Less than a month after Dogfish Head switched distributors in Illinois, the Delaware-based craft brewery has altered its route to market in Massachusetts.
Previously distributed by Atlantic Beverage Distributors, the Dogfish Head brands will now be sold throughout Massachusetts by five MillerCoors wholesalers: Atlas Distributing, Burke Distributing, Colonial Wholesale Beverage, Commercial Distributing, and Merrimack Valley Distributing Company.
Reached by phone, Dogfish Head founder and CEO Sam Calagione said the decision to make a change in Massachusetts, a top 10 market for the brewery, stemmed from a broader initiative to examine “every single market, every single week, to see which distributors are over-performing versus our national trend and those that are underperforming.”
“There are a lot of craft beer passionate people at Atlantic who have been great champions of Dogfish Head’s beers, and other great indie craft brands in their portfolio,” he said. “But I’ve been delighted to see how many owners and sales leaders at the five companies we are moving to are equally knowledgeable and evangelical craft professionals.”
Calagione, who launched Dogfish Head in 1995 and has grown the company into top 15 craft brewery, added that slower category-wide growth within the craft segment has caused the company to more closely consider which wholesalers it works with, in both new and existing markets.
“It is ironic that today is a massively stormy day – it is symbolic of where the beer industry is – and it is inevitable that we are in the beginning phases of a shakeout moment,” he said. “We are a brand that needs to rely on super strong, market share-orientated distributors that prioritize our brands at this competitive moment.”
In a statement, Atlantic Beverage Distributors’ general sales manager Mino Soghomonian said the decision to “release” the Dogfish Head portfolio was “reached amicably.”
“As of March 2nd, 2018, we will no longer be representing the portfolio in the state of Massachusetts,” he wrote. “We are appreciative of our long-lasting partnership and wish nothing but continued success to the brewery.”
Over the last eight months, Atlantic has sold the distribution rights to three prominent craft brands. Last November, the company sold Stone Brewing’s distribution rights to Craft Beer Guild LLC, a subsidiary of Sheehan Family Companies. And last June, Atlantic sold the rights to Ballast Point, owned by Constellation Brands, to a collection of six “Gold Network” wholesalers throughout Massachusetts.
“Atlantic will continue to be committed to independent craft that is relevant to the local market and regional breweries that are available to scale,” Soghomonian wrote.
A press release with more information about the Dogfish Head transfer is below.
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery Changes Wholesaler Network in Massachusetts
MILTON, Del. — Dogfish Head Craft Brewery is announcing new wholesaler partnerships with Atlas Distributing, Inc., Burke Distributing Corporation, Colonial Wholesale Beverage Co., Commercial Distributing Co. and Merrimack Valley Distributing Company, Inc., who were selected to distribute their off-centered portfolio of craft beers throughout the entire state of Massachusetts.
“We’re excited about our new distribution partnerships in Massachusetts and feel confident their strong go-to-market capabilities and established infrastructure will blend well with Dogfish’s adventurous beer portfolio and retail sales team throughout the Commonwealth,” said Sam Calagione, CEO and founder of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery. “As a native of Western Massachusetts and longtime supporter and advocate of the Extreme Beer Fest in Boston, I feel wicked confident that our new wholesalers will be successful in marketing our well-differentiated family of beers to retailers throughout the state. We’d also like to thank Atlantic Importing for their years of support behind the Dogfish brands.”
According to IRI data, Dogfish Head grew volume beer sales 18% in 2017, which is five times more than that of the craft beer segment at 3.6%. This explosive growth can be largely attributed to the success of their High Five brands – 60 Minute IPA, 90 Minute Imperial IPA, SeaQuench Ale, Flesh & Blood IPA and Namaste White.
This transition is expected to be seamless and the availability of Dogfish Head’s entire portfolio will be uninterrupted throughout the state of Massachusetts. For more information about Dogfish Head Craft Brewery visit dogfish.com.
About Dogfish Head
Dogfish Head has proudly been focused on brewing beers with culinary ingredients outside the Reinheitsgebot since the day it opened as the smallest American craft brewery 22 years ago. Dogfish Head has grown into a top-20 craft brewery and has won numerous awards throughout the years including Wine Enthusiast’s 2015 Brewery of the Year and the James Beard Foundation Award for 2017 Outstanding Wine, Spirits, or Beer Professional. It is a 300+ coworker company based in Delaware with Dogfish Head Brewings & Eats, an off-centered brewpub and distillery, Chesapeake & Maine, a geographically enamored seafood restaurant, Dogfish Inn, a beer-themed inn on the harbor and Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, a production brewery and distillery featuring a tasting room and food truck. Dogfish Head supports the Independent Craft Brewing Seal, the definitive icon for American craft breweries to identify themselves to be independently-owned and carries the torch of transparency, brewing innovation and the freedom of choice originally forged by brewing community pioneers. Dogfish Head currently sells beer in 40 states and Washington D.C. and will expand into additional states in 2018. For more information, visit www.dogfish.com, Facebook: @dogfishheadbeer, Twitter: @dogfishbeer, and Instagram: dogfishhead.