After more than 30 years, New York’s Brooklyn Brewery will finally begin distributing its products in an ultra-competitive California craft beer market.
The company, which first announced plans to expand distribution to California on Monday, will partner with Stone Distributing for coverage throughout Southern California, and DBI and Bay Area Beverage Co. for support in Northern California.
Launch events are scheduled for the end of the month, and beers are slated to arrive on retailer shelves on January, 21, according to a press release.
“At long last, we are beginning to sell our Brooklyn beers in California,” brewery founder Steve Hindy said via the release. “California is the Garden of Eden of the craft beer revolution, and we look forward to making new friends with the craft beer community on the left coast.”
The decision to enter a California market located about 3,000 miles away from its Brooklyn headquarters stemmed from partnerships with San Leandro, California-based 21st Amendment, and Fort Collins, Colorado-based Funkwerks.
Brooklyn acquired minority stakes in the two companies midway through 2017 and, in the process, created a national sales platform that included more than 150 sales personnel in 38 states at the time of the announcement.
In California, Brooklyn will tap into the platform’s 12 sales and marketing representatives, as well as 10 event ambassadors, to help grow its chain retail business and conduct samplings.
According to Dave Duffy, Brooklyn Brewery’s vice president of sales and marketing, that group will sell beers from all three companies throughout the state.
“Now that our joint sales and distribution platform is up and running with 21st Amendment and Funkwerks, we have the manpower in place to really make an impact and provide sales and marketing support in California,” he wrote to Brewbound via email.
Brooklyn is also beginning to brew test-batches of its offerings at 21st Amendment’s production facility, Duffy said.
“Eventually we’ll brew beer for the West Coast, on the West Coast,” he confirmed.
Brooklyn, which was ranked by the Brewers Association as the 11th largest U.S. craft beer maker in 2017, sells its beer in 30 states and more than 30 countries.
When asked how Brooklyn plans to differentiate itself from stalwart California breweries such as Sierra Nevada and Stone Brewing, as well as brands like Lagunitas, Ballast Point, Golden Road, and Saint Archer, which are owned by Heineken, Constellation Brands, Anheuser-Busch, and MillerCoors, respectively, Duffy pointed to the company’s non-IPA centric portfolio of offerings.
“One thing all of those breweries you listed have in common is they’re known for IPAs or other hop-forward styles,” he said. “We’re comfortable leaving West Coast IPAs to the experts and look forward to bringing some of our complementary styles and brands — like our flagship Brooklyn Lager, Bel Air Sour, Summer Ale and so on to the mix.”
He added that the company is working on partnerships with Shake Shack (burger chain), Smorgasburg (open-air markets), Roberta’s (New York pizza), and The Ace Hotel.
“That will help usher our brand into the state and put us in front of not only the beer community but other audiences that drink a ton of craft,” Duffy said.
Brooklyn, which is minority owned by Japan’s Kirin Brewery, does not have immediate plans to launch in other West Coast markets, such as Oregon or Washington, Duffy added. However, the company already distributes its beer in two Western states — Arizona and Nevada. It also began distributing in Colorado last November.
Additional details about the California launch can be found in the press release below.
Brooklyn Brewery Hits the West Coast
NYC-based Craft Brewer Will Distribute Beer in California for the First Time
NEW YORK – Brooklyn Brewery, a pioneer of the American craft beer revolution, is proud to announce that it will begin distributing its core lineup of award-winning beers throughout the state of California beginning January 21, 2019. As the eleventh largest independent craft brewer in the US, Brooklyn Brewery Is available In 30 states, over 30 countries, and places a strong emphasis on fostering a global craft beer community.
“At long last, we are beginning to sell our Brooklyn beers in California,” said Brooklyn Brewery Founder, Steve Hindy. “California is the Garden of Eden of the craft beer revolution, and we look forward to making new friends with the craft beer community on the left coast.”
Upon entry into the market, Brooklyn Brewery’s flagship Brooklyn Lager, Defender IPA, Bel Air Sour, and popular seasonal, Summer Ale, will be available on draft as well as in 6-packs. 12pk can variety pack Brooklyn Mix will also be available, in addition to The Stonewall Inn IPA and Brooklyn Limited beers from Brewmaster Garrett Oliver, including Black Chocolate Stout, and Sorachi Ace during and beyond the launch.
“Californians and transplanted New Yorkers have been asking us when we’d make it to the West Coast for years,” says Garrett Oliver, Brewmaster. “I love California beers, and our beers have a unique range of flavors that I’m looking forward to combining with the legendary food that chefs are creating out there. California is the spiritual home of craft beer and modern American cooking. It just makes sense for us to finally be a part of this exciting scene. We’re going to have fun!”
Brooklyn Brewery’s initial launch partners include Stone Distributing in Southern California and DBI and Bay Area Beverage Co. in Northern California. They will distribute through the same network as their partner breweries 21st Amendment (San Leandro, CA) and Funkwerks (Fort Collins, CO).
“It’s all hands on deck with our California launch,” says Dave Duffy, VP of Sales & Marketing. “We’ll maintain the momentum throughout 2019 and beyond and have some great ideas around collaborating with other East-Coast transplants like Shake Shack, Smorgasburg, Roberta’s, and The Ace Hotel, to help spread the Brooklyn love in thoughtful and unique ways. We think our brand brings a lot of value not only to the California craft consumer but also to our distributor and retail partners out West. It’s important that our entry to the state has a rock-solid foundation that we can build on for years to come.”
The Brooklyn Brewery team, including Steve Hindy and Garrett Oliver, will celebrate the brand’s California debut with a traveling lineup of launch events, kicking off in San Diego (Jan 28), then moving north to the Bay Area coinciding with SF Beer Week (Feb 1-9). Headlining events in Los Angeles and Oakland will feature Bar Talk: a back-and-forth interview between Hindy and Oliver, a duo that rarely find themselves on the same stage. A complete lineup of events with dates and locations is posted below.
ABOUT BROOKLYN BREWERY
The Brooklyn Brewery is a leading global independent craft brewer and a pioneer of the American craft beer revolution. From our home in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, we draw inspiration from our local community of innovators and makers to spread the culture and creativity of craft beer to 30 states and over 30 countries on 5 continents. Learn more at brooklynbrewery.com.