Bell’s Brewery Expands Distribution to 6 New England States and New Jersey

Starting this summer, Bell’s Brewery will begin selling beer throughout New England and New Jersey, expanding its footprint to 39 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico in the process.

The Michigan-based craft brewery, ranked by the Brewers Association as the seventh largest craft outfit in the nation, will partner with 11 beer distributors across Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island, Connecticut and New Jersey.

Seven of those distributors are part of the Sheehan Families Companies’ network of beer wholesalers, including Craft Brewers Guild, L. Knife & Son and Seaboard Products in Massachusetts; Craft Beer Guild of Vermont; Craft Beer Guild of Maine; Craft New Hampshire; and Hunterdon Brewing Company in New Jersey.

“We’re both humbled and very excited to be expanding our partnership with the Bell’s Brewery in seven of our Northeast operations,” Michael Brazel, vice president of sales and marketing for the Sheehan Families Companies, told Brewbound.

Sheehan already sells Bell’s products in Southern California, Kentucky, New York and the greater Milwaukee, Wisconsin, area, Brazel said. He added that he expects Sheehan’s Northeast distributors to begin receiving shipments of Bell’s products within 90 days.

“Our team is out there as we speak putting together those plans,” he said.

Outside of the Sheehan network, Bell’s will work with Western Massachusetts-based Commercial Distributing, which carries MillerCoors and Pabst Brewing products as well as offerings from Dogfish Head, Boston Beer Company, Ballast Point and others.

“We’re very excited that we were appointed Bell’s,” Commercial Distributing president Mark Placek told Brewbound. “It’s a well-respected brand and a great family. And we’re looking forward to a long partnership and helping them grow the brand here in Western Mass.”

In Rhode Island, meanwhile, Bell’s will work with Cranston-based Anheuser-Busch wholesaler McLaughlin & Moran, whose portfolio also includes Founders Brewing, Gambrinus brands (Shiner), Uinta Brewing, Bear Republic and Coronado Brewing, among others.

Finally, in Connecticut, Bell’s will work with Norwich-based A-B wholesaler Levine Distributing and Orange-based Northeast Beverage Corp of Connecticut.

“We are all very excited to welcome each of these distributors to our extended Bell’s family and look forward to launching New England and New Jersey with partners who share our commitment to craft beer and quality,” Bell’s Brewery CEO Laura Bell said via a press release.

To support its new markets, Bell’s is in the process of hiring field sales reps, the company added in the release.

Bell’s, known for its Two Hearted Ale, Oberon wheat ale and Hopslam double IPA, added distribution in just two states — Texas and New Mexico — in 2017. Laura Bell has previously said she expects Bell’s products to be available nationwide by 2020.

According to market research firm IRI Worldwide, which tracks category-wide sales trends at off-premise retailers, dollar sales of Bell’s products increased 18.6 percent in multi-outlet and convenience stores last year. Case sales of the company’s flagship Two Hearted Ale were up 25.5 percent.

Meanwhile, dollar sales of Bell’s brands are up 18 percent through the first three months of 2018, according to IRI. Through March 25, dollar sales of Bell’s Two Hearted Ale were up 18.9 percent while sales of the company’s seasonal products were up 24.8 percent.

A press release with additional information is included below.

11 distributors will help bring Bell’s beer to New England and New Jersey this summer

COMSTOCK, Michigan – Bell’s Brewery is proud to announce its new distributor partnerships in New England and New Jersey.

Eleven distributors will help bring Bell’s beer to Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut and New Jersey later this summer.

“As we add any new state, it is very important to us that we remind all of our fans about our dedication to quality. Part of the process of selecting new distributor partners is making sure that is a shared passion,” said Laura Bell, CEO of Bell’s Brewery.

“We are all very excited to welcome each of these distributors to our extended Bell’s family and look forward to launching New England and New Jersey with partners who share our commitment to craft beer and quality,” she added.

Bell’s launched two new states, Texas and New Mexico, in 2017. Adding six New England states and New Jersey this year, will bring the distribution footprint of Bell’s to 39 total states in addition to Puerto Rico and Washington DC.

Launch celebrations are being planned. Additional information will be announced as details are finalized at bellsbeer.com and on Bell’s social media.

Sales positions for these new states have also been posted. Learn more here.

ABOUT MCLAUGHLIN AND MORAN (RHODE ISLAND):

McLaughlin & Moran, Inc. prides itself in marketing, warehousing and delivering a world class portfolio of beer throughout the entire state of Rhode Island. Founded in 1936 by first cousins John J. McLaughlin and John E. Moran, we are now a third-generation Rhode Island family business committed to providing great products and service to our customers. The owners of the company are proud to be responsible and generous corporate citizens as evidenced by McLaughlin & Moran’s support of scores of charitable organizations. With the wide variety of products within our portfolio, the on and off premise customers that we service on a weekly basis have the ability to source high quality products to satisfy the demands of the consuming public. McLaughlin & Moran takes great pride in everything we do each and every day.

ABOUT LEVINE DISTRIBUTING (CONNECTICUT):

Levine Distributing is a family owned and operated business located in Norwich, CT. Levine has been distributing beer in eastern CT for over 84 years servicing both Windham and New London Counties along with the towns of Old Saybrook and Essex in Middlesex County. Carrying the finest selection of craft, domestic and imported beers, Levine Distributing is highly selective in which brands they sell. Levine is committed to customer service, quality and supplying the best brands possible to their customers.

ABOUT COMMERCIAL DISTRIBUTING (MASSACHUSETTS):

Founded in 1935 by Joseph C. Placek in the town of Westfield, Commercial Distributing is now in its third generation of family ownership and has expanded to be the premier beer distributor of Western Massachusetts. CDC employs 125 people and services over 1,000 bars, restaurants and clubs, as well as over 400 package and liquor stores. We are dedicated to our employees who exhibit honesty, pride, passion and professionalism – and are focused on delivering complete customer satisfaction and offering extraordinary products to our valued customers.

ABOUT CRAFT BEER GUILD LLC (MASSACHUSETTS):

Voted consecutively by the Boston Globe as one of the state’s Top 100 Places to Work, Craft Brewers Guild is located minutes from the heart of downtown Boston. As the largest distributor in the state, Craft Brewers Guild services Massachusetts from Boston to the New York border with an extensive portfolio of international, national, regional, and local craft beer brands. Passionate and knowledgeable about the product, all employees are Cicerone trained and certified. As a company, the Craft Brewers Guild is dedicated to supporting the community in which it resides through charitable donations and involvement with organizations including: the Connolly Center of Everett, MGH Hospital, Camp Harbor View, and the Dana Farber Cancer Institute through the James Joyce Ramble 10K.

ABOUT L. KNIFE & SON, INC. (MASSACHUSETTS):

The flagship of the Sheehan Family Companies, L. Knife & Son was originally founded in 1898, with a distribution agreement with Anheuser-Busch signed in 1934. Today, it is the headquarters and workplace for most of the corporate staff. Located in Kingston, MA it services the southeastern part of the state. L. Knife & Son is proud to be part of numerous high profile events in the area, including Martha’s Vineyard Shark Tournament and the Figawi Sail Boat Race Weekend.

ABOUT SEABOARD PRODUCTS CO. (MASSACHUSETTS):

Seaboard Products was started in Salem, Massachusetts shortly after Prohibition ended as a beer, wine, and spirits wholesaler. In 1968, Seaboard Products become the first company to be acquired by the Sheehan Family Companies, formerly L. Knife and Son Companies, and in 1970, moved its headquarters to Danvers, MA. Seaboard Products carries the Anheuser-Busch portfolio as well as a full craft beer portfolio. Seaboard Products is very active in the local community as well, supporting local youth and adult sports teams, charity events such as the Pan Mass Challenge and the Salem Witches Cup, as well as organizations such as the Jimmy Fund.

ABOUT NORTHEAST BEVERAGE CORP. OF CT (CONNECTICUT):

Northeast Beverage Corp of Connecticut is a division of Mancini Beverage, a 4th generation family owned and independently operated beverage distribution business founded in Rhode Island in 1959.

Northeast Beverage launched in Connecticut in 2001 and now represents some of the leading craft and imported beer brands servicing over 5000 customers through a state-wide sales and marketing platform. The Northeast Beverage team is committed to quality customer service, brand recognition and a passion for craft beer.

CRAFT BEER GUILD DISTRIBUTING OF VERMONT LLC (VERMONT):

In 2011, the Sheehan Family Companies brought the Craft Beer Guild portfolio to Vermont. Specializing in a full craft beer portfolio and a sales team of all Level I Cicerones, Craft Beer Guild of Vermont distributes top craft beer, cider and imported brands. Craft Vermont is the only full-service, exclusively craft distributor in the state.

ABOUT CRAFT BEER GUILD DISTRIBUTING OF MAINE LLC (MAINE):

In 2012, the Sheehan Family Companies brought the Craft Beer Guild portfolio to Maine. Craft Beer Guild of Maine, headquartered in Westbrook, brings a portfolio of popular craft brands to the area, as well as ciders and imports.

ABOUT CRAFT NEW HAMPSHIRE:

In 2010, the L. Knife and Son companies founded the Craft Beer Guild in the great state of New Hampshire. With only 2 brands–and no accounts in the beginning– the company has grown considerably, moving three times in the first year. Today, the company has 16 Cicerone Level I certified employees, and is considered the premier craft beer distributor in the state. A state whose population love their beer! Craft New Hampshire boasts a portfolio of craft brews that range from national and local to high end imports.

ABOUT HUNTERDON BREWING COMPANY L.L.C. (NEW JERSEY):

Hunterdon was founded in 1996 by college buddies and fellow beer enthusiasts Michael Short and Dave Masterson.

The company originally started out as a New Jersey contract brewer, distributing their prized Jersey Shore Gold to a handful of loyal customers across the state. Mike and Dave managed the company on their own, working tirelessly as both salesmen and delivery drivers for the first two years. Craft beer in the state of New Jersey was not at all where it is today and getting people on board was definitely a challenge. In 1998, they were able to hire a few salesmen and purchase a couple more vans to make life a little bit easier for the two passionate yet very tired young entrepreneurs. A year later they relocated from their small make-shift office in Califon, NJ that consisted of a sole phone, fax, computer and printer to a warehouse in Phillipsburg, NJ where they would take the business to the next level.

When 2000 rolled around, Mike and Dave realized the need for craft beer representation in the state of New Jersey and decided it was time to make the switch to a full-time beer wholesaler. Some of their first brands included Dogfish Head, Weyerbacher, Yards, Allagash and a collection of unique imports from B.United International. Slowly but surely they began acquiring more craft brands and getting additional sales reps out on the street. Over the next decade, the name ‘Hunterdon’ became synonymous with craft beer in New Jersey and more and more breweries looked to Mike and Dave for help distributing their product in the Garden State.

Today, Hunterdon is proud to have one of the best craft beer portfolios in the country, with over seventy domestic craft beer and spirit brands to speak of. The company also boasts a tremendous line of specialty imports, sakes, meads, wine and ciders from around the world. Hunterdon also has a rapidly growing local portfolio. The Garden State has a diverse collection of breweries, distilleries, cider makers, vineyards, and meaderies. We are thrilled to be able to grow the love of craft with the talented folks of New Jersey.

Now, located in Whitehouse Station, NJ, the company has over 150 full-time employees and more than 40 sales reps on the road each day making New Jersey a great place to drink craft beverages.

From their humble beginnings as Jersey Shore Gold salesmen operating with one delivery van, a couple of hand trucks and a ‘fly by the seat of their pants’ attitude, Mike and Dave are proud of where their journey has taken them. And we hope you are too!

ABOUT BELL’S BREWERY, INC.

Bell’s Brewery, Inc. began in 1985 with a quest for better beer and a 15 gallon soup kettle. Since then, we’ve grown into a regional craft brewery that employs more than 500 people over a 32 state area, in addition to Puerto Rico and Washington DC. The dedication to brewing flavorful, unfiltered, quality craft beers that started in 1985 is still with us today. We currently brew over 20 beers for distribution as well as many other small batch beers that are served at our pub in Kalamazoo, the Eccentric Cafe. Our ongoing goal is to brew thoughtfully, creatively and artistically. 100% family-owned and independent, we strive to bring an authentic and pleasant experience to all of our customers through our unique ales and lagers. For more information, please visit bellsbeer.com. You can also follow Bell’s on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and Untappd.

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