In the midst of a brewery expansion that will nearly double its production capacity, California-based Firestone Walker announced plans to enter eight new states beginning in March.
In a press release, the brewery said it had finalized agreements with wholesalers to launch in Connecticut, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico and Vermont. The company will also begin exporting to Canada and Sweden.
Following the roll out, Firestone Walker will be available in 26 states, with limited shipments also going to Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.
“These are markets that have been requesting our beer for years,” David Macon, Firestone Walker’s vice president of sales and marketing, said via press statement.
The new market entries signal a shifting focus for Firestone Walker: the brewery has historically prioritized California, where roughly 80 percent of the its beer is sold, over any commitments that could limit product availability within its best market.
“We have always taken a measured approach to distribution expansion, and we wanted to wait until we could fully serve each of these markets with confidence. That time has come,” Macon said.
That newfound confidence comes just eight months after Firestone Walker sold to Duvel Moortgat USA for an estimated $250 million and a November announcement that it would invest $15 million into a brewery expansion. Expected to finish 2017, the expansion will double the company’s production capacity to 600,000 barrels annually.
Despite its intense focus on the California market, Firestone Walker grew production about 27 percent last year, producing upwards of 265,000 barrels.
“It’s fitting that this is happening during our 20th anniversary year,” David Walker, co-founder of the brewery, said in the press release. “We launched our brewery in 1996, and distribution was limited to the tri-county area of California’s Central Coast. We have come a long way.”