AleSmith Expands Distribution to Chicago


San Diego’s AleSmith Brewing has tapped Wirtz Beverage for distribution of its beers, including Speedway Stout and AleSmith IPA, throughout the Chicagoland area of Illinois beginning next month.

Though the company’s beers are currently sold elsewhere in the state by Marketplace Selections, AleSmith sales director James Valles called the latest move “an important strategic partnership for AleSmith,” as the brewery continues to expand nationally.

“We look forward to working closely with Wirtz Beverage in growing distribution and volume in the Chicago area,” said Valles. “Adding Wirtz Beverage to our distributor network completes the build out of our footprint within the state of Illinois.”

The move caps a busy summer for AleSmith, which earlier this month launched distribution in both Minnesota, with Clear River Beverage Co., and in Virginia, where it signed on with Specialty Beverage. It also come on the heels of a $10 million expansion the company embarked on last year, which saw AleSmith leave its longtime home in favor of a new 105,000 sq. ft. facility nearby. AleSmith is two decades old, but the recent brewery expansion has enabled the company to ramp up market additions.

Added Wirtz Beverage director of sales Amy Abraham, “It’s impressive to see a brewery like AleSmith continue to grow and flourish.”

On top of opening its own new brewery, the company’s old facility will be used to house a joint venture that AleSmith CEO Peter Zien started with the prominent Danish gypsy brewer Mikkel Borg Bjergsø, who markets beer under the Mikkeller moniker.

AleSmith sold 14,700 barrels in 2014, operating at near capacity in its old home. In March of last year, AleSmith CEO Peter Zien told Brewbound the company was projecting dramatic growth with the new facility coming online, forecasting sales of 25,000 barrels in 2015 and 44,000 in 2016.