Oskar Blues is getting aggressive.
Today, the Longmont, Colo. based brewery broke news of an east coast expansion in Brevard, North Carolina. If you’re keeping count, Oskar Blues is now the third regional brewery planning to build a second location in N.C. – Sierra Nevada and New Belgium are the others.
So why Brevard? Brewery spokesperson Chad Melis tells Brewbound.com that it’s part strategy and part passion play for OB owner Dale Katechis.
“Dale really fell in love with that area,” Melis said. “Almost 40 percent of our business is out east. It made sense to build out east because of the investment we would need for a new building and the size we need to supply the whole country.”
Passion play or not, Melis seemed pretty bullish on Oskar Blues growth over the next 3 years. The company produced 59,000 barrels in 2011 and is projecting between 85,000 and 95,000 this year. And that’s without the new facility, which is slated to come online in December.
And Oskar Blues is projecting 140,000 barrels for 2013. It sounds aggressive, but Melis doesn’t seem too worried.
“Dale really enjoys taking risks and going with his gut,” he said. “Growth is part of the fun and we are going to continue pushing the limits. We are really enjoying the ride.”
Driving the growth is the company’s flagship, Dale’s Pale Ale, accounting for 55-60 percent of sales. But Melis said the newly packaged Deviant Dale’s IPA, released in March, has seen tremendous initial success.
“Anytime you bring a new package, price and beer to the market it can present some challenges, but the feedback has been great,” he said. “I see some opportunity for Deviant to continue on a path that is turning even more volume.”
And while Oskar Blues is already in the more craft-savy chains like Whole Foods and Bev-Mo, Melis said once the new brewery is up and running the company plans on making more of a push in the grocery and convenience channels.
“We are focusing on our personnel and also more store on the chain store side of things,” he said. “We are trying to get the infrastructure to be more effective in the grocery channel.”