ambiente Beverage
Texas Ale Project, Dallas Design District’s award-winning craft brewery, is about to become even more popular throughout the state of Texas. The brewery is experiencing rapid growth and will be expanding throughout the state of Texas in 2022.
Ambiente Beverage has been selected to distribute Texas Ale Project’s craft beer and TAPWTR hard seltzers in the Houston, Austin, and San Antonio markets — which also includes San Marcos, Waco, Galveston, and College Station. The highly respected Texas wine and craft beer distributor will assist the local brewery in expanding the availability of its popular brands like Fire Ant Funeral Amber Ale. This expanded distribution network strategically positions Texas Ale Project as a leader in Texas craft beer, and the partnership with Ambiente will supplement its marketing efforts throughout the state.
“Ambiente is very pleased to continue to grow our craft beer portfolio with Texas Ale Project. We have been scouring Texas for great breweries and feel that Texas Ale Project is the perfect fit for Ambiente,” said Tristan Maldonado, president, Ambiente Opco, LLC.
Ambiente Beverage joins other distributors Andrews Distributing (DFW & Corpus Christi), Reed Beverage (Amarillo, Midland, Odessa, San Angelo, & Abilene), and Standard Sales (Lubbock) in building out Texas Ale Project’s mission for state-wide availability of its beers. Texas Ale Project also currently self-distributes to Denton County and East Texas.
Just earlier this month, Texas Ale Project won silver in the Texas Craft Breweries Cup for its 100 Million Angels Singing, which will be among the brewery’s award-winning beers distributed to San Antonio, Austin, and Houston bars and retailers starting spring 2022. New beers for 2022 are also in the works including a new limited edition Pantera collaboration, a new rotational services of IPAs, and a new flavor of TAPWTR hard seltzer.
Texas Ale Project’s ambitious strategic plan includes growing statewide and being the preferred brand of Texans for quality craft beer people can count on. To make this a reality, the brewery will be hiring brewery sales representatives to support the growth of the brand in these new markets.
“We’re very busy around here, planning for new beers and new markets. I am excited to take this next big step in our growth with Ambiente. They are strategic in their approach to service and market coverage. The efficiency this partnership provides allows us to focus on making great beers and growing our brands,” said Kat Thompson, founder and CEO of Texas Ale Project
Opened in 2014, Texas Ale Project is a family and veteran-owned and operated Dallas craft brewery in the Design District of Dallas, Texas. Texas Ale Project is the first brewery to be built from the ground up in the city of Dallas since the late 1800s. The brewery is on a mission to refine some of the greatest craft beer traditions and methodologies and blend those carefully with modern science to produce well-balanced, smooth, and flavorful ales. Texas Ale Project is also the producer of TAPWTR fine craft hard seltzers.
Texas Ale Project’s brewery and T.A.P. Room is located at 1001 N Riverfront Blvd. in Dallas. The public can visit the brewery during T.A.P. Room hours Thursday-Sunday.
Craft Collective partners with Vermont Beer Makers
Craft Collective, an independent craft beverage distributor serving Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Maine, recently announced the expansion of its service area to Vermont in conjunction with a new, local distribution partnership with Vermont Beer Makers.
The Springfield, Vt.-based brewery has worked with Craft Collective since 2020, and the brand has enjoyed tremendous success in each of Craft Collective’s territories. Vermont Beer Makers is now poised for growth in its home market with the support of Craft Collective’s experienced team and distribution infrastructure.
“Vermont is a special place for beer, and many of our leadership’s formative craft beer experiences happened there,” said Adam Oliveri, cofounder and CEO at Craft Collective. “We’ve wanted to distribute in Vermont since we launched Craft Collective in 2015 and are happy to now be partnering with a promising local brand to build the Vermont business around.”
Vermont Beer Makers, formerly known as Trout River Brewing Co., is one of 10 original Vermont craft breweries still in operation today. Its carefully crafted lineup includes a variety of popular styles, from its flagship IPAs, Verd and Pebble, to seasonal favorites and its experimental Innovation Series.
Norm Connell, vice president of Vermont Beer Makers, commented: “We look forward to continuing to grow our brand throughout New England and beyond through our partnership with Craft Collective. We have relied on Craft since our beginning and will continue to do so as we grow and begin construction of our new state of the art brewery in Brattleboro, Vt.”
Craft Collective’s service begins today (March 7!) with the exclusive distribution of Vermont Beer Makers’ lineup. Craft Collective plans to expand the portfolio with additional brands this spring. To learn more about Craft Collective’s family of brands, visit www.getcraft.co.
Willie’s Superbrew expands to Florida, Georgia and Alabama
Willie’s Superbrew, the hard seltzer made with real superfruits, will be available in Florida, Georgia, and Alabama starting this March. The expansion comes on the heels of the company’s major rebrand and launch of Beach-Ade, a hard lemonade variety pack. Earlier this year, Willie’s Superbrew expanded into Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina.
“The success we’re having in Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina led to the earlier rollout of Georgia, Florida, and Alabama. We jumped into the Top 25 L13W in NC food in just a few months,” said Lee Schill, chief sales officer. “Willie’s is excited to enter into some high volume seltzer and FMB states in 2022 with some great retail support and we’re aligning ourselves with some of the best wholesalers in the business — JJ Taylor, Reyes, Goldring Gulf, J&L, Champion, SRP and Champion brands.”
“We’re pumped to complete our East Coast expansion with some incredible wholesale partners. We are ahead of schedule because major retailers pulled us into the market after we achieved top 20 rankings in the Carolinas at a very premium price,” said Cofounder and CEO Nico Enriquez. “The southeast also just fits our brand. Superbrew was born on the beach by a surfer and a goat farmer. We make it to bring joy and soul to people while helping them come together to take care of our planet. Our goal is to use this territory expansion to increase our beach clean movement from the tip of the Keys all the way to Maine’s coastal border.”
The Willie’s team is on schedule to complete that goal. Beaches in North Carolina, Virginia, and New Hampshire have been added to its beach clean efforts as the brand pledges to clean 25 sq ft for every can of Superbrew sold.
54°40′ Brewing expands distribution across home state of Washington
54°40′ Brewing Co., the popular microbrewery named after 19th century territorial boundaries, is expanding the distribution territory for its comfort-centered craft beers to the 49th parallel. The southwest Washington brewer will distribute four beers plus seasonal favorites to craft beer lovers through craft beer retail and taps across Washington state with the support of Kendall’s Pioneer and Browar Polska, two distributors specializing in craft beverages.
Beers appearing soon include Kascadia, a Kölsch-style ale that earned a silver medal at the Great American Beer Festival, along with Red Zeppelin amber ale, Half Cocked IPA and 1862 Mexican lager. The beers are 4.8 to 6.5% ABV and available in draft and 12-oz six-packs.
“I’m southwest Washington born and raised and have always wanted my community to be known as a good beer community,” said Bolt Minister, founder and head brewer. “We’re now responding to the interest of people up and down the I-5 corridor.”
Minister started 54°40′ Brewing in 2015 with a production facility and brewery and taproom just south of SR14 highway in Washougal and opened 54°40′ Beer Lodge in Stevenson. The company brewed 2,700 bbls in 2021 with distribution in northwest Oregon and through its own locations. Sales growth is expected with additional distribution.
“We were drawn to the sales team for Kendall’s and Browar, who really know how to serve the craft beer community in Washington,” said Minister.
“We are very proud of how the southwest Washington beer scene is developing, and 54°40′ has been requested from Bellingham to Spokane,” said Sam Madrid, COO of Corwin Beverage Co., parent of distributors Kendall’s Pioneer and Browar Polska.
54°40′ Brewing Co. was formed in 2015 in Washougal, Wash., with a desire to share good times with family and friends over easy drinking craft beers. Its 54°40′ name is derived from a 1862-1864 negotiation between the United States and Britain regarding establishing the Canadian border of the Oregon territory, which was achieved by compromise at the 49th parallel. The company operates a family- and pet-friendly taproom at 3801 S. Truman St. in Washougal, and 54°40′ Beer Lodge at 310 2nd St. in Stevenson, Wash.