Massachusetts Wine Distributor Builds Craft Beer Portfolio

Arborway Imports is quickly becoming a key player in the craft beer distribution game in Massachusetts.

The distributor, best known for its vast wine offerings, today announced a new distribution partnership with Framingham, Mass. based startup Jack’s Abby.

The lager-exclusive brewery, which opened its doors last July, will continue self-distributing in its home market of Framingham while Arborway will take the brand statewide, with a bottle release scheduled for April.

But Jack’s Abby isn’t the only craft brewer to sign with Arborway. The Burlington, Mass based distributor will also recently began distributing products from Vermont-based brewers Hill Farmstead and The Alchemist. And last October, they inked deals with Somerville, Mass. based Slumbrew and Rochester, N.Y.’s Three Heads Brewing. Arborway is owned by Gregg Berman, who also started the increasingly popular craft brand Clown Shoes.

Matt Gamble, the Beer Operations Manager for Arborway, discussed the distributor’s portfolio strategy.

“For us, it’s about pursuing small brands that are making high quality products that are also exciting,” he said. “We really want the freshest beer we can get and we want the types of products that aren’t typically available in our market.”

Gamle said Arborway will also look to capitalize on its relationships with wine-focused accounts to help their growing portfolio of craft brands.

“Having those relationships already established helps restaurants and stores increase their knowledge of craft beer and craft beer’s presence in those establishments,” said Gamble.

Gamble also said Arborway is currently in the “working phases” of some more craft beer distribution partnerships, but could not comment on specifics.

Below is the official press release concerning the Jack’s Abby agreement.

BURLINGTON, MA – Arborway Imports of Burlington, MA and Jack’s Abby Brewing of Framingham, MA announced today their new distribution partnership. Beginning this week, Jack’s Abby will begin the transfer of it’s distribution network to Arborway and Jack’s Abby beers will be available statewide in draft format only. Jack’s Abby will continue to service their local area of Framingham and the surrounding towns while Arborway will offer the beer to the rest of the state. Jack’s Abby has purchased a bottling line and will also begin bottling after the equipment is installed and tested, tentatively scheduled to happen in April.

“We are extremely proud to have Jack’s Abby Brewing as a key part of our craft beer portfolio” said Matt Gamble, Certified Cicerone and Beer Operations Director for Arborway Imports, “Their passion for brewing lagers offers our customers an alternative to the many ales that currently dominate the craft market.”

Arborway will carry three year round offerings from Jack’s Abby, Jabby Brau, Smoke and Dagger and Hoponius Union, plus seasonal and special release lagers as they are released. Keep an eye on Jack’s Abby facebook page for continuous updates on which new beers are being released.

Jack's Abby LogoAbout the Beers:

Jabby Brau: Deep golden in color, this low ABV lager balances Pilsner and Munich malt with an aromatic American hop aroma. This beer starts hoppy but finishes unexpectedly malty with very low bitterness. Impressively flavorful and drinkable for the lightest beer we brew. We dub this beer a “Session Lager,” as we once again brew a lager in a beer style of its own. Uses local Soft Red Winter Wheat from Four Star Farms.
OG 11.5 Plato / IBU’s 20 / ABV 4.5%

Smoke and Dagger: Cloaked in mystery, this dark black beer gets roasted and smoky notes from traditional Beechwood smoked malt and chocolate malt. Full bodied and malty with little to no hop character. Uses Unmalted Barley from Four Star Farms.
OG 14.5 Plato / IBU’s 25 / ABV 5.8%

Hoponius Union: Our India Pale Lager, offers a twist to the traditional IPA being fermented cold and aged for extended periods. A blend of aromatic classic American hops create a huge citrusy-hoppy aroma. Uses local Dehulled Spelt from Four Star Farms.
OG 15.5 Plato / IBU’s 65 / ABV 6.7%

About Jack’s Abby Brewing:

Founded in January 2011 by three brothers, Jack, Eric and Sam Hendler who grew up in a family business, Jack’s Abby Brewing is a craft brewery specializing truly distinctive lagers featuring locally grown hops, traditional German brewing standards, and American innovation.

The name, Jack’s Abby Brewing, pays homage to co-founder Jack Hendler’s wife, Abby, while evoking the tradition of monastic groups in Europe who create handcrafted beers in their abbeys. The brothers are inspired by the tradition of craft brewing using quality local ingredients, mindful labor and great recipes to create delicious, authentic beer. For more information visit

About Arborway:

Arborway was founded in 1990, primarily as a fine wine importer and distributor. Specializing in French and Italian wines, they gained a foothold in the Massachusetts wine market and grew into a well established wine company. Gregg Berman, the fourth generation of family wine business owners, took the helm in 2001 and in 2008 created Arborway’s beer division, starting with Clown Shoes Beer. Since then, the beer division of Arborway has grown tremendously, thanks to Gregg’s passion for and dedication to craft beer that he shares with the sales staff and management. Arborway’s beer division is built to deliver beer as fresh as possible, utilizing their large amounts of cold storage and efficient delivery fleet to bring only the highest quality, freshest beer to it’s customers. For more information call (781) 365-1137 or visit