Twisted Pine Brewing Company is getting out of the distribution business.
The company today announced plans to cease off-site sales and instead focus on being a leading Colorado brewpub.
Restricting the brand’s availability almost exclusively to the Twisted Pine Ale House, the 21-year old Boulder-based brewery has already started parting ways with wholesalers outside of Colorado and will ultimately limit any off-site sales to a few select retailers within its home state.
The company plans to completely terminate all of its distribution arrangements by this summer.
In an interview with Brewbound, Justin Tilotta, Twisted Pine’s director of sales and marketing, described the move as an effort to concentrate on the company’s most promising area of growth — its taproom and restaurant — while simultaneously allowing its brewers to get back to the joy of brewing.
“I think that maybe most brewers might start out with that passionate mentality but the lines can get a little bit blurred as it becomes more of a manufacturing business,” Tilotta said. “I think we just wanted to kinda resolidify that initial passion that led [Twisted Pine president Bob Baile] to open a brewery in his garage and quit a well paying chemist job 20 years ago.”
Although Twisted Pine sales were up in most of the 12 states where its products were distributed, Tilotta said that a booming brewpub business had quickly become the company’s primary source of revenue.
“It’s the fastest growing segment of our business, and it’s the only facet of the beer sales business that allows you to directly interact with the end consumer — which is fun and rewarding,” he said.
While the company could have focused on growing sales at its brewpub without eliminating all of its distribution, Twisted Pine wasn’t up for the task.
“It seemed like a much better and more fitting idea for us to just really hone in with laser focus on this one side that we all enjoy and feel is more rewarding than playing the distribution game,” he said.
As the number of craft breweries has increased to more than 4,300 nationwide, so too has the pressure for maintaining valuable retail placements. Facing stiff competition, and grappling with the realization that a majority of production is dominated by only a handful of core brands, Twisted Pine opted to pivot.
“You can invest a lot into trying to compete with breweries that are getting larger and larger, and taking in lots of money from other large breweries and other investment companies, or we could just do what’s already successful for us and the part that we actually enjoy,” he said.
The decision to retrench comes just two years after Twisted Pine unveiled a major rebranding effort that included redesigned labels, and about 18 months after the company introduced a variety of new year-round packages.
In addition to pulling back distribution, Twisted Pine also plans to reduce availability of its bottled offerings and will only sell limited quantities exclusively at its own Ale House location.
As a result of the strategy shift, Twisted Pine production will also decline from 6,000 barrels to about 3,000 barrels annually, according to The Denver Post.
The company plans to soon begin selling some of its bottling equipment, Tilotta added.