Distribution Roundup: Building a Brand at Home

Staying local — that’s the theme for this week’s Distribution Roundup.

The Statesman Journal of Salem, Ore. published a story this week about how small, undercapitalized Willamette Valley-based craft beer and cider companies are putting an added emphasis on local distribution.

It cites mainstays Seven Brides and Wandering Aengus Ciderworks as brands now well acquainted with store shelves in the area, as well as local outfit Gilgamesh Brewing’s recent decision to bottle its beers for retail distribution.

Seven Brides co-owner Jeff DeSantis told the Journal that bottling was always part of their business plan and that starting the business in a larger space allowed them to grow into it, rather than out of it. Making that decision, he explained, allowed for them to operate on their own timetable, rather than working around avoidable growing pains.

The article explains, “If brewers don’t have the capacity to produce enough beer, they have to move into larger facilities before bottling can be a part of the equation, he said.”

The article adds that on top of distribution throughout Oregon, Seven Brides can be found in parts of Washington and Idaho and the brewery has plans to now look into new markets beyond the Northwest.

On the other side of the country, 14th Star Brewing Co. is also focusing distribution to the company’s local, Saint Albans, Vt. market.

The St. Albans Messenger reports that 14th Star has signed an agreement for Ferrell Distributing Company to ship the product throughout the state.

After a year of growing its production and staff, the brewery will also move its manufacturing operations to a 16,000 sq. ft. space in the the St. Albans Shopping Plaza. The facility is expected  to be fully operational by the end of next summer.

Further south, Lancaster Brewing Co. also landed new hometown distribution, coming to an agreement with Gretz Beer Company, which will supply Bucks, Montgomery and Delaware counties.

“Gretz Beer has been a leader in craft sales in the Philadelphia area,” said Pete Keares, owner of Lancaster, in a press release, “and they are recognized nationally as one of the best in the business.”

Of course, some breweries made moves away from their home markets too.

Grimm Brothers Brewhouse has inked a distribution agreement with Johnson Brothers Distributing that will bring the Loveland, CO-based brand to Nebraska.

According to Drinks Business Review, Grimm’s bottles will spearhead the expansion effort, set to begin early in the new year, with draft rolling out at a later, undetermined date.

Nebraska is the first new state outside of Colorado where Grimm will be distributed, confirmed Russell Fruits, the company’s “beer evangelist” in an email to Brewbound.

He added that the company “will be moving on to new states as our expansion proceeds this spring.”